4 Cheap Landscaping Projects to Improve the Value of Your Home
If your home dropped in value as a result of the latest housing market collapse, you're not alone. The average home value plummeted to $165,000 last year from a high of $270,000 in 2006. Though this is certainly not good news for current homeowners, as long as you don't need to move and can afford your payments, it's not the end of the world. Still, you can reduce the sting of the slumping economy and increase your home's value with various home improvement ideas. One of the most affordable ways to do that is to focus on the surrounding property. Furthermore, improving the outward appearance of your home features the additional advantage of increasing its curb appeal when you do decide to sell. Here are four relatively simple landscaping chores to consider:
- Expand the Backyard Patio If your home has a tiny back patio, increase its size. The process is simple: Dig up the grass in the area you would like to expand the patio into, cover the area with a thin tarp (so weeds won't grow through), and install 12" x 12" concrete pavers, which can be purchased from your local home improvement store. Pavers are very reasonably priced, so your only significant investment is time and a little sweat. Level the ground as much as possible prior to laying down the tarp, and push the pavers tightly into place.
- Resurface the Blacktop Driveway An old, cracked blacktop driveway is truly an eyesore, especially if weeds are pushing through. But repairing it isn't as hard as you might think. Check the weather report beforehand, as you need a few days of dry weather to complete the job. Next, remove all the weeds growing through, and fill all the cracks with blacktop filler. Be sure to apply the filler generously, as it tends to settle over time. Next, sweep your driveway thoroughly to remove all dust and debris, and clean any gas and oil stains as best you can with a degreaser. Pour a thin layer of driveway sealer across the top of the driveway, and smooth it out with an industrial-strength squeegee. Just be careful around the edges of the driveway; if you're concerned about overspill, line the driveway with piece of 2" x 4" lumber to protect your yard. Don't forget to cordon off your driveway to keep visitors and neighbors from driving and walking on it - and allow it to dry for at least 48 hours.
- Install Walkways Another way to spruce up your yard is to install walkways. No concrete pouring is necessary - just measure your walkway and purchase 12" x 12" pavers to be placed approximately 30 inches apart along the length of it. Dig shallow squares where you'd like to place the pavers, making sure to dig holes deep enough so that the pavers settle in slightly below the the level of your yard. If you dig the holes too shallow, you may find that the pavers rise and protrude slightly, creating unsightly obstacles.
- Plant Flowerbeds One of the easiest home staging tips is to plant a flowerbed. You could run a flowerbed across the side of your home, along either side of your front walkway, or around a tree in the front yard. If weeds are present in the area, first spray them with weed killer or pull them out. If you use a weed killer, let the area sit for two hours before proceeding. Next, dig your flowerbed to a depth of approximately six inches. Mix the removed soil with equal amounts of planting mix and compost, and place this mixture into the bed. Now, you're ready to plant. Make sure the flowers are spaced evenly. If you like, add fertilizer or weed preventer.
Final Thoughts When it comes to any home landscaping project, proper maintenance is key. Nothing looks worse than a flowerbed overgrown with weeds, or a patio with grass growing through it. Take the time to do these projects correctly, and properly care for them once completed. Aside from the pride you can take in your attractive surroundings, you're also likely to reap the benefits when you sell your home. What other simple landscaping projects can you think of to improve the value of your home?
David Bakke is a homeowner in Atlanta who enjoys taking part in DIY home improvement projects. He writes about money saving tips, real estate, and more on Money Crashers Personal Finance.