5 Curb Appeal Landscaping Ideas for Selling Your Home

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to selling a home. Curb appeal – the look and feel of a property from the street – can make or break a potential buyer’s interest.

A well-landscaped front yard that’s inviting and looks cared for signals to buyers that the home has been maintained and loved. In fact, research shows that the right landscaping can increase a home’s overall resale value by an average of 15-20%. On the other hand, a neglected exterior can turn off buyers before they even step inside the house.

That’s why curb appeal landscaping is necessary when getting a home ready to sell. Whether you choose to work with a professional landscaper or tackle the project yourself, it’s important to consider the features and design principles that will make the biggest impact on buyers.

Curb Appeal Landscaping Design Principles

To ensure your landscaping looks its best, consider some basic design principles. These include:

  • Balance and Symmetry: Creating an overall sense of balance and symmetry helps to guide the eye throughout the property. It also provides a sense of order and harmony. This creates a relaxing environment for buyers to envision themselves in.
  • Focal Points: Adding focal points throughout the property helps to direct the eye and draw attention to specific areas of interest. This can include a garden bed, a statue, a water feature, or even a fire pit.
  • Functionality: Every element in the landscape should serve a purpose. Is there seating for relaxation? Is there a path for easy access?
  • Seasonal Interest: Incorporate plants and elements that provide year-round appeal. Evergreens, bulbs for spring blooms, and interesting winter structures add variety.
  • Maintenance Level: Consider how much time and effort you will put into upkeep. Choose plants and features that match your comfort level.

These design principles help create a beautiful landscape that will appeal to buyers. While most of these principles can be applied independently, if you need help executing them, it’s best to consult a professional landscaping company.

Practical Tips for Designing a Cohesive Landscape

If you go the DIY route, keep the following design tips in mind:

  • Consider the Home’s Architecture: The landscape should complement the style of the house.
  • Use Repeating Elements: Incorporate similar plants, colors, or materials to create unity.
  • Create Different Zones: Designate areas for specific functions like seating, gardening, or play.
  • Think About Scale and Proportion: Ensure plants and features don’t overpower the house.
  • Consider the View from the Street: What will potential buyers see first?

Applying Design Principles

With the tips above, you can create a beautiful landscape that will complement your home and help it stand out from the rest of the homes on the market. Your approach will largely depend on the style of your home and the level of care you are willing to put into upkeep.

For example, a traditional-style home might benefit from a symmetrical front yard design. Repeating elements like matching pavers and hydrangea bushes create a sense of balance and unity between the hardscape and landscape. This approach aligns with the classic, timeless aesthetic of traditional architecture.

On the other hand, a modern home could showcase an asymmetrical front yard layout. A bold focal point, such as a sleek, contemporary water feature or striking sculpture, breaks the symmetry and adds visual interest. This design approach complements the minimalist, forward-thinking style often associated with modern homes.

Make a Lasting Impression with These 5 Curb Appeal Landscaping Ideas

You must pay attention to your home’s curb appeal. The competition in the real estate market is fierce. These five landscaping ideas will give your property the visual appeal it needs to stand out and attract potential buyers:

1. Enhance Your Curb Appeal with Colorful Flower Beds

Choose vibrant flowers to add a pop of color and visual interest. Opt for perennials for year-round color or annuals for seasonal variety. Think about height and texture by mixing tall plants with low-growing ones and incorporating plants with different leaf textures. Of course, don’t forget to prune your plants regularly to keep them looking their best.

Decide whether you want a more structured, traditional flower bed or a more relaxed, cottage-garden style. Plant flowers on either side of the entrance to create a welcoming focal point.

Curb Appeal Landscaping Ideas

2. Add Eye-Catching Hardscape Elements to Your Home’s Exterior

Consider brick, stone, or concrete pavers for a polished pathway. A winding or curved path can add interest. Opt for materials that complement your home’s exterior for a cohesive look.

A fire pit or outdoor kitchen can make the space more functional. For a unique feature, incorporate seating into the wall design. While more involved, a small fountain or pond can add much visual interest and tranquility.

3. Include Serene Elemental Pieces in Your Landscape Design

Incorporate unique outdoor features to make your landscape design stand out. Consider a small, contemporary fountain or a unique water garden with aquatic plants and stones for a serene feel.

Opt for a sleek, modern fire pit or a whimsical outdoor fireplace with a rustic charm to provide a focal point. Add architectural interest with a distinctive trellis, archway, or pergola. These elements will create a more engaging and memorable outdoor space.

