By Eugene Bryson
Landscaping is to a house as a nice wardrobe is to a person. When done well, it creates a pleasing first impression and sends the message that you maintain the property inside and out. The trendiest landscaping will increase the value of your home.
A few DIY flower beds will add some charm for less than $100. According to LawnStarter, a landscape upgrade in Sequim could cost you as much as $3,000. New hardscaping can cost as much as $22,000. But the return on that investment could be as much as $38,000 when it comes time to sell.
While a dead or dying lawn isn’t a deal-breaker, it will affect the selling price of your home. Putting in new sod, or just overseeding your current lawn, is well worth the cost.
Here is how incorporating (and investing in) the latest landscaping trends could pay off weeks, months, or years from now when your home is sold.
Outdoor Living Space
If we’ve learned nothing else from COVID-19, we now understand how valuable it is to have outdoor places for socializing.
The wide-open ventilation system that is the outdoors wraps our conversations in fresh air, and gives us more room to spread out. Having a comfortable place to sit and visit and enjoy some food and drinks provides a safer option during seasons when contagious airborne illnesses are circulating.
A pleasant, comfortable outdoor space also can give us a nice place to work from home, or to have a little staycation.
A porch or patio with shade provides the foundation for an inviting outdoor setting. Start by deciding whether you want a raised deck built of wood or a more weatherproof material.
Concrete, brick, or stone hardscapes create a clean looking and level platform for outdoor furniture. If you want a more natural look, try different colored pea gravels with landscape curbing.
Fire, Water, and Light Features
Some of the most popular outdoor features today include fireplaces or fire pits, water fountains, small ponds, and lighting that gives trees and patios a resort-style appeal.
Fireplaces and fire pits provide heat in colder months. There are also options for cooking if you’d like to roast marshmallows and hot dogs, or bake pizzas outdoors.
Water can be as simple as a birdbath or as elaborate as a koi pond with a rock waterfall.
Keep in mind the maintenance factor: The more sophisticated the water feature, the more work it will require to keep it clean and working. High-maintenance features can lower the value of your home.
Lighting can involve a few strategically staked solar lights along a walkway. Stringed lights above the patio will allow you to enjoy the space late into the evening. Professionally positioned spotlights on timers will add drama to more mature trees.
If you’ve ever had to make your way across a poorly plotted flagstone path, or tried to wade through an overgrown lawn with your arms full, you know the benefit of level, clear cut walkways.
Not only do they make it safer and easier to get from Point A to Point B, but they add to the design of your landscape. Walkways with style and texture are a popular landscaping trend now.
Curved walkways bring a more interesting sense of design than straight lines. As with patios, there is a variety of material you can use, including brick, stone, concrete, pavers, and gravel.
Hand-watering flower beds or individual potted plants can be a meditative ritual that helps you keep up with pests and weeds, but having to hand-water an entire lawn takes too much time.
Landscaping trends today often are aimed at making it easier to get a golf course-like lawn and relaxing setting. That’s where sprinkler systems come in.
Today’s sprinkler systems can be programmed to efficiently water the different zones of your property. You also can add rain sensors so the sprinklers shut off when scheduled watering isn’t necessary. You’ll spend another $3,000 or so on automatic irrigation, but a good sprinkler system will save you time and money on the water bill.
When considering ornamental plants, follow the lead of landscaping trendsetters and choose native plants such as bunchberry or kinnikinnick. These plants are adapted to the climate in Sequim and need very little maintenance.
This also goes for native trees like the red flowering currant and vine maple. They’ll add color to your landscape and attract local wildlife, including pollinating birds and bees.
Stop and Smell the Roses
Don’t feel you have to do everything all at once. Landscaping can be a work-in-progress that evolves. You want to invest in trendy upgrades that improve the value of your home, and more importantly in a pandemic, help you better enjoy spending time outside your home.
Eugene Bryson is a freelance writer and home inspector. As a Washington native, he roots for the Mariners to one day make it to the World Series.