Improve Your Home With Good Landscaping

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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  1. Tom on April 28, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    We actually just redid our front entrance. Our old concrete steps were crumbling away and had some big holes in them, so we knew we had to do something. So the first time the snow melted away (~2 months ago here), we built a little 8’x5′ deck off the front door. The original steps/landing had the steps facing to the neighbours house, but I insisted the new steps to face the street. It was a fight until it was over and the wife agreed it couldn’t have turned have better! Now we are getting the actual front door replaced, and once we settle on a light fixture, I’ll be installing that too. This summer we’ll stain it and plant some new shrubs. Next spring is cut down gigantic pine trees up front, and next summer we’ll lay the sod.

    We’ll be here for probably another 10 years or so, and there is lots to do. So we’re going easy on the budget and going slow. No need to get it all done now! (Especially if that means putting it on a credit card).

  2. starset on April 29, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I was admittedly reluctant when my husband suggested we plant several tower poplars along the back fence line, plus a large elm tree in the middle of the yard, and several more trees between us and the neighbours’ yard. Total cost was somewhere around $750-$800.

    Now I find myself admiring the landscape daily. Those trees have grown tremendously over the last 2-3 years and I think they were a wonderful investment.

    • Robert on April 29, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Awesome. Bring the elms back!

  3. Kurt on April 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    We decided to hire a landscape designer. Her input was invaluable in coming up with a cohesive plan for our yard. So many yards look like the person has no clue about design and we really didn’t want that. The complete plan might take us years to execute but if we decide to put in another flower bed, it has a place and a purpose that flows with the design. Best investment I’ve made in my property.

  4. Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on May 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    The previous owner of my house had a green thumb. My property had too many gardens, so I decided to grass them all over. Best decision I every made. If you don’t have the time or desire to garden, grass is the easiest solution.

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