Curb Appeal Landscaping Ideas

4. Illuminate Your Curb Appeal with Outdoor Lighting

Highlight key features like trees, statues, or unique plants with spotlights to extend their visual interest into the evening. Line your walkway or driveway with lights for safe navigation after dark. Install lights that cast a warm, soft glow to make your home inviting. Consider solar lights for an eco-friendly option.

5. Maximize Limited Space with Vertical Gardens

Train climbing plants like roses, ivy, or morning glories up trellises for a quick way to add height and color. Mount planters on walls or fences to save floor space.

Choose plants that trail over the edge for a soft look. Consider a wall-mounted garden with individual pockets for easy care and a modern aesthetic.

Make the Most of Your Curb Appeal With American Landscape

Nailing your curb appeal landscaping is an important step in selling your home. If you’re looking for inspiration, you can cruise around your neighborhood to see what other home sellers are doing to make their homes stand out.

Or, if you’re ready to get right to work, you can count on the team at American Landscape to help you transform your curb appeal. Our team of landscape designers and installation specialists can help you create the perfect outdoor space to maximize your home’s curb appeal and value.

 

Want to see how American Landscape can help you improve your curb appeal? Contact us today!

APRIL Landscaping Checklist

Flowers

  • Remove all boughs or coverings from your perennial beds to allow plants the light and air they need to grow.
  • Once actively growing, divide perennials like hosta, grasses and daylilies.  It’s also a good time to transplant if you need to move something.
  • Bring spring to your yard by planting containers with pansies, snapdragons, violas, ivy, forced bulbs, and other cold tolerant plants.
  • We can still get frost well into May so it’s best to wait to plant tender plants until after Mother’s Day at the earliest.
  • Some vegetables thrive in cold weather and are not hindered by frost.  If you want to grow vegetables try planting lettuce, cabbage, radishes, carrots, and other cold hardy veggies.
  • Topdress your perennial beds with compost or mulch before plants get too big.  They’ll still come up through a light covering without problem.
  • Fertilize beds with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer and apply your first application of pre-emergent herbicide (such as Preen) to landscape beds.

Lawn

  • Once lawn is actively growing and is around 4” tall, mow it to 2.5 to 3 inches, removing no more than 1/3 of the turf height at a time.
  • Once soil temperatures have warmed towards the end of the month you can start planting seed and installing sod.  It’s always a good idea to add some fresh topsoil to the area first, and remember to water, water, water!
  • It’s time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass control product, and as soon as you see weeds actively growing you can start treating for broadleaf weeds.  Remember to only use a product labeled for broadleaf weed control in lawns.
  • Core aeration can provide many benefits to your lawn by helping reduce thatch, improving soil porosity, reducing soil compaction, building strong root systems and increasing nutrient absorption.  If you’re someone who doesn’t want to use chemicals on your turf, aeration is your best route to get thick, healthy turf.

Trees/Shrubs  

  • The number one thing to do now is remove your winter protection from trees, shrubs and roses.  As temperatures warm, keeping wrappings and coverings on will damage your plants.
  • As tree and shrubs become available, they are safe to plant, as long as they are roughly in the same stage of dormancy or growth that our native trees are in.  If you buy a fully leafed out tree that was shipped here from a southern state, you will notice some setback and possibly damage as they are not acclimated to our climate.
  • It’s a great time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs.
  • Remember, even if there is no foliage on the plants, you need to keep them watered if it is dry.  Their root systems are developing underground.
  • Examine trees and shrubs for winter injury.  Prune out any damage.
  • There is still time to do some renewal and corrective pruning before plants leaf out.  Remember, don’t prune your spring blooming plants now (such as lilac, weigela, forsythia, etc.) as you will be pruning off flower buds.  The best time to clean those up is right after they are done blooming.
  • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to trees and shrubs to give them a little boost.  Topdressing the root zone with compost and adding a light covering of mulch is also beneficial.  Remember to keep much at about a 3” maximum and do not mound it around the stems and trunks.
  • Spraying crabapple trees for disease and insects can be started now.  Remember not to spray while they are blooming!  If your tree is older and really an eyesore each year, consider removing it and planting something new. 

Download Checklist

Spring Into Action: Prepare for the Growing Season

As the frost begins to thaw and the days grow longer, it’s time for homeowners in the greater Milwaukee area to turn their attention to the outdoors. Spring marks the beginning of a new growing season, and proper preparation now will ensure that your landscape thrives in the warmer months ahead. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, here’s some expert advice to help you make the most of your outdoor space.

