When young professionals or families get ready to buy their first house, landscaping is typically an afterthought. More immediately pressing is the interior design of the property, and how well it accommodates both need and comfort. Though some prospective homeowners might think at length about the amount of acres a plot has, or the levels of sunlight/shade a yard gets, most are more preoccupied with the square footage of the house itself—how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, the size of the kitchen and hallways, etc.
No doubt, interior design is incredibly important to homeowners; after all, most of us spend the majority of our time inside. But overlooked landscaping can make a home feel unfulfilled. A thoughtfully curated landscape encourages homeowners to spend more time outside—gardening, grilling, swimming, playing sports, and indulging in relaxing moments with family and friends. Considering the increasing amount of Americans working sedentary jobs and then coming home to a generally sedentary lifestyle, making use of outdoor space and finding good reason to spend time outdoors is now a key component to creating work/life balance. Investing in good landscaping is one way to encourage you and your family and friends to find that balance. Plus, the money you put into your lawn and landscape will likely return to you in the long run; properties with polished outdoor living spaces are more valuable than properties without them.
Utilizing Your Landscape for Outdoor Living
An underdeveloped landscape can be difficult to use. Overgrown lawns are hard to garden or play in, and a yard without a patio or deck is hardly ideal for entertaining. If you find that you’re struggling to use your yard, investing in it may offer some incentive. First off, think about what you’d like to use an outdoor space on your property for. Do you want an outdoor cooking area to grill in the summertime? A patio with seating and lights so you can throw more parties? A swimming pool or garden that will beautify the space? Landscapes are very malleable, and you want to make sure you’re investing in something you will actually enjoy, so it’s important to start with a realistic plan.
Ultimately, a landscape doesn’t need much renovation for it to become useable, and even amateur landscapers can shape up a neglected yard and make it more amendable to regular use. Pulling weeds, removing debris, and mowing regularly make yards safer to play in and prettier to look at. Adding a few garden plots and planting a colorful array of perennials (native perennials are the easiest to care for) dresses up a landscape and also encourages homeowners to spend more time working on it. Gardening is a great way of getting frequent light exercise.
More complicated landscape renovations, such as the leveling out of a hill (ideal for creating more space) or the installation of a hardscape like a patio or a fire pit, is best handled by professionals. Professional jobs are more expensive than DIY works, but they are usually well worth the investment. Our clients regularly tell us about how much more useful their outdoor space is after a landscape renovation. According to them, renovating their landscape encouraged them to see it as a place with newfound potential. Patio and fire pit clients tell us that they spend more time outdoors with their families and friends. Swimming pool clients tell us that they spend more time exercising and hosting parties. Clients who have had their landscapes leveled out tell us that their children have more room to play and so spend more time playing. In all these cases, a bit of money translated into a significant lifestyle change and, thus, a solid return on investment.
Having and utilizing these outdoor spaces has proven emotional, psychological, and health benefits—especially for people who spend the majority of their time indoors. If you’ve been overlooking your landscape, spring is the perfect season to start reconsidering what a functional outdoor space could do for you. You may be surprised by how far a small change can stretch your home’s potential.