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Landscaping tips to improve your home's curb appeal

Landscaping tips to improve your home's curb appeal

Rejuvenating your landscaping by pruning trees and shrubs, cleaning up plant beds and re-mulching is a simple and effective way to boost your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Before you dig in, start with a plan for cleaning up, said Cory Whistler of Salsbery Brothers Landscaping, Inc. in Carmel. 

“For outdated landscapes, or overgrown landscapes, it may be (that) a fresh start is what is needed,” Whistler said. “(But) it is hard to build the vision and get excited about it without following the proper steps to make that vision a reality.” 

Rick Davis, of Davis Family Lawn Care in Westfield, said some of the biggest issues he sees with out-of-control landscaping are plants and shrubs being too big for the space they’re in; are planted incorrectly or have become too overgrown, crowding the bed.

“No matter how beautiful a shrub or plant may be, nothing will look nice when it's crowded together or neglected,” Davis said. “Don't be afraid to remove or transplant (plants). We have had many customers who wanted entirely new landscaping, but after seeing what the area looks like after removing overgrown shrubs, decide they like the look of their clean beds, and opt for minimal replacements. A good bed cleanup and mulching will add instant curb appeal.” 

Davis recommends pruning each year about a third off a shrub or tree’s growth.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of pruning,” Davis said. “Trees and shrubs need to be pruned annually or they will quickly become overgrown. If you've missed a few years, it's not too late. Get a little more aggressive.”

Mulching can help prevent the growth of weeds, while retaining moisture and providing nutrients for plants and flowers. There’s more to mulching than just dumping a bag of mulch onto a flower bed, though, says Wesley Addington of Wesley’s Landscape & Lawn Care, Inc. in Westfield. Improper mulching – including touching the trunk of the plant with mulch – can rob trees and shrubs of important nutrients.

If you’re able to invest more into your landscaping this year, hardscaping is a good investment and creates another area of your home to enjoy. Paver patios and walkways, and outdoor living areas with built-in grills, hot tubs, fireplaces or fire pits covered with a decorative pergola are all the rage, Addington says.

“Hands down, hardscaping has taken over the trends in the landscaping business,” Addington said. “There is nothing nicer than after a hard day of work to come home and relax in and enjoy your outdoor-scape.”

When you’re ready to devise your landscaping plan, consider bringing in a professional as a consultant. A professional landscaper can offer ideas and strategies to execute them; including devising a multi-year plan if your budget for this year doesn’t include all that you wish for. A well-designed and cared for landscape can add 7 percent to 14 percent to your home’s value.

For the experienced weekend gardener, much of the actual landscaping work can be done yourself. For those who don’t possess a green thumb, talk to at least three different landscapers about your vision and how they can help you achieve it. Look for a company that has a good reputation and is affiliated with a professional trade association, like the Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association or the Indianapolis Landscape Association. 

“Landscaping should be rejuvenated every 10 to 15 years, as most plants are at their max growing potential and/or haven't been maintained properly throughout those years,” Addington said. “Hiring an honest professional can help you decide what to keep, what should go and what can go in the right places. All said and done, it’s worth the money and time to hire (to rejuvenate) your landscape.”

Editor's note: This article was originally published in March of 2012.