When the weather starts warming up in the spring my thoughts turn to spending more time outdoors. Those of you who own a house can increase your living space and activities with good landscaping.

Our homes are probably the most important financial investments we’ll ever make. While we often spend time and money upgrading appliances, and remodelling kitchens and bathrooms, we often end up neglecting our landscapes.

Related: Installing underground sprinklers

There’s a close association between the yard and the home. A well-maintained yard reflects well on the owner’s values.


  • Place of beauty and relaxation for the family.
  • Beautifies the neighbourhood.
  • Reflects positively on the homeowner.

What has the maximum value to you?

Are you moving to a new home and working with a blank slate?

Are you moving to an existing home and want the landscaping to reflect your lifestyle?

Are you revamping your own yard to reflect your personality?

Consider which features will get the most use or provide the most enjoyment for you:

  • Patio or deck with comfortable seating?
  • Outdoor kitchen?
  • Colourful flowerbeds?
  • Safe play area for your children?

Do you want to create a little oasis of privacy?

Do you want flower or vegetable beds that will keep your hand covered in dirt all spring and summer?

Does it make financial sense to do everything at once, or in phases over several years?

Related: Our shocking basement renovation bill

Prioritize, rather than starting lots of features that get halfway done.

Avoid costly mistakes

What percentage of your home’s value should be put into landscaping?

A general rule of thumb is to spend 5 – 10% of the value of your home. This would buy a substantial upgrade for most homes.

Costs will hinge on the extent of your ambitions.

Like everything else, success depends on setting priorities, having a plan and sticking to it.

Don’t do anything you won’t have the time or money to maintain, or on things you won’t use. You don’t want to grow to hate taking care of your yard.

How long do you plan to live in the home?

What will be the long-term maintenance costs?

Related: My biggest home buying regret

Is it worthwhile to pay twice the price for a modern low-maintenance deck and fencing made of vinyl or composite? Or do you prefer the look of wood and accept that you’ll have to do regular preventative maintenance to preserve it?

Boost the value of your home

Real estate studies suggest you can increase the value of your home 5 – 15% by upgrading your landscape from poor to good.

Create curb appeal first, especially if you are thinking of selling in the near future.

The first impression you create with flowers and tidy shrubs could make the difference between an interested buyer and a drive-by missed sale.

Final thoughts

I miss my yard and the flowerbeds I painstakingly tended (although my husband hated it and he’s glad he doesn’t have to do all the chores anymore – dig here; mulch there; divide this plant; mow the lawn; trim the bushes 🙂 )

Related: Organic food gardening

What’s your favourite outside activity?

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