Not everyone can afford the cost of a complete landscape design and construction project. However, there are many high impact/low cost ways to improve and update and improve the appearance of your backyard or front yard residential landscape.  Our top five improvements are:

1.  Get rid of the garbage!

Almost everyone has a few or more distracting visual elements in sight. Most homeowners don’t even notice them anymore. I’m talking about the garbage cans and recycling bins in plain sight, the rusty swing set that your twenty-something kids don’t use anymore, the old tv antenna, the pile of brick that has been waiting to be made into an awesome patio for the last five years, etc.  While you as the homeowner can slide your eyes right past these objects;  they are often the first thing that visitors to your house see as they arrive.  So remove, hide or disguise these visual eyesores.

2.  Upgrade your site furniture.

I have to say that the stackable white plastic chairs and table do not improve the look of any patio or deck area.  There are many great looking, low cost seating and dining options available, especially during the spring months. Almost every hardware, home improvement, or big box store has a selection of outdoor furniture in a variety of styles and materials such as wood or aluminum or outdoor wicker.  The cost of a bistro table with two chairs, or a couple of wicker rockers is well worth the improvement in the ambiance of your patio, front porch or deck.  Along with this, replace those faded and mildewed cushions and pads with bright, bold new ones in a suitable outdoor fabric.

3.  Plant a Tree.

Pick an appropriate tree to emphasize a focal point, or hide a unattractive view, or screen your property from your neighbors.  Use an evergreen to provide a windbreak, or use a deciduous tree to provide shade and a cooling effect around a patio.  Buy the largest tree you can  afford and can move, to enjoy the effect now rather than years from now. Give your kid a tree to climb!

4.  Add Seasonal Interest with Urns and Planters.

Add two or more planters or urns in a highly visible area.  Make sure the style and scale of them is appropriate to that of your home.  Organize a spring display of pussywillows and spring bulbs, an overflowing abundance of summer blooms, an autumn display of colorful mums, kale and mini pumpkins, and finish off the year with a classic winter display with evergreen boughs and colored twigs.

5.  Add depth to your landscape with art and sculpture.

Sculpture and art in the garden add depth and interest, and bring your personality into the space.  In my garden I have a turned and painted newel post found in our backyard. It forms an exclamation point in the garden, surrounded by peach lilies and hardy geraniums.  I also have grandpa’s old wheelbarrow sitting in a garden bed, painted to match the house,  and a couple of curved pieces of rock that face each other in the vegetable garden.  Architectural salvage, basement treasures, found objects, all can add lots of interest to a landscape at a low cost.