Professionally done landscaping that appeals to the general taste of most people will add between 15 and 25 percent to your home’s value and help you sell faster, she says. “This is called curb appeal.

“Don’t try to build a landscape for the resale value of your house, don’t let that be the driving force,” she adds. But by keeping costs in check, “then you’ll get your money back.”

If you think you might sell within a few years, take your landscape plan to a third party such as a real estate agent for an objective opinion on how much you should spend, Hansen says.

Hansen and Wong offer the following tips on landscaping to improve the value of your home:

Keep it up

“Maintain whatever level of landscape you have,” says Wong. “Whether it’s huge gardens or small gardens, whether there’s lawn or no lawn, whether you have a hedge, maintain it.”

Over under

You can overdo a landscape just as easily as underdo one. An over-done space often shows its age more than when you keep it simple, Hansen says. Keep the look classic so it won’t look dated over time; plus, classic materials stay on the market longer, so you’re more likely to still find them if you want to add to your landscaping. And keep in mind that the more things you have, from garden beds to water features to pools, the more likely things will need maintenance and repairing.

Dive in

Pools, hot tubs and water features are seen as much as negatives as bonuses. Where one person will see a pool as a backyard oasis, another will see only the work it requires. “I don’t care what anybody tells you, there’s no way you’re doing a pool under $30,000 unless you’re doing an above-ground pool,” says Hansen, who suggests they are best in neighbourhoods where they’re common or because your yard is your cottage. “It’s a really big investment … you could do a lot of other things that might give you the same benefit.”

Effective outdoor lighting extends the use of your space, especially into the fall when evenings might be darker !

Light it up

Effective outdoor lighting is something Wong has promoted for more than a decade. “It extends the use of your investment … you’re able to enjoy entertaining well past sundown.” But your lighting needs to be done well, “not the runway effect.”

The beauty of composite decks is that you can choose your colour from the beginning and it stays that way, says Wong, who designed this urban backyard space.

Stone vs. wood

When it comes to patios and decks, wood looks good, but stone outlasts and needs no maintenance, says Hansen. Interlock can require some work to keep weeds out of the joints, adds Wong. She’s also a fan of low-maintenance composite wood and is seeing more interest in both composite and slightly elevated decks, which shade the ground underneath to hamper weed growth. Patios and decks have a 10 to 20 per cent return on investment, Hansen says, although decks are less due to their shorter lifespan.

Gravel pit

Many people think “big huge swaths of gravel” in their landscape will cut down on weeds, but it creates a sterile look “that isn’t really inviting,” says Wong. Besides, after a few years, unless you’re constantly maintaining it, you will get weeds “and that’s high maintenance on its own. I’d rather mow the lawn; it just feels more satisfying.”

Elaborate perennial gardens look gorgeous but can intimidate all but an avid gardener.

Green thumb alert

Extensive flower beds may look gorgeous, but they could be intimidating. “Having a garden and working in it, they go hand in hand,” says Hansen. While he’s the first to praise how therapeutic gardening can be, he also cautions that “it’s a lot of work, so not everybody wants to do it.” He suggests small- to medium-sized garden beds to add the esthetic value without overwhelming a potential buyer.

Low key

What works for low-maintenance gardens? Ground covers, shrubs and evergreens, says Wong. “Perennials are lovely and they do have their place but if you can stick to those three things … you’ll have a garden without a lot of weeding.”

Standing tall

While gardens might not be your best bet, planting trees is a positive, says Hansen. “I can tell you from my years of designing and planting and installing, people will do anything to not mess up their trees.” Their shade helps cool your home in summer, they can be a windbreak and they appreciate in value. But it’s important to look after them,

All fenced in

If you’re looking to fence your yard, which way should you go? “In the professional landscaping world, chain-link fence is a dog run,” says Hansen. While it’s functional and cost effective, it adds no value. A living fence such as a cedar hedge might not keep your dog from going through, but it does give you screening and privacy. And when it comes to wood versus PVC, “wood still rules, there’s no question,” he says. However, he concedes, while a well-maintained wood fence still has value, people love the idea of maintenance-free PVC, even though, he says, it too can fade and rot.

For a simple way to ramp up your curb appeal, add pops of colour, especially red, which is the in !

Quick hits

If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to ramp up your curb appeal, think clean and colour. Clear out any clutter, make sure things are clean and tidy up any gardens. Then add pops of colour, especially red, which is the No. 1 colour to jazz up your space, says Hansen. “It just draws people in.”

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