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Landscaping Projects to Increase Curb Appeal

So, you want to increase your curb appeal. Putting some attention on your home’s curb appeal is a terrific way to boost property value. It’s also a fantastic solution to get your home sold quickly. Even if you aren’t looking to list anytime soon, spending some time on your home’s curb appeal is a worthy investment. 

There are many aesthetic improvements you can make to the outside of your home. Things like redoing your roof or siding or repainting your front door are some popular choices. However, when it comes to boosting curb appeal, nothing works quite as well as good, old-fashioned landscaping. 

Before you shrug and lament that landscaping isn’t something in your wheelhouse, take a look at all the amazing landscaping projects you can do to increase your home’s curb appeal. 

Project #1: Give it a Trim 

Focus first on giving your lawn a good trim. Mow it. Pull the weeds. Cut and shape the shrubs. If it’s been a while since you’ve invested in a good “haircut” for your lawn, you’ll be surprised by what a huge difference this little project makes. 

While you’re working on your yard, put some attention on getting your grass green. Try putting your lawn on a watering schedule to get the grass green. If not, you can always take shortcuts with sod. 

Project #2: Add Some Plants 

If you don’t have plants, consider adding some. You don’t have to have an elaborate garden to make an impact. Try to choose low-maintenance plants that can survive year-round – like petunias.  

Potted plants are usually easier to maintain, too. However, don’t be afraid of adding a small garden if you have the time for a little daily upkeep. A few plants can make a significant difference in making your home stand out. 

Project #3: Hardscaping 

If maintaining your lawn or growing plants is not something you can manage – consider hardscaping instead. Hardscaping is landscaping using hard materials like gravel, rocks, pebbles, mulch, and stone to create visually appealing yards without the hassle. 

Hardscaped lawns are particularly trendy in dessert climates, but they can look good anywhere. If you decide to hardscape, consider hiring a designer or doing a bit of research on hardscaping before diving in. 

Project #4: Focus on The Porch 

People are spending significantly more time lounging in their yards these days. As a result, home buyers are looking for homes with plenty of outdoor seating areas. If you don’t have a front porch, consider adding one. 

If you have a porch or patio already, take some time to spruce it up and make it look inviting. A fresh coat of paint and tasteful furniture and decorations can work wonders. 

Project #5: Pay Attention to the Entrance 

Step back and look at your home. More specifically, look at the pathway from the curb to your front door. Does it look intriguing or inviting? Consider lining your entrance walkway with plants or lights. 

If you don’t have a sidewalk that leads up to your front door, be sure to add pavers or a walkway of some kind. 

Project #6: Revamp the Driveway 

Homebuyers are also on the hunt for large driveways. Take a peek at your driveway and see how it looks. If you have a gravel driveway, make sure it’s nice and level. If you have a concrete driveway, make sure it isn’t cracked or stained. 

Spend some time making your driveway look nice and ready to handle plenty of cars. If you don’t have a driveway or covered parking area – consider adding one. 

Project #7: Add Lighting

Once you’ve done all this work on your home, you want to make sure people can see it. Upgrade your outdoor lighting fixtures and toy around with different lighting options. 

There are spotlights, street lamps, porch lights, garden lights, decorative twinkle lights, colorful ambiance lights, and more. Spend some time thinking about your yard’s lighting design and the areas of it you want to highlight, and then purchase and install the lighting features you need to bring your concept to life. 

Increase Your Curb Appeal with Landscaping

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are still plenty of ways to increase your curb appeal with landscaping projects. All seven projects above are DIY and budget-friendly, so there’s no reason not to start boosting your curb appeal today. 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

Quick Backyard Remodeling Projects To Do This Summer

We have all had backyard remodeling projects on our minds this Summer.

Summertime likely will be welcoming more people into your backyard as we all look to entertain outdoors during these beautiful few months. Warmer weather, more time with our families, and the endless possibilities for outdoor activities make the season a favorite! Since many of us are homebound due to COVID-19 as summer quickly approaches, it’s a great time to take on any of our favorite exterior backyard remodeling projects! 

For more inspiration, make sure to check out Ecoscape’s portfolio 

Redo driveway - summer projectsRedo Your Driveway

Driveways serve both aesthetic and practical purposes and are a part of the first impression of your home. Considering increased rain during summer and spring months, you’ll want to make sure that your driveway drain is properly equipped to handle runoff water without damaging your landscaping that is likely flourishing during these summer months. 