Revitalize Your Garden Beds:

Spring Clean UpStart by clearing away any debris or dead vegetation that may have accumulated over the winter months. This will give your plants room to breathe and allow for better air circulation. Consider adding a fresh layer of compost or mulch to replenish nutrients and help retain moisture in the soil. Now is also the perfect time to divide and transplant any overcrowded perennials to promote healthier growth.

Nurture Your Lawn:

How We Keep Your Lawn Healthy and ThrivingMilwaukee’s cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, benefit from early spring maintenance. If your lawn suffered from winter damage, overseeding with a suitable grass seed blend can help fill in bare patches and restore its lush appearance. Don’t forget to adjust your mower height to the appropriate setting for the season and start mowing regularly as soon as the grass begins to grow. We recommend that once your lawn is actively growing and is around 4” tall, you mow it to 2.5 to 3 inches, removing no more than 1/3 of the turf height at a time.

Refresh Your Hardscapes:

Hardscapes

Take a walk around your property to inspect any hardscape features, such as pathways, patios, and retaining walls. Look for signs of damage caused by freezing and thawing, such as cracks or uneven surfaces. Addressing these issues early on can prevent further deterioration and prolong the lifespan of your outdoor structures. Consider giving your hardscapes a thorough cleaning with a power washer to remove built-up dirt and grime, revealing their original beauty.

Plan for Pest Control:

With the arrival of warmer weather, pests such as aphids, snails, and Japanese beetles may become more active in your garden. Stay ahead of the game by implementing integrated pest management strategies, such as planting pest-resistant varieties, attracting beneficial insects, and using organic pesticides sparingly as needed. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pest infestation and take appropriate action to prevent damage.

By following these tips for preparing your landscape for the warmer months and the growing season, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a healthy and attractive outdoor oasis right in your own backyard. So, roll up your sleeves, dig in the dirt, and let the sights and scents of spring inspire you to create the garden of your dreams. Better yet, contact our experts to tackle these tasks for you! Get in touch today!

Landscape Trends for 2024

Landscape trends can be viewed as short-term fads in a localized area or on a larger scale as a global shift in thinking.  Instead of looking at what’s hot or not in landscaping, this year we’ve researched the big global trends in the landscape industry.  Below we touch on some of the larger points and how they affect what we do.

Adapting Planting Design to Climatic Trends

Drought tolerant plant: Sedum

Globally, regardless of whether it’s a natural cycle of the earth or the result of human interference, our climate is clearly different that it was 20 years ago and more.  If we want to be successful in our landscapes and gardens, we need to take those changes into consideration.  As conditions change, the key to a successful landscape is going to be adaptability. This is leading the landscape industry in our area to focus on plantings that can take more heat, less moisture, adapt to sudden changes in temperature and volatile weather patterns.

Permeable Paver
Hardscape design is now utilizing more natural products, permeable products and creating ecologically sound environments. Fortunately, we live where we have many options and adaptability and durability are regularly taken into consideration as we design your living space.

Encouraging Biodiversity

Biodiversity is another global issue that affects landscaping trends.  Generally speaking, biodiversity refers to having a mix of different species in order to develop a balanced and resilient ecosystem.   In the past we have planted monocultures and used every chemical under the sun to sterilize our yards. We now know that landscapes that are lacking in a mix of species are more susceptible to larger problems.  For example, the most recent, and highly publicized, crisis is the Emerald Ash Borer.  This insect has devastated the ash tree population throughout the Midwest in recent years.   Some people were lucky and only lost one tree.  Unfortunately, many people, parks and business had multiple ash trees and lost the majority of their tree cover.  A diverse landscape would have lessened the impact of this issue on an individual scale.  While the trees still would be gone, we would not have gaping holes left in our landscapes had we taken diversity into consideration.

Here in the United States we have started following in the steps of the Europeans by trying to bring back the native biodiversity to our cities, businesses, parks and homes for the health of our environment.  Many homeowners and businesses are now requesting diverse native plantings and a reduction in chemical usage on their properties in an effort to increase biodiversity.  Here at American Landscape, our job is to find the balance between creating and managing a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape while looking for ways to incorporate more ecologically friendly plants and materials amongst a wide range of client needs and desires.

Advances in Design Software and Technology

3_D Designs

Technology in landscaping, as within every other industry, is rapidly growing.  Over the years, we’ve developed the capability to present designs in 3-D to help the client envision the outcome of the project. This tool not only helps the client get a realistic glimpse of how the finished product will appear – they can also see how it will change from day to night, as well as through the seasons, or even as it matures.

