The way you choose to landscape your home could dramatically affect the value of your property.
Thankfully, there are a few easy things you can do to help make the process a whole lot easier and deliver the best result for your investment.
Step 1: Strategise
All design requires purpose in order to succeed. Do you have a vision for how you want your garden to look? Try and put pen to paper and draw it. You will need to consider the climate where you live as this will dictate most of your landscaping decisions - from any raw materials you may want to use, right through to the plants you pick for the garden.
If you live in a warmer part of the country, avoid installing your outdoor entertainment area in direct sunlight. Not only will this ensure your materials don't weather prematurely, but it will also mean you don't have to suffer in the blistering heat whilst entertaining.
If you don't have an unlimited budget, make a list of ‘must dos' and ‘nice to dos'. This will help you prioritise and budget more effectively.
If your end plan is to sell your home or attract tenants, make sure you concentrate your time and money on the front yard rather than the backyard. As the old adage goes: ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression'. So make that first impression count.
Step 2: Pick the right plants
Not only will plants improve the aesthetics of your home, but the right varieties can provide privacy and act as a source of food for the local wildlife, you and your family.
If you lack a green thumb, native plants are ideal as they require very little maintenance and are able to thrive in the harsh Australian climate. Of course, the weather varies around the country, so choose your plants accordingly.
While certain seasonal plants may be beautiful, you may want to avoid using this type of flora. Even though they flower beautifully at the nursery, you run the risk of them not flowering once you plant them at home. Instead, choose evergreens as they look lush all year round.
If you are planting flowers, be strategic about their placement. You will need to optimise the plants' exposure to sunlight. Scale your planting so smaller plants are at the front of the garden and place the larger plants or trees further back.
Step 3: Don't overlook hardscaping
Hardscaping involves building structures into a landscape. If you love to entertain, why not consider building a space to entertain your guests outdoors? You could install a deck, a patio or a pergola.
If you decide to install a deck, be careful when choosing the materials. While hardwood is often the first choice that comes to mind, it is expensive and carries ongoing maintenance costs. Today, landscapers often opt for a composite material so that they don't have to worry about maintaining the deck with staining or painting.
Paving your entertainment area is another great way to breathe new life into your backyard. It could also save you time and money by not having to mow the lawn. As is the case with any building project, your choice of materials will dictate the overall cost. If you desire a luxurious finish, sandstone pavers are a beautiful choice. However, if you're working to a budget, avoid natural stone and stick to concrete pavers. Your local hardware or garden store may stock imitation stone pavers that could fool the most discerning eye!
At the end of the day, landscaping your front and/or backyard doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. If you can't afford to overhaul your yard, why not try something as simple as a clean up? Be consistent and keep your lawn mowed, remove weeds and give your driveway a thorough clean. You can rent a high pressure hose for an affordable sum.