Making Your Landscape a Showplace
What is it that makes some landscapes evoke an “I-want-that-too” reaction from passers-by? What entices people to buy one house over another with similar design? Chances are, the landscape is visually exciting and tasteful. Curb appeal adds tangible value to your home. Here’s what you need to get it and keep it.
• Good structure—The architecture of the buildings on a site make an important statement about the owners, but a good, solid structural configuration of paths, vehicular access roads, plant beds, and focal points tie the style to the surrounding landscape. As long as the “bones” of the site design are righteous, the planting plan will fall into place nicely.
• Repetition—Good landscape design looks intentional, with deliberate functional rooms and rhythmic anticipation of destination points, as well as clarity of color schemes. Repeated plant forms create strong lines as viewers connect the duplication of shapes and echoes of color. Curb appeal demands you invest in multiples of each plant type. Spotty placement of single species will not do.
• Enclosure—Create rooms with fences, walls, and plant material. Boundaries provide a feeling of privacy and security.
• Ground plane lines—Clearly delineate the ground plane with strong, deep bed edging, thickly mulched plant beds, and low evergreen borders to hide leaf litter and disorganized floral clutter. Put some elbow room between different masses of shrubs and ground covers to keep the lines clean.
• Turf buffer at road—Provide a turf strip between vehicular roads and landscaped areas. Turf grass can handle the reflected heat of pavement and buffeting winds of cars and trucks. It will protect loose mulch and more delicate shrubs from the ravages of the road. Make the buffer at least the width of the mowing equipment for maintenance ease.
• A welcoming, open entrance—Use plant material to create open arms leading the eye to the front entrance door. Never visually block the front door from the curb is you want to say, “Welcome”.
• Properly scaled trees and shrubs—Plant material needs to match the scale of the building architecture on a site. If not, things feel “off”. A good landscape designer plans for the mature, natural growth and form of the plant material, not just for the initial reaction of a newly-installed landscape.
• Clean turf—If a lawn is part of your site design, it needs to be uniform and homogenous. It is the outdoor carpet. Weeds are like stains and uncut grass blades are like frayed frieze. Keep turf areas to a minimum and take good care of the grass you own.
• Good maintenance—Nothing adds more curb appeal to a landscape than good maintenance. Impeccable care can turn a plain and simple design into an elegant and quiet statement piece. Put your primary resources toward excellent maintenance tools and crews. Manicure and hyper-groom your landscape, and it will turn out to be alluring. This is curb appeal’s most essential element!