Landscaping your home--often a challenging undertaking--has several rewards. Ideally, landscaping adds beauty to your home with the creative use of plants, color, texture and hardscape elements. A well-landscaped yard can increase the value of your home--financially and aesthetically.
The use of hardscape features brings attention to specific elements in your landscape and creates outdoor living areas. A stone, brick or tile patio gives you an ideal seating area for relaxing and entertaining. Use of potted plants adds color and life to the patio. You can aim for a variety of leaf textures and flower colors, as well as different planter sizes. A trellis, fence or hedge provides privacy. You can install a fire pit, grill or outdoor kitchen for cooking in the summer.
A wildlife habitat filled with native plants supports a healthy ecosystem and combats invasive species. The National Wildlife Federation recommends specific components for a habitat area: a source of food, water, shelter and cover. For the water feature, you can install a small pond. Keep the water clean with a filter and pump rated for the pond size. Plants and shrubs surrounding the pond provide shelter and hiding places for small animals. Plants to use include wild ginger (Asarum canadensis), high bush cranberry (Vibernum trilobum), blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) and Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum). You can attract birds to your landscaped area by adding feeders, houses and nesting materials.
Perennials, shrubs and small trees placed in beds bring attention to architectural features of the house. Frame the entrance to the home or porch with tall, narrow evergreens such as skyrocket juniper (Juniperus scopulorum). Climbing rose and clematis varieties trained up trellises on the corners of the house or porch soften hard edges. Place colorful blooming shrubs under windows. Choices include varieties of hydrangeas, rhododendrons and hibiscus. Add color to all seasons with perennials. Lavender-lined walkways add a distinct perfume and purple-blue flowers atop gray foliage. Hosta and heuchera varieties come in many sizes and hues. For shaded front beds, choose the yellow and light greens to brighten the area. Darker shades, like purple and blue, contrast wonderfully with flowering perennials.