Property that is properly landscaped increases in value 10 to 20 percent. But, landscaping does more than increase the value of your property; it can provide privacy, beauty, comfort, recreation, security, and can cut down on maintenance costs. Big estates with gardeners are few and far between and have been replaced with half-acre and acre lots with families doing their own maintenance work and gardening. The secret to successful landscaping is to plan before you plant.


The first step is to divide your property into three areas:


I

The front of the house is a public area, for all to see. This will give your guests their first impression of your home. The plantings around your home can make your house look larger, give balance to a house with additions, and complement it's exterior design. Shrubbery adds color, texture, design, and even depth to your property.

The back of your home is divided into two areas: private and work/play.

II

The private area is for relaxation and entertaining of guests - it's the focal point of your property when you are looking outside. Select trees, which are pleasing to the eye (and easy on you in the fall), and flowers and plants that will compliment your home.

III

The work/play area would contain items such as the vegetable garden, clothesline, and children's play area with all the necessities (swing, sandbox, etc.). If you have young children, you should be able to see this area from the kitchen so you can keep an eye on your youngsters - but think ahead, this play area will change as they grow up, so don't make it too permanent. This area can also contain a patio for cookouts or a tool shed. Plan your lawn accordingly so you aren't spending your summers mowing!

Proper landscaping includes the choice of trees for both beauty and function. Choosing the right trees can help save on energy costs by providing your home with summer shade and protection from wind during the winter. Foundation plants also help keep the house warmer during winter and cooler in summer.

Make sure you know your property when planning your landscaping. Locate where the snow will go when you plow your driveway and plan your plants along the driveway accordingly. Locate your sun and shade areas and make sure the plants you choose will thrive there. Find out if your house has a mildew problem in the summer; If you're near the ocean, be aware that ocean spray and wind can be a problem for plants. If your home is on a busy street, proper planting of evergreens can cut down on traffic noise, and a hedge can provide privacy. Know your soil: is it ledge, sand, or clay? Know your natural drainage areas and wet areas.

Finally, consult a professional nursery. They can advise you on what plants will do best for your specific needs and suggest plants of interest to make your home a showplace.

This spring we will be selecting unique shrubs and trees that will enhance your landscaping. Check back for updates!


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