It also helps fine tune the estimating of hardscapes such as walls, patios and firepits.  Seeing your landscape lighting at night or easily adding or removing a feature to a design with ease is a great value.  We’re all accustomed to video games and computer imagery and now it’s been brought to the landscape industry.

AI Technology

As we all know, AI has jumped into our lives.  There are already options available for the landscape industry but the user must be accountable for knowing if the AI is creating designs that actually work.  With AI we have jumped one step forward from the designer to creating a base plan, with AI and 3-D software turning the plan into an image.  The outstanding drawback currently with AI is that the AI is only as good as the information it is fed.  Horticulture and design contain a lot of nuances that AI is still working towards understanding.  Without an experienced professional monitoring the outcome the results could be less than hoped for.   As Jill Odom writes in her article for the NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals):

 “One of the main concerns in adopting AI is reduced quality and premature overdependence.  While using AI could seem like a way to cut costs, brand voice and marketing efficacy can suffer without quality control and human expert input.”  

AI, as it is pointed out, is only as good as the person using it. (Source:  NALP Website “The Edge:  Exploring Uses for AI-Generated Content in the Landscape Industry.  May 5, 2023)We are watching this exciting technology closely and looking forward to the advances it brings across the green industry!

Fostering Vocational Growth in the Green Industry

In many areas around the world, the landscape industry is growing faster than the workforce.  From reforestation professionals to architects redesigning city green spaces to the men and women who maintain our sporting fields, to landscape professionals transforming back yards into living spaces, the green industry is booming.  These people are all driven by a passion for some aspect of the job—be it horticulture, design, or even working with your hands.  It is truly an industry that beautifies and makes the world a better place.  Inspiring more students to consider the green industry as a lifelong vocation is something that needs to be looked it.  Across the US there is a shift towards encouraging people to enter the trades as a career.  Many people think landscaping is about lawnmowers and planting flowers, but skilled workers are needed.  We need men and women who want to work with their hands AND use their brains to create and renovate.  Skill and knowledge are required for all aspects of the industry.  The great thing is you can be trained on the job for many positions and work your way up through the ranks.  There are also positions that require higher education and degrees, but our love of the industry brings us together — mechanics, managers, purchasers, billing professionals and HR personnel are all needed as well as horticultural technicians, skilled laborers and people just starting out and wanting to learn.

Our Approach

At American Landscape the needs of our clients are forefront to how we approach the current global trends.  We are educating ourselves and our clients on ways to bring these trends into practice in our community.  The younger people entering the industry are keeping us technologically savvy and bring new ideas and products to the table and our seasoned employees bring years of experience and learning.  If you added up years of experience, just in our sales office alone, we have over 300 combined years of experience and education in the green industry—all with different strengths and specialties.  Our entire team utilizes the collective and unique experiences of the whole to solve tough problems and continuously move forward in an effort to adapt to a changing world.

If you are looking for help in navigating these global trends and how they affect your plans for landscaping your property, reach out to us today.

Fall Landscaping Checklist

Fall isn’t just about pumpkin lattes and cozy sweaters; it’s the pivotal time to prep your landscape for the colder months ahead and set the stage for a lush spring comeback. From tending to fallen leaves to planting springtime bulbs, the change in season offers a delightful array of landscaping tasks that not only enhance the beauty of our outdoor spaces but also promise a bountiful resurgence come spring. We’re highlighting the essential fall landscaping chores that everyone should have on their checklist.

Flowers

  • Dividing Perennials
    Divide & transplant perennials (while ground temperatures are still warm). Cut the tops and stems down to a few inches above the crown at the base of each plant. Once you’re done, make sure you rake the beds and dispose of dead plant material so your garden still looks fresh during the winter months.

Note: leaving a few inches of plant material and mulching above the crown is better for the plants. If any critters decide to nibble over the winter, they’ll eat the few inches above the crown instead of eating the crown and killing the plant.

  • Plant fall bulbs (before the ground freezes). When you plant your bulbs, unless the label says differently, plant the bigger bulbs 8” deep and the smaller bulbs at 5”. Place the bulb in the hole with the roots facing down. Once planted, cover the hole with soil but don’t pack it. Water it once.

RELATED: How to Plant Fall Bulbs

  • Clear leaves from flower beds
  • Treat perennial weeds with herbicide. Spray perennial weeds (bindweed, creeping Jenny, clover, etc.) before the first freeze to allow the weeds to take in the herbicide and prevent a weedy garden in spring.

