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Landscaping Tips for Home Sellers

outdoor living spaceImproving Your Outdoor Living Areas

The benefits of landscaping can never be overemphasized. Landscaping completes any home with its primary role of improving the livability and enjoyment of indoor and outdoor living spaces. If you are putting your home up for sale, take a good look at the state of your outdoor living areas and decide if they need improvement.

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They should be aesthetically appealing, enjoyable and functional. Prospective buyers are attracted to color, order, functionality and neatness.  Outdoor living areas are a natural extension of your home; they can provide additional play area for children, a place to gather the family together, or simply a quiet and soothing environment to relax after a hard day’s work.

Current Trends 

To help you evaluate your existing outdoor living areas, it is wise to know the current trends in outdoor living. A recent survey done by the American Society of Landscape Architects showed that in 2011, homeowners prefer function, efficiency and fire pits in their outdoor living spaces. The respondents were residential landscape architecture professionals who were asked to rate the expected popularity of various living and landscape features for 2012. 

To summarize, the top 4 living elements of outdoor living spaces are light, fire, food and a place to sit. If these elements are translated to specific features, the current trend would include exterior lighting, eating/dining areas, fire pits or fireplaces, grills and installed seating such as benches and seat walls. 

Flooring for outdoor living areas is mostly a combination of grass, pebbles, pavers or decks. Which type to use largely depends on the function of the particular area. For example, you would not want to place your grills on grass or unstable materials. Outdoor kitchen areas commonly have paved flooring. 

Keep these in mind when improving your outdoor living spaces. If you want expert advice, you can opt to consult the professionals. Contact any of the local landscaping companies, especially ones that offer full-scale services and discuss with them your needs. Some general tips for improvement of these areas include paving stones, planting new flowers, tidying up your lawns and cleaning or buying new outdoor furniture. 

Essential Elements of Outdoor Living Spaces 

When improving outdoor living spaces, remember the traditional and essential elements of outdoor living: 

#1 - Lighting 

Give careful attention to exterior lighting. It is a fantastic way of creating ambiance and atmosphere to your outdoor living spaces. Some potential buyers may only be available to look at your property when it is dark, so a good lighting design for your outdoor areas will be beneficial. Lighting professionals agree that good outdoor lighting can add up to 20 percent to the perceived value of your home so consider this carefully. 

Some ideas include use of traditional overhead lighting, landscape lighting, flickering of candlelight, string lights draped in trees and outdoor lanterns. 

#2 - Fire 

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, fire features are the latest rage in designing outdoor living areas. Fire pits, fireplaces, fire bowls, chimineas, and grills are some examples. Fire pits can be enjoyed during chiller days and nights while grills are indispensable during parties and weekend barbecues. 

#3 - Food 

Since outdoor living spaces are used when bonding with friends and family members, as well as for entertaining guests, cooking is an integral part of the whole experience.   Consider a barbecue, gas or traditional charcoal, which will provide a convenient way to keep the cooking (and the mess) outside.

#4 - Seating 

Outdoor rooms should have comfortable furniture or seating areas. Some suggestions include sling chairs softened with cushions, or with throw pillows and blankets made of fabric suited for outdoors. Some go all the way as to include hammocks for the ultimate relaxing experience.  Whether it is elegant patio furniture or a simple picnic table, having ample seating for you or your guests is an important part of outdoor living spaces.

Landscaping Distinctive Areas in Outdoor Living Areas 

Outdoor living spaces are popularly categorized into outdoor kitchens, outdoor dining rooms and outdoor living rooms. Every room is defined by its functions and so it is expected that each space will require different plants, utilities and features. 

#1 - Outdoor Kitchen 

In general, outdoor kitchens require the following elements: lighting, power, fuel, a cooking station and a proper flooring surface. The decision on which elements to incorporate, depends on a lot of factors. They are mainly based on the types of activities you want to be able to perform in the area. For example, you may need to cover the area if you want to do some cooking all year-round, regardless of the weather. 

As for the choice of plants to install, these are influenced by the accessories and equipment that you choose to be present. For example, you might need to have some evergreen shrubs to hide a fuel tank. Also, avoid plants, which easily break off when dry because the debris might float into the fire. 