Driveway designs (also called hardscape),  can range in a multitude of different ways. The most common is concrete. Pavers and brick can also serve as a functional yet aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional concrete.

 

Summer ProjectsCraft an Outdoor Kitchen

This will certainly help you stand out to the neighbors! A grill gazebo is a fun DIY project that gives you a lot of free reign to craft a fun new space to the backyard. These gazebos don’t need to be large, just wide enough to fit the grill. Then, you can add in seating, food storage, or even a wine rack! 

You can also craft a backyard fire pit quite easily! A backyard fire pit is great for hanging out with friends and family or crafting the perfect s’ more. You will likely be able to check out your local home store for a fire ring that you can purchase. If not, check online for guides as to how you can use concrete pavers or blocks to make your own. 

 

Up Your Deck Game

Summertime is the best time of year to gather with friends and family, and just a few tweaks to your existing deck can make the space even more perfect for entertaining!

Crafting an outdoor oasis can be as easy as hanging string lights, adding comfortable seating, and purchasing an outdoor rug. Outdoor string lights instantly make the space feel more comfortable and inviting and is a great stage to set for gathering with friends. Outdoor rugs can be quite inexpensive and will give the deck a more sophisticated feel and add personality to the space. 

 

A Fresh Paint Job

Summertime brings the heat, and it can be more difficult to paint a home during the summer. Especially hot days can cause the paint to dry and crack before it can be brushed out, so the spring period leading up to summer is the perfect time to freshen up your home’s coat of paint. A fresh coat of paint can also be a great time to consider roof and siding color combinations since darker roof colors will bring more heat during these hot months and will increase your energy bill.

The excitement of the summer will be complemented by any of these great home projects. 

 

Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

Remember Your Humble Sprinkler System

The national Irrigation Association promotes July as ‘Smart Irrigation Month’ and reminds consumers, farmers, and landscape industry professionals, that the benefits of efficient water use through irrigation save both WATER and MONEY.  While you may consider your irrigation controller to be a nebulous box mounted to your garage or basement wall, and may be tempted to ‘leave it to the professionals’, there are some simple ‘smart irrigation’ practices you can do for starters: 

•  Inspect your irrigation system monthly by walking around your property checking for leaks, broken or clogged sprinkler heads, and plant problems. Lawn equipment, thirsty raccoons, or parts wearing-out can cause damage, so be on the lookout unusual wet spots or dried out plants/turf, and get items fixed quickly.

•  Learn the basics about your controller: know how to turn your sprinkler system off, and do so after appreciable rain events. Remember to turn it back on, or have a professional install a rain sensor that does it automatically. Set timer to water early mornings when winds are calm & temps are cool (between 4am and 8am).

Backflow Preventers are usually located on an outside wall

•  Know where your backflow preventer (outside) or water shut-off valve for the irrigation line is (usually in the basement or utility closet). If a zone keeps running after it’s set to turn off or a leak is discovered, turn off your controller and the backflow preventer -or- the water shut-off valve. Then call Ecoscape to to schedule a service call. Emergency calls made over the weekend will receive priority scheduling on Monday.

Did you know smartphone technology exists for irrigation controllers?  If you are considering a new landscape or renovation with Ecoscape, upgrading your current irrigation controller is the perfect time to make that change. Already an Ecoscape maintenance client or have done a landscape project with us in years past?  Call us to schedule an appointment to review your sprinkler system and controller for efficiency and potential upgrades.

Here are a few other things to consider about residential water use….

Colorado IS a Safer Place for Pollinators

One yard, one city block, and one policy at time, has started the momentum of making the state of Colorado a safer place for bees and fellow pollinators.  The People & Pollinator Action Network (PPAN) originated in late 2014 with the modest aim of policy reform, and in turn discovered a much larger comprehensive goal:  making our region a sanctuary for birds, insects, and bats.  Like many issue of our times, the problem of pollinator decline is complex and multifaceted, and both a local and global problem.  Since its’ inception, PPAN united behind a common strategy to work with the Colorado State Legislature in ways to promote policy reform to improve the health of both pollinators and humans, namely in the form of reducing pesticide use within Colorado.

