Home Ownership 101: 5 Landscaping Jobs You Can Do Yourself

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There’s nothing like driving up to a friend or colleague’s house for the first time, only to notice that their shrubs are pruned perfectly, and that their walkway is lined with flowers. Proper landscaping is beautiful and eye-catching, and if done right, it can significantly add to a home’s perceived value because it is usually the first thing that people see when they walk by, drive by, or tour your home. Not only does attractive landscaping sometimes attract buyers, but many home owners find that having beautiful landscaping can turn their yard into a haven from their busy lives.

Although you can always hire a landscaper, many landscaping projects can easily be done yourself, and often it can be more affordable. Whether you are hoping to pull buyers in so that you can sell your house, or you just want a more beautiful yard, here are five landscaping projects that you can do yourself.

1. Fix the mess

Sometimes people want to jump into a big landscaping project that they think will make their yard more beautiful, but if your yard is straggly or full of weeds, you need to tackle that problem first. Most buyers or visitors to your home will be turned off by too many obvious weeds, so get rid of those first. Also make sure that your grass is healthy and dense, which can actually prevent weeds from growing because it will block the sunlight that the weeds need to grow. In addition to growing healthy grass and eliminating weeds, make sure that any landscaping that already existed, is clean and pleasant to look at. This means that if your stone walkway is being overrun by tree roots or glaring weeds, you need to fix that problem. Even the most beautiful landscaping won’t fully mask projects that need your attention.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

2. Make a path

Speaking of stone walkways, designing a pretty and clean stone walkway through your hard (or a portion of it) is a fairly simply way to add design and beauty to your yard. According to the diy network, you first need to come up with a design, and make sure that the stone you choose will compliment your hard and home (based on the climate you live in, the function of the walkway, and the style of your home.) Then you will need to measure, and order the materials. It’s worth looking in your local newspaper too, as sometimes people redo or remove stones and give them away for free.

You will then need to make space and prep the ground for the stones, which will probably require a garden towel or spade. Then of course you will need to set the stones. Depending on the condition of your yard, and the stones you are able to find or purchase, this project could take a few hours, or possibly, a few days. This project can benefit the front as well as the back of your yard.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Set boundaries

Sometimes property boundaries are more loosely agreed upon than they are actually defined. If you would prefer to have a clear boundary between your house and your neighbors’, this can be a relatively easy project to undertake. Doing so can increase your privacy, which will be an added bonus for you, and potentially an incentive for buyers to take a second look at your yard when they come through, if you are trying to sell your house.

One option is to consider a privacy fence, but that can be very expensive. Shrubs are a cheaper and easier idea, and you can decide on the height. Small shrubs will make your property line more distinct, but provide less privacy. Hedges or tall grasses are another idea. Usually a project like this will be relatively small, and will mostly involve choosing, purchasing, and then planting the chosen border plant. Make sure you talk to your neighbor before you begin.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Add some charm with a patio or deck

Many people really enjoy having a patio or deck in their yard, and although this is a big project, it is one you can possibly do yourself. The cost of the deck will vary depending on the size and materials, from $500, up to $1,500 or more, but you will save money by avoiding contractor fees if you do it yourself. Building a deck isn’t easy, but it can be done, and many websites offer help and tutorials, like this one from This Old House. You also can consider a concrete patio.

If you already have a patio or deck, there are many ways you can beautify it. The most obvious way is a new paint job for your deck, or filling in any cracks on your patio. However, adding flower pots or privacy hedges, or even planting a flower boundary surrounding the patio, can add charm.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Remember the flowers

If you bought a house with a completely blank slate for a yard, or a home that includes very little flowers, you should consider adding some color. Flowers easily improve the look of the front or back yard if taken care of and maintained, and they can be especially powerful in the front yard. Consider framing the walkway or driveway to your house, planting around the mail box, or just adding handing flower pots or flower boxes under windows if you have limited time, budget, or you don’t have a lot of outdoor space. Some beautiful and low-maintenance flowers you can consider include annuals (including Petunias, Zinnias, and Marigolds.) There are many other flowers that you can consider, but be sure that you have enough sun (or shade) in your yard to grow each kind you pick.

There are many other landscaping projects you can take on yourself. Although a deck can get expensive and be a big project, defining your property line won’t be as big of a project. First, decide how much time and how much of a budget you have, then you can determine which project you want to tackle. Water fountains or water features are another popular choice, and raised flower beds are another idea.

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