First impressions count, and your property's curb appeal could be improved through some simple landscaping efforts. But you don't have to be an expert to get started. Here are some landscaping tips for beginners to get you started.
Landscaping can improve your home’s curb appeal and make your outdoor space more enjoyable, and that translates to a real boost in home value. A well-landscaped home will sell for an average of 5.5 to 12.7 percent more than a home without landscaping. And you don’t need to hire a professional to landscape your lawn and garden – you can do it yourself.
Don’t have a green thumb? No worries! These easy landscaping ideas for beginners will yield beautiful results, every time.
Map It Out
Landscaping for beginners – or experts – should always begin with a plan. Sketch out a map of your lawn and garden, using pencil and paper to plan out where you want to put trees, shrubs and beds. Decide now how much effort you want to put in, and what parts of the lawn you plan to focus on. Are you looking to add a splash of color around the entryway or create some privacy with a row of privet hedges? Hoping to appeal to sellers with raised garden beds or a hummingbird garden? Will you be living in the home for a while before you sell? These are all important questions to answer.
Before you even head to the greenhouse or home store, research what plants, trees, and shrubs you want to put in. Attractive, hardy, low-maintenance plants and shrubs are popular with most home landscapers. You may want to choose native plants; they’re already adapted to the conditions in your area, and will need the least TLC to thrive. Consider the environmental constraints you’re facing – a large, lush, full green lawn of traditional turf grass may not be the best choice for a desert garden or drought-prone area, for example.
Block Weeds with Rocks or Mulch
Once you’ve decided where your new beds will be, you’ll need to keep weeds out of them. Fortunately, you – or your buyer – don’t need to spend every weekend on your knees with a weeding tool in order to keep beds well-maintained and weed-free. Install landscaping fabric and cover it with rocks or mulch to keep weeds down (you’ll cut holes in the fabric where you want to install plants).
In addition to inhibiting weed growth, mulch will prevent soil erosion and keep the soil moist, for a more energy-efficient garden. Mulching your beds will also keep them looking neat and pristine, while still minimizing maintenance.
Use Native Perennials
As previously discussed, native plants tend to be ideal choices because they’re already adapted to your climate and soil conditions. They’ll be easiest to grow and hardiest, and that means replacing fewer plants as you try to get your new garden beds established. It’ll also be easier to find plants that appeal less to critters like deer and rabbits, who may tend to find non-native specimens tastier.
Perennials are the way to go with landscaping, because they come back every year. Annuals must be replanted every year, although some are self-seeding – which means they’ll tend to re-grow in the same areas each year, even though they’re technically not perennials. Installing perennials keeps your landscaping low-maintenance, because you won’t have to replant the whole bed each year, and it saves you money, turning the venture into a one-time investment.
Perennials also tend to be easier to grow, and, should you or your home’s buyer want to expand the garden beds, it is easy to propagate most perennial species in the future. To landscape larger areas, consider putting in some ground cover plants or ornamental grasses. They don’t need mowing – just a yearly trim. Talk to neighbors, relatives or your local greenhouse or nursery owner to get landscaping ideas that include native perennial plants.
Irrigate with Soaker Hoses
Soaker hoses are the easiest way to irrigate flower beds. They’re more efficient than sprinklers, because they deliver water directly to your plants’ roots. Plus, they eliminate the need for someone to stand around holding a hose. Installing soaker hoses makes your landscaping as low-maintenance as possible, which is more appealing to potential buyers.
Flower beds, trees, shrubs and other landscaping features can increase your home’s value significantly, by boosting curb appeal. Buyers love a home with mature landscaping, so even if you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, installing shrubs, trees and native perennials could pay big dividends years down the line, when they are larger, more established, and more beautiful. Even if you’ve never gardened a day in your life, these landscaping tips for beginners will soon have you well on your way to installing the kind of gorgeous, low-maintenance landscaping that can boost your home’s value, without requiring a lot of unnecessary expense on your part.