Upgrading your backyard landscaping can bring new life to your property. In certain cases, it can even raise the value of your home.

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You want your backyard to become an enjoyable, relaxing space that you could potentially use to entertain guests. Choosing the right upgrades can ensure that your property looks great, while also raising the value of your home. When you decide to upgrade your backyard, the first step is to create a plan for your landscaping project.

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Backyard landscaping projects require time and planning to be successful. If you want to increase the odds that your project will be successful, you need to start by finding a professional landscaping company.

Also, make sure that the upgrades work well with the style of your home. Make sure that any additions that you make to your home seem balanced. If you are unsure if the upgrade will add or detract from your home’s value, talk with a real estate agent first.

Here are the steps to developing a plan for a successful backyard landscaping upgrade.

Select Plants for Year-Round Yard Appeal

Selecting plants is the most important step of a landscaping job because you want to make sure that you select plants that will be viable in your location, look aesthetically pleasing and have a maintenance schedule that works for you.

Before buying a single plant,” says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, horticulture director at Austin’s Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, “decide what your goals are for your landscape. Are you trying to screen for privacy, or enhance the outside? How does what you’ve planned make the (structure) landscape look more appealing? How much time weeding, watering and trimming will be required to maintain it to your standards? Are you looking to mitigate a problem, such as erosion or increasing the shade around the building to cut your utility costs?”

As you select plants, you should also check to make sure that each species has the ability to thrive in your local climate. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and Canadian Gardening can give you a clear idea of which plants will work well for your landscaping plants. To improve your odds of success, try to opt for plants that are native to your area. By doing this, you will minimize concerns about how the daily weather changes might impact your plants. In addition, you can also keep your maintenance costs down with regard to upkeep and lower the risk of having to replace plants that have failed to thrive.

Add Trees

Adding trees to your backyard is an excellent way to add value to your property. Trees are generally considered to be an upgrade that improves the value of a home. However, it is important for you to evaluate the type of trees that you install on your property because some trees may actually hurt the value of your home.

Fruit trees are generally not recommended as a landscaping upgrade because of the mess that comes along with the care of such trees. In addition to raking leaves, fruit trees typically require regular pruning to remove the fruit. If you don’t get to the fruit in time, you may be left with a yard full of rotting fruit that can attract animals and other pests.

If you are going to install trees on your property, you should make sure that they are also healthy and young. The size of a tree typically does not indicate how healthy or young it is. If a tree is shorter than it should be for its age, this is a sign that the growth has been restricted and it should not be planted on your property. Choose the location of the trees carefully so that you can avoid having the roots make their way towards the home or outdoor pathways. Tree roots can do plenty of damage to a home over time and can be costly to remove.

Skip the Concrete

Contrary to popular belief, adding a backyard patio will not add to the value of a home if you have opted to add one in that is not on trend with what buyers are looking for. A backyard patio made with concrete is something that homebuyers may see as an eyesore, especially if it is not typical of other homes in your area. If you want to create a walkway or area for you to enjoy your garden, consider adding stones to create a pathway or upgrade to concrete stamping.

You should also make sure that the patio area does not take up the majority of the backyard. While you may see it as a place to relax, a homebuyer might see it as a slab of concrete that is simply keeping him from enjoying the backyard. It is even worse if the addition looks out-of-place for the style of home.

Add Lighting

Adding lighting to your home is an essential backyard landscaping tip that can really improve the value of your home. Judith Patriski, an appraiser and owner of Quad Realty Co., says that spending money to install outdoor lighting can yield a 50% return for upper-bracket homes. “When you pull into a driveway and see a gorgeous home, you’re going to pay more for it,” says Patriski. “In all price ranges, lighting for security is important.” she adds.

When it comes to outdoor lighting, you should always make sure that it is aesthetically pleasing. You can do this by choosing lights that offer a range of colors rather than warm white light to show off the best features of the home. Choose the placement carefully and use natural elements such as trees to create a dramatic look for your home. You should also invest in energy-saving lighting options, perhaps powered by solar-power, to cut energy costs for your home. A well-designed outdoor lighting system is a plus to most buyers that you can highlight as a bonus when it is time to sell.