Well, growing up in NYC…I was taking the subway by the time I was 12. The closest I got to nature on a regular basis was Central Park.
I learned early-on how to do things for myself but one thing I knew nothing about was greenery, much less how to keep a plant alive! So, when I was considering the purchase of my home in Westchester, I looked at the giant rock wall and only thought to myself, will my kids climb up these rocks and fall to their early deaths?!? The only thing that occurred to me was to get some helmets, not the effort or money that it might take to do something…ANYTHING! Two years later, my kids are still alive and my scraggly, looking-like-a-haunted-house, rock wall remained unchanged, until one week ago!
It has been overwhelming. With over 10,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space, it required a logical digression of thoughts…called, planning. I will reveal how unwittingly and yet, happily, my husband and I made the impromptu decision to clear the land…! [Look for my first video in my series, “One Minute Mistakes”.] However thoughtless (reckless?) our impulsive excitement may have been, starting was the hardest part!
When you approach your curb-side appeal and or landscaping, think about the time you’ll be spending to maintain it. Is that going to be your new hobby? Great! But, if not, are you going to hire someone? Or, can you create a beautiful look without breaking the bank…or your schedule?
Here are 5 suggestions from what I’ve learned so far:
1. Perennials, since they return ‘forever’, are considered a capital improvement and therefore are tax deductible! If your landscaping endeavors overlap into structure and or stone, masonry work is also a capital improvement.
2. Ground cover is a great alternative for a no-maintenance lawn or great for a sloping hill. Also, a lot of people do mulch, which is fine, but part of my sloping hill is a little bit flat and we don’t have a huge backyard. So I wanted something easy on the feet that my kids could play on in that section.
3. Figure out what zone you are in and then what types of plants are best for your zone area. Check it here. Are you on board with the kind of care it will need? It’s worth five minutes to consider this or you could be investing in either a contract with a landscape maintenance company or a lawn mower and your time.
4. Order bulk seeds online but buy plants locally. This way, you can see the plants in person and support local business. You can be confident they will do well because they are already growing. As you can tell, my standards have improved drastically from dead weeds to live plants!!
Plan to get your seeds in the ground early but after last frost. Order twice as much as you think you need. Then you won’t be wasting your time and money and your seeds might actually grow – if they have enough light and water.
5. Curb appeal adds value and marketability period! The NAR (National Associations of Realtors) calculated that landscaping can add an additional 12% to the value of your home!
I’ll definitely share when my landscape has that certain Je ne sais quoi that I’m seeking. But, for now, I started what originally seemed like the unknown, insurmountable and daunting task of creating something easy on the eyes. Now that Ive been working out here, I’ve actually found the rock wall to be kind of forgiving and even somewhat ‘user friendly’!