The economics of policy change were not left out of the equation. Collective impact means that a cross-section of Colorado government agencies, municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses have worked with PPAN to foster partnerships that create a better future for people and pollinators in our state.  To read the full report from the People & Pollinator Action Network, buzz over to this link.  To take action beyond your own bee-safe back yard, consider getting involved with PPAN or sharing a financial gift at:  peopleandpollinators.org.

Image from 2015-17 Review People & Pollinators.

Only 28 more days to SPRING!

Early riser, the pasque flower is usually one of the first flowers seen in spring.

Thinking about transforming your landscape to be more ‘water-wise’ this coming landscape season?  Resource Central (formerly known as The Center for Resource Conservation) has quite a seminar line-up this spring, with some sessions that actually offer incentives to reduce turf through city-sponsored programs.   The City of Lafayette has piloted turf-removal programs these past two years partnering with CRC and their ‘Garden in a Box’ collections.  Now Boulder, Arvada, and Thornton are also offering incentives, rebates, or discounts to help homeowners transform their mono-culture lawns, into a haven for plant diversity and pollinators.

The Resource Central classes are FREE, but fill up fast!  See the complete list here, and sign-up soon.  Ecoscape’s Bill Melvin will be teaching the March 8th class at the Lafayette Public Library on the benefits of turning your turf into a Xeriscape.

Still not convinced that removing grass is worth the effort?  Here’s TEN great reasons to convert your turf  into xeriscape zones:

1) SAVE TIME.  Maintaining turf is time consuming.  Think of all the time you spend (or pay for someone to do it) mowing, fertilizing, aerating, weeding, string trimming edges, and monitoring sprinkler heads for problems.  Talk about a high-maintenance diva!

2) SAVE WATER. Kentucky bluegrass will use 24-26 inches of irrigation per growing season to produce the highest quality turf with no brown spots. Tall fescue will use 20-22 inches of irrigation per growing season, providing that a deep root system has been established, and substantial subsoil moisture exists.  Based on a Xeriscape Conversion Study (2005) by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a 33% reduction in monthly water use could be realized in converting turf areas to a xeriscape.

3) SAVE ENERGY.  Converting to a xeriscape does not mean replacing turf with a heat sinking span of rock ‘mulch’.  Turf can actually reduce home cooling requirements by as much as 4%.  To realize a bigger home energy savings, a xeriscape with plants, shrubs, and trees, can help shade your home, thus potentially saving your energy costs in summer by 46%.

4) LOSE the noise and pollution.  Gas powered mowers and two-cycle engines (aerators, blowers, and string trimmers) are noisy and smelly. Plants in a xeriscape garden don’t require such equipment.

5) CREATE habitat diversity.  Large areas of lawn are ‘mono-cultures’, meaning one type of plant.  This makes grass more vulnerable to disease and pests.  A landscape with a diversity of perennials, shrubs, and trees, means that if an undesirable pest attacks a particular plant, it will be limited in food supply because of the variety.  If the pest attacks your turf, and you have tons of it, the pest will have a huge food supply and better able to multiply unchecked.  Plant diversity also attracts beneficial insects, which will work on your behalf to keep pest-insects in check.

6) SET A GOOD EXAMPLE for others.  By committing to a water-wise community of plants, you can set a trend in your neighborhood to use natural resources wisely.

Ecoscape designed, plant-diverse front yard. No turf here!

7) REDUCE FRUSTRATION.  Ill-maintained turf can be an eye-sore.  Dog spot, fertilizer burn, weed pressure, brown spots, and sparse turf, are a constant reminder that something hasn’t been done right, and needs attention.  Turf reduction could actually lower your stress level!

8) INCREASE RESILIENCE. Adapted arid-tolerant plants and native cultivars thrive in the changing climate conditions of Colorado (droughts, water restrictions, etc…), turf – not so much. Year to year, season to season, invest in plants that are hardy and well-suited to our region.

9) BUILD SOIL.  Xeriscape areas benefit from mulch, made out of natural materials, such as straw, leaves, wood chips, and even paper in some cases. These items in turn will break down and create an excellent food source for the microbes living in your soil.  Feed the soil, and it will feed your plants.

10) BEAUTY ABOUNDS.  Xeric plants can be colorful, smell wonderful, and have many interesting shapes and textures.  Winter interest in the garden can be found when plants take on a frosty mantle.  We usually don’t think of turf in those terms, so replacing it with xeric plants can open up new aesthetic avenues and vistas all year round.