Landscaping Needs and Wants

When planning a long-term landscaping project, it's important to make a realistic assessment of what you can and should do versus what you want to do. Here are some top needs and wants to consider.

Up Your Curb Appeal

You don't have to wait until you're ready to sell to make sure your house has its "game face" on. Window boxes, Victorian spandrels, bracket work and filigree details, along with a new brick-detail walkway and plants, gave this house a whole new look. Design by John Gidding

Landscape With Entertaining in Mind

An outdoor area for cooking, eating and hanging out is a good option for homeowners who entertain often or spend considerable time outdoors. In this space, designed by Chad Robert, an outdoor kitchen adds functionality to an already-inviting entertaining area.

Introduce Water Features

The most popular outdoor recreation amenities are water features, such as ornamental pools and splash pools. This space was designed to have a tropical feel and has multiple water features, including a swimming pool and trickling fountain. Design by Chad Robert

Add Outdoor Play Areas

Play structures like swing sets and treehouses are often high priorities for families with young children. These spaces should be built in shady areas where children can be kept in sight at all times. This play structure is every child's dream, set over a bridge beneath a canopy of trees.

Landscape for Privacy

If one of your goals is more privacy, there are many options that are both practical and visually appealing. Mature bamboo along a high fence creates privacy in this space while contributing to the overall Zen feel. Design by Joan Grabel

Improve Erosion Control

If your basement floods or rain water washes away mulch, you might need to direct water away from the house. The best way to do that is with a dry well, tiering and water-harvesting equipment. In this garden the three-tiered wall helps prevent runoff during storms.

Design an Efficient, Sustainable Landscape

Many homeowners want a low-maintenance yard, making turf a great alternative to grass. It saves on water, is pesticide-free, and there's no mowing required. By filling the rest of the space with native grasses and plants, the landscape designer made this yard sustainable and easy to care for. Design by Groundworks Inc.

Add Trees to the Landscape

Trees can reduce energy costs all year, depending on where you plant them and the types you choose. Large shade-giving trees can reduce the temperature by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the yard and can decrease solar heat gain on the house. In the winter, trees can provide a windbreak, reducing heating costs. Design by Bob Hursthouse

Consider Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping to reduce water use. Using native plants instead of exotics is just one way to save water. Design by Barbara Paul

Reduce Fire Risk

If your house is in a wildfire-prone area, firescaping should be at the top of your priority list. By designing the landscape in an intentional way, you can reduce home and property damage due to wildfires. Create a minimum of 30 feet of defensible space around structures and surround the house with things that are less likely to burn, like pools and high-moisture content plants.

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