by Teresa Tumminia
Curb appeal is beneficial in various ways. Curb appeal can make a home more attractive to prospective buyers and give existing homeowners a place they want to come home to. In its study of the worth of outdoor remodeling projects, the National Association of Realtors found standard lawn care and overall landscape upgrades were most appealing to buyers, as well as the most likely to add value to a home.
Although plants, grass and other items can improve curb appeal, homeowners should not overlook hardscaping.
Hardscaping is an industry term that refers to the non-living features of a landscape. These features can include everything from decks to walkways to ornamental boulders. Introducing paths or paver walls to a property helps develop that home’s hardscape. Hardscape and soft elements often work in concert to create inspiring landscape designs.
DIY landscape designers can heed certain tips to make the most of hardscape features on their properties.
As with many landscaping projects, homeowners must first determine what types of additions they would like on their properties. Common hardscape features include patios, decks, walkways of pavers or bricks, and retaining walls. Hardscape elements can be functional or simply decorative features that add whimsy to the yard.
Choose a theme.
The right style allows hardscaping and softscaping materials to work together. For example, homeowners may want to give their yards an eastern feel, complete with a koi pond and decorative bridge or trellis. A formal English garden, however, may include manicured paths with stepping stones and ornate topiaries. Mixing too many styles together can take away from the overall appeal.
Landscape architect and owner of Fresh Start Design/Build, Michael Josephson, suggests looking at the overall plan of the design, even if all of the work can’t be completed at once. This way the eventual finished project will be cohesive.
Think about the purpose.
Hardscaping can look good but also serve key purposes. Pebbles or gravel can mitigate trouble areas that don’t grow grass or plant life well. Retaining walls hold back soil in yards with sharply inclined hills. Mulch can set perimeters around trees and shrubs, as well as planting beds. Fencing, another form of hardscaping, is essential for establishing property boundaries and adding privacy.
Consult a professional.
While many hardscaping additions can be handled by novices, large-scale projects, such as patios and decking, can change the grading of the yard. Professionals can map out how to handle drainage issues and meet building codes. In addition, professional installation can ensure hardscaping features last for years to come.
Hardscaping should blend with the nature around it and take its cues from the surrounding environment. This can help softscaping and hardscaping work as one.
Main image courtesy Proven Winners