When you own a home, it’s easy to devote attention to improving the interior while following home maintenance tips for Floridians. The outdated kitchen is something you see and use every day, the small bathroom gets frustrating because there’s no space, or you get annoyed with the old carpet and want to put down wood flooring instead.
While it is important to improve your interior, you should also focus on the exterior. The outside of your home is the first thing anyone will see when they come to visit you, and if the landscape looks unkempt or the driveway is full of cracks and potential tripping hazards, then that will be their first impression of your home.
This can also be important if you’re a landlord and need to rent out a property. You want to attract a tenant who will care for the place and pay rent consistently, and you may have a tougher time doing that with a wild-looking front yard. Any guide to managing rental properties will tell you that you have to make a good first impression.
To make sure anyone who comes on your property loves it, consider renovating your front yard with new landscaping, sod installation, outdoor lighting, and more. Check out five landscaping tips for creating an attractive front yard that you and your guests will love.
1. Install new sod for a vibrant, green lawn.
If you have just moved in, or you need to get a house ready quickly for prospective tenants, and the lawn is full of bare patches and looks like it has not been cared for, then you may want to install sod. This grass is already grown and is harvested in rolls or cut into squares that are then installed on your lawn after careful preparation of the soil below. A perk of sod installation is that it is the best way to get an instantly green lawn that makes the home look great. While it does cost more than putting down grass seed and waiting for it to grow, it’s a quick upgrade and a good investment, as long as you care for it properly after installation.
2. Design landscape beds that complement the house.
Any real estate agent will tell a homeowner that putting in new landscape beds can increase the value of their property–sometimes, upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. If your home or rental property doesn’t already have landscaping, then meet with a local company that can create and install new planting beds for you. They will design custom spaces that complement the look and feel of your house. For example, if you have a more modern-looking home, they may opt for some xeriscaping with smaller shrubs or install hedges with sharp lines. If your home is more traditional, then they might put in some flowering shrubs such as azalea, hydrangea, and more. Tell the company what your budget is upfront so they know what they can and can’t do.
You may also want to think about adding in some annual flowers each fall and spring. These plants only bloom once, but their flowers can last for months and will add a gorgeous burst of color to your front yard. Pansies, marigolds, snapdragons, and other annuals come in a huge variety of colors. The type of plants you can choose also depends on where you live. For example, if you are a Florida resident, palm trees will flourish in your yard–but they would not handle the sharp, bitter cold of a midwest winter.
3. Put in a custom outdoor lighting system.
Putting in outdoor lighting is a great step if you don’t already have a system. These landscape lights will be positioned in various ways like uplighting, downlighting, and spotlighting to shine a light on key features of your property at night, letting all who visit see your beautiful home’s architecture and plants at any time. Some may hang just under your roof or gutters, others may be right along a pathway, and others could be inside your flower beds. If your system is older, you may want to upgrade to a newer LED system that will more effectively illuminate gardens and pathways on your property. LED lighting is also more environmentally friendly than halogen lights and saves you money on your energy bill. Consult an electrician to help with installing lights as that is the safest solution.
Adding outdoor lighting also has other benefits. It can increase safety on your property and make it easier for you and your guests to get around outside at night. If a walkway has a missing paver, someone could easily trip and fall without a light showing them the way. Path lights and other lighting may also help to deter burglars from coming to your house, as a well-lit area could prevent them from hiding somewhere and trying to break into the home.
4. Get an estimate for a decorative driveway.
If your concrete driveway is old and full of cracks, then it likely will look out of place with the rest of your new lawn and flower beds. Instead of putting in new concrete, talk with local hardscaping contractors about installing a new decorative driveway. These types of driveways are made with durable, attractive materials such as concrete pavers, brick, cobblestone, and more. Each of these comes in different colors and patterns to create a truly customized driveway. Another pro to using pavers or brick is if one cracks, it’s relatively easy to replace it with a new one. When the concrete has that issue, it can be patched, but usually does not look the same as the rest of the driveway.
You can also choose the same material for any walkways on your property so that they will match your driveway. You can even extend the look to your backyard and install a custom patio with the same materials for a truly cohesive look and feel.
5. Enlist the services of a local lawn care company.
Regular maintenance is hard to keep up with, especially when you work full-time and do not have much spare time as it is. Spending your weekend working on a lawn when there is so much else to do can get frustrating. Instead, enlist a local lawn care company to take care of your lawn and planting beds for you. They will mow the lawn properly, fertilize the grass and plants with key nutrients, perform weed control services, and more.
Investing money into sod installation is important, but if you do not keep caring for it, the grass will end up weakening and becoming more susceptible to common threats such as fungal disease, weeds, or lawn insects. When you have a lawn company caring for your outdoor space throughout the spring and summer months, in some places also fall and winter, they can give the grass and soil everything needed to be strong and fight off those threats. Most lawn care companies have a set schedule they can offer to homeowners or real estate investors to keep their properties maintained and looking great throughout the year.