Landscaping: Where to Start

A landscape is a wonderful thing, for many reasons. It beautiful, a veritable cornucopia of colors and textures with intricate flowers, bushes, trees, rocks and maybe even some unique non-organic elements that tickle your fancy. It’s dynamic, ever changing with the seasons, presenting a new face every few months. It’s functional, incorporating spaces for entertaining or playing, or even space for gardening which will (hopefully!) yield produce for consumption. It may seem like a rather simple exercise at first– I mean, trees and dirt and grass, right?– but there are many delicate factors to take into consideration that will greatly affect the design and success of your landscaping endeavors. Here are a few things to consider when beginning your landscape design that will flesh out the framework for your new beautiful, dynamic, and functional outdoor space.

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Understand your property.

The first step is assessing the land you’ll be working with. What planting zone are you in? What soil type? Does your space get mostly sun or shade? Also consider slope and possible drainage issues. Speaking from personal experience, it’s really very important to take care of any poor draining areas before you spend lots of time and money on improving your landscaping.

Consider your house.

Take a closer look at your home. Style, size, layout and indoor/outdoor relationship can all influence landscaping style and design. Home aesthethics may aid you in finding beneficial and organic outdoor living spaces and gardening areas. If you’re living in a modest-sized American colonial, chances are you’ll want to avoid a layout of oversized modern landscaping.

Think about the occupants.

What are your needs as an individual or family? Take into account your style preferences; do you prefer curved lines or straight? Would you rather have a spread-out planting design, or does a crowded, riotous flowerbed appeal to you?  Don’t forget to factor in how much time you want to spend maintaining the newly renovated landscape; if you tend to be away from your home for extended periods, you may wish to look for more hardy, low-maintenance plants.

Four Projects That Will Add Value to Your Home

Updated 09/17/2015 @ 8:30pm
One of the best reasons to work on projects that add value to your home: in the event you sell your home you have increased the resell value. ABC’s Real Money teamed up with HGTV to give you pointers on getting the most value out of your home when it is time to sell.

Looking to put your house on the market? One of the greatest worries on your mind may be about getting the most value from your home, as it is for some many embarking on the real estate journey. You may be feeling a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of projects that could be tackled in an outdated or well-lived-in home. Worry not, there are certain projects will translate to better overall impressions of your home, and ultimately lead to a higher valuation. If you’re looking to be effective with your time and money, try one of these:

curb appeal, home improvement
Update curb appeal to effectively increase your home’s instant like-ability factor.

Curb Appeal


When a visitor pulls up to your home, the first thing they see is the yard. It’s a no-brainer, right? Updating landscaping and the general appearance of the house will create a positive impression even before they step in the front door. Curb appeal is often underestimated, but can pack quite a punch. Don’t worry, these updates don’t have to be costly; a nicely trimmed yard, fresh flowers and mulch, and a clean coat of paint on fences or trim will make a world of difference.


Renovate Bathrooms


A clean and inviting bathroom is a huge selling point in the real estate world. Potential buyers are likely to be put off by grimy, outdated fixtures or questionable plumbing situations. If the space is decently designed, make sure that every surface is squeaky clean. It’s always a bonus if you can incorporate green design techniques in the remodeling process of your bathroom. Even if updating your restrooms requires a larger renovation than you’d hoped, remember that it’s a relatively small percentage of the home that will have a large impact on overall impression and the price that someone is willing to pay for your home. 


Renovate THE Kitchen


So often these days the kitchen is the center of the home. Accordingly, real estate agents and buyers alike will be expecting to see a well designed and well maintained kitchen space if you’re going to be paid top dollar for your house. Even if you can’t afford a full-scale remodel, simple things like new appliances, updating tired paint choices or refinishing cabinets will all be nods in the right direction. As with the bathroom, clean the kitchen to within an inch of it’s life to ensure visitors aren’t put off by the accumulated grime.


Upgrade HVAC


Heating and air conditioning problems can be deal breakers for many potential buyers. Let’s be honest, we enjoy our creature comforts, and HVAC systems are wonderful things, not to mention extremely necessary in many parts of the country. If the existing HVAC system is old and tired, installing an updated system will not only ensure reliability for the new owners, but may appeal to a larger group of potential buyers if you select energy efficient units that will help save on utility bills. Opting for environmentally friendly products for HVAC replacement is rarely if ever a bad choice!