Our gardening expert shares tips on how to beautify your garden and landscape to add value to your home.
By Sarah F. Ehrhardt, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
It seems like just yesterday that you planted those evergreens alongside your home. And now they’re blocking the view so you can’t even see out the windows! Maybe it’s time to renovate—outside. A thorough renovation of your garden and landscape can change the atmosphere of your property and add to its value.
Have a Plan
• Fresh outlook. Remove old, tired plantings. With those out of the way, you have a great opportunity to see the space you have to work with. Before you start adding new plants, take a moment to consider any changes you’d want in your yard’s functionality.
• Yard smarts. Have you dreamed of a patio or grilling area, or a wider walkway? Now an array of paving products offer colors and textures beyond basic concrete. Consider rounded, flowing curves to help create a natural feel. If your setting is contemporary or more formal, angular lines blend well.
• Firm foundations. Add a maintenance strip along the foundation, and you’ll wonder how you ever washed windows or tended to your siding without it! To create one, make sure the soil pitches away from your home’s foundation for good drainage. Add soil as needed or just rake out the existing grade. Then install an 18-inch-wide layer of weed fabric and top it with stone mulch. Plastic edging along the outer edge will keep the stone mulch in place.
Plot Your Planting
• Color’s key. You can provide color and interest all year long by using attractive combinations of shrubs, evergreens, perennials and annuals.
• No sweat. Look to numerous dwarf plant varieties, which grow slowly and are easier to maintain. And with the huge selection of perennials, annuals and tropicals available, it’s easy to find plants that give you plenty of color without lots of extra work.
• Plant multi-taskers. Choose plants that draw attention to your home’s entrance or great views, or soften harsh house corners or open walls. They can even create privacy where needed.
• Eye appeal. For key spots in your garden and landscape, look for plants that offer unique texture or shape, plus several seasons of interest. Once you have those in place, select a nice mix of supporting plant material for the remaining space.
• Less is more. Don’t get carried away with variety. Instead, use a smaller palette of plantings repeated throughout the space. That will create an arrangement that is more pleasing to the eye than a hodgepodge. And it generally requires less maintenance. If you still crave variety, container plants are ideal for helping mix things up, especially at your home’s main entrance.
Ready for some fresh perspective? There’s no time like the present to start planning. And by working in stages, you’ll soon enjoy a yard that sets off your home like a jewel.
About the expert: Sarah F. Ehrhardt holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and has 25 years of experience in landscape design. She still loves to turn the soil and watch plants grow.