Lawn

  • Aerate your lawn – fall is the best time
  • Fertilize your lawn. Apply now to ensure it looks its best come warmer weather.
  • Clear leaves from lawn. Mulching the leaves helps return nutrients to the soil. If that’s not an option for you, raking the leaves and keeping your lawn clear of debris can prevent your lawn from being smothered and stunting new grass growth.

RELATED: Comprehensive Lawn Care

Trees/Shrubs

  • Protect Trees and Shrubs
    Continue watering trees and shrubs until first frost
  • Protect your trees & shrubs. Wrap trees up to the lower branches using hardware cloth or tree wrap to prevent damage from deer rubbing. Cage small trees and shrubs in hardware cloth to prevent rabbit/rodent damage. Be sure to bury the cloth 2-3” beneath the surface.
  • Do NOT prune evergreens until spring
  • Remove leaves from under diseased plants and trees. If your tree/shrub had a disease issue, such as apple scab, powdery mildew, tar spot, etc., disposing of the diseased leaves will help prevent a recurrence next year.

Note: Do not compost diseased leaves.

  • Prevention is best, so consider getting on a spray program
  • Fertilize your trees and shrubs. Fertilizing in fall encourages root growth by restoring nutrients to the soil and allows for lush, healthy growth and flowering the following season.

If the list above feels daunting, feel free to reach out and schedule fall clean up services from the pros at American Landscape.

 

Drought-Tolerant Plants: Conserving Water and Beautifying Landscapes

Drought-tolerant plants help beautify your landscape and conserve water, especially during the periods of blistering heat and water scarcity we sometimes endure in the Midwest. Drought-tolerant plants not only save on water usage but also reduce maintenance, providing both environmental and practical benefits. Here, we explore some prominent drought-tolerant plants that not only survive but thrive when water is scarce.

1. Sedum 

Drought tolerant plant: Sedum

Sedums are versatile succulents that can be found in many shapes and sizes. Their fleshy leaves store water, allowing them to survive prolonged dry spells. They’re also known for their star-shaped flowers that come in hues ranging from white to pink to red. Sedums are incredibly low-maintenance, require well-drained soil, and enjoy full sun.

2. Yarrow 

Drought tolerant plants: Yarrow

Yarrow, with its fern-like foliage and vibrant flower heads, is not only a magnet for pollinators but also a resilient option for dry gardens.

Its deep roots help it access moisture far beneath the surface. Yarrow thrives in full sun and can withstand poor, dry soils.

3. Yucca

Drought tolerant plants: Yucca

Yucca’s architectural appearance, characterized by its sword-like leaves and tall spires of bell-shaped flowers, makes it a standout in any landscape.

Native to arid regions, yuccas have adapted to thrive in dry conditions, making them excellent candidates for water-wise gardens.

 

4. Alliums

Drought tolerant plants: Allium

These ornamental onions are known for their striking spherical blooms.

Alliums have bulbs, which means they naturally store water for drier times. These plants prefer full sun and can tolerate poor, dry soil.

 

5. Native Grasses

Drought tolerant plants: Native Grasses

Grasses native to a particular region have evolved over time to withstand the local climate, making them an excellent choice for drought tolerance.

Examples of native grasses that do well in our region include sedge, Indian grass, and northern sea oats. They add movement and a natural aesthetic to landscapes.

 

6. Coneflowers 

Drought tolerant plants: Coneflower

With their daisy-like appearance and pink, purple, or white petals, coneflowers are not only beautiful but also resilient.

Their deep taproots pull up water from within the soil, allowing them to thrive even in dry conditions.

 

7. Russian Sage 

Drought tolerant plants: Russian Sage

Russian sage, with its silver foliage and lavender-blue flowers, is not only aromatic but also highly drought-tolerant.

It’s a favorite for many gardeners due to its ability to attract pollinators while withstanding dry, hot conditions.

 

8. Day Lilies 

Drought tolerant plants: day lilies

Day lilies, known for their vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers, are surprisingly hardy and can tolerate a variety of conditions, including drought. Their extensive root system allows them to access and store water efficiently.

Drought-tolerant plants are becoming increasingly significant in today’s changing climate. By incorporating these plants into your gardens, you will not only create a beautiful landscape but also do your part in water conservation. Moreover, these plants often attract local wildlife and pollinators, promoting biodiversity. As with all gardening endeavors, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of each plant and provide the best conditions for them to flourish.

If you need help designing a garden that flourishes throughout the growing season, no matter the rainfall, get in touch today. We have expert designers who can guide you towards low-maintenance, high-impact plants perfect for your landscape.