#2 - Outdoor Dining Room 

Don’t forget the importance of shade. You might have noticed that most restaurants with outdoor dining areas make use of umbrellas or pergolas simply because it is just more comfortable to dine in the shade. These and other forms of overhead protection can also provide shelter during rainy months. If you are not using a full table and chair arrangement, you may want to simply place a couple of small end tables or coffee tables where food and drinks can rest.  

Some people prefer to incorporate a more garden-like feel to the outdoor dining room by growing non-flowering vines like Winter Creeper or Boston Ivy. If you do not want to invite insect pollinators, opt for vines that flower for a short period of time and not those that bloom all season. There are also plants that provide color without flowers like coleus, hosta and evergreen conifers. To complete the garden-like atmosphere, foliage-oriented plants can surround the dining area. 

#3 - Outdoor Living Room 

Some small gardens combine the outdoor living and dining areas. Lighting, paving and comfortable furniture are common features. Other places to seat include swings and lounge chairs with footstools. Special features include a fireplace, fire pit or chimney. 

An outdoor living room that sees lots of use has fragrant blooms, which are close enough for the fragrance to waft over the area. Trees are planted in such as a way as to provide shade on the seating area and lessen the effects of heat naturally. A cost-effective solution to providing color to the room is to enclose it with container gardens, especially near the seating area. You may need to replace the plants throughout the year to match the growing season of the climate.

Ways To Improve Outdoor Living Spaces 

Here are some tips on how you can make your outdoor living space shine. They are categorized into Basic, Moderate and Advanced. 

#1 - Basics 

  • De-clutter and organize.  Store everything that is unrelated to the outdoor living space elsewhere. If you need to rent storage space, then do so.  Be sure the overall appearance is neat, tidy and organized.  Put away any children’s toys, remove forgotten kitchen items or empty pop cans.
  • Remove dead and dying leaves and branches from surrounding area.
  • Pull weeds and re-cut the edges of beds that border the outdoor living space.
  • Clean or update outdoor furniture. You can use a pressure-washer to make things easier. If buying new furniture, choose ones that will complement the architecture of your home. 
  • Clean lights and lanterns. Replace if defective. 
  • Wash covers of cushions and throw pillows. If worn out or faded, replace with new ones. 
  • Clean the grill, fireplace, fire pit, fire bowl, etc.   Replace any covers that are available for your grill or other heat feature.
  • Clean trellises of any plant debris and sweep patio or deck surface.
  • Clean overhead covering, umbrellas or pergolas. Replace if worn out, faded or defective. 
  • Replace old plants or add new ones. 
  • Add inexpensive items, which would add color and charm such as a colorful birdhouse, flowers, colorful urns, pads for the chairs and candles. 

#2 - Moderate 

  • Replace mulch in beds, and rocks in borders or beds.
  • Stain or paint fences and decks. 
  • Repair or replace furniture that is broken or no longer functional.
  • Repair grill or other heat feature if necessary.
  • Clean trellises and retaining walls. Stain or paint them, if need be. 

#3 - Advanced 

  • Repair sections of the fence or deck that are missing or damaged.   Address any safety precautions that have been overlooked.  A simple loose board or a sharp corner should be repaired to avoid any harm to a potential buyer.
  • Install fireplace, fire pit or fire chimney to enhance the outdoor living space.
  • Add or upgrade existing patio, deck or walkway. 
  • Add an arbor or trellis to further define the specific area, create privacy if desired, and to provide additional protection from the elements during all Seasons.

Materials To Use 

There are various construction materials for these projects that are readily available to homeowners like you. For example, using pressure-treated wood for decks and screening walls is very common today. On the other hand, brick and aggregate concrete are excellent materials for terraces and patios.  Check with your local landscaper or home improvement center to find out which materials are inexpensive and available in your area. 

Outdoor Living Space Do-It-Yourself Videos

If you're feeling up to the task, check out these videos and ideas.  If you like the ideas but you're short on time, submit a request for a local landscaping contractor to give you a quote for getting the job done!

Building a fire pit for your outdoor living area can enhance the beauty of your landscaping and give prospective buyers a place to entertain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover how easy it is to build and install a new paver patio to enhance your landscaping for selling your home.  You may reconsider selling once you have this nice new landscaping patio! 

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