While it’s still chilly right now, spring really is just around the corner. And now is the time to start thinking about your plans for your spring landscape. Landscaping is an incredibly important aspect of your home and it even increases your property’s value. It’s worth spending some time thinking about how you can improve it.
“Landscaping is important in terms of a home’s value because it brings first impressions on your character, aesthetics and property value due to curb side appearance,” says Don Panetta, owner of D. Panetta Contracting. “Not only is landscaping for aesthetics, but it helps the environment thrive.”
Although some properties are trickier than others, there are options for everyone. We recently caught up with several of our area’s landscaping experts to get their advice on some of the key areas of your landscape.
“Blooms are selected by sun location, soil, climate and seasons—make sure the plant material can first survive where it’s being planted,” says Panetta. “The plant material is also considered in terms of variation in color, texture, size and scent.”
The spacing must also be considered, says Shari Catanzaro, landscape designer for Colibraro Landscaping & Nursery.
“In a landscape, the blooms of the shrubs and perennials need to be spaced evenly throughout the landscape,” she explains. “Also, the time of the bloom may determine where the landscape and perennial should be placed. For example, a shrub that blooms very early in the season should be placed near a door or window that is used on a regular basis so as the homeowner enters or exits the home, the plant is in view frequently.”
Making sure something is always in bloom so that your property looks as full and appealing as possible is also important.
“Spreading out the bloom time through the use of trees, shrubs and perennials is the key goal for landscape design,” adds Ed Swietanski, sales manager for Gill’s Landscaping. “Soil conditions, sun exposure and exterior colors of the home should all be taken into account.”
Not all areas that a homeowner wants to be landscaped are blank flat areas, says Catanzaro. Though it can be challenging, slopes must be accounted for in planning. Soil erosion is one issue that must often be addressed on steep slopes or in extra wet areas.
“On steep slopes, I try to use plants that have a fibrous root system to create a mat of roots that help hold soil in place,” Catanzaro says.
For steep slopes that have ample sun, Ronni Hock, president of Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape, says she highly recommends several groundcovers that will help prevent soil erosion. These include stachys byzantine (“lambsear”) or phlox subulata.
“In addition, groundcover sedums such as Angelina or dragon’s blood offer great color as well as soil stability due to their root system,” Hock adds. “All of these are deer-resistant as well.”
For steep slopes with shade, Hock says the “workhorse of groundcovers” is the evergreen pachysandra. Additional evergreen, low-growing shrubs like skimmia or sarcococca are also great picks and Hock says have lovely, glossy-green foliage that lasts even in winter months and is also highly deer-resistant.
Hardscaping can also be used to address the challenges posed by steep slopes.
“Steep slopes and other challenging terrain can always be graded in layers by using decorative rocks or retaining walls and other materials in order to create level areas,” Panetta says. “Landscaping can be done on any terrain using the right plant materials and proper drainage.”
Trees are also a vital part of a complete landscape. They provide shade, color and height to a landscape design, says Swietanski.
“Trees also introduce the opportunity of up-lighting, which can bring a dramatic effect to the property at night,” he adds.
Hock suggests exploring and discussing your site with an expert before making any tree decisions. There are a lot of factors to consider: Is it a wet or dry area? What type of soil do you have? Hock says it may even be beneficial to consult a tree company that can analyze the type of soil you have from a sample.
“From a long-term cost perspective, I would strongly recommend having a landscape company facilitate the placement and installation of any medium to large-size caliber tree,” Hock says. “There are so many variables with trees.”
The Value of Landscaping
While a lot of homeowners tend to put a lot of attention on the inside of their home, it’s important to remember the outside as well. Landscaping adds curb appeal and sets a first impression of your home. And it adds real value, too. Catanzaro says that a nicely landscaped home can add up to 10 percent to the overall value of the property.
“It’s just as important to have the outside of the home ‘staged’ as it is for the inside,” Catanzaro says. “For that reason, landscaping should not be overlooked.”
Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 17, Issue 7 (February, 2017).
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