One way we added value to our first home was with landscaping improvements. This is especially valuable with smaller homes and locations where you spend a lot of time outside. Including the word “landscaping” to a home listing can add 2.7 percent more to the sale price. With a $300,000 home, that’s a gain of $8,100, according to Zillow.
This home is located in Denver, which has great weather. We immediately saw the potential to add more living space outdoors and improve the curb appeal. With a lot of sweat equity and creative projects, we added so much charm to the front and back of this home. Today I am going to share some of the landscaping projects we tackled that collectively added more value to our home.
How We Added Value to Our Home with Landscaping Updates
Quick disclaimer – most of these photos were taken at the end of a dry and hot summer, so our grass was not looking its best. We found our second home unexpectedly and had to list this house within 5 days. This left little time to treat the dying grass.
1 | Remove Ivy & Clean Flower Beds
When we first bought the house, it felt very dark and heavy. The ivy against the dark brick of the house seemed to be swallowing half of the house. If not handled properly, ivy can be really bad for a house. It was ruining the mortar between the bricks and had started to creep under the fascia of the house.
Here is the front elevation of the house when we first bought it.
Here is the front elevation when we sold the house two years later. Potential buyers no longer had to worry about the damage that unruly ivy had done to the brick and wood trim of the house.
The only price for this project was sweat equity. We pulled down the ivy attached to the brick and cleaned up the flower beds around the house. A fresh layer of mulch gave the flower beds a finished look.
We added a pop of color to the front door and created an inviting seating area on the porch. To liven up the space, we added fresh flowers and updated the address plaque. A welcoming front entrance goes a long way when attracting potential buyers to your home.
2 | Paint the Fence White
The weathered picket fence gave the look of an abandoned old house. The unruly front garden beds didn’t help either. Below is a progress shot of when we started painting the fence white and the ivy had just been removed.
Who doesn’t love a white picket fence?! It really makes the landscaping in the front yard pop. This project was pretty time-consuming but absolutely worth it to me. I would come home from work in the evenings and paint the fence for a few hours a day. It took a few weeks to complete this paint project and transformed the exterior of our home
3 | Define the Flower Beds
The front yard has a sloped flower bed in front of the picket fence that was overgrown and messy (see the before image above). The first thing we did was clear out as much as we could in the bed. Next, I created a sort of rock garden with the rocks already in the flower bed and peppered a few plants throughout. We planted boxwood and mums in the front row of the sloped garden bed to create harmony and structure.
The flower beds in the front needed to be more defined. On one side of the yard, the flower beds were undefined and you couldn’t tell what was a plant and what was a weed.
On the inside of the fence, we defined a clear edge for the flower bed. We decided on a more fluid flower bed design and planted perennials throughout. The flower bed layout is somewhat structured with repeating plants including hosta, boxwood, and arborvitae. Fresh sod and mulch give the landscaping that finished look.
On the other side of the front yard, there was just mulch and a pink, chain-linked fence.
We followed a similar pattern on this side of the walkway with the flower bed design.
Along the pink chain-linked fence, we planted multiple arborvitaes for camouflage. This type of fencing can be a turnoff for potential buyers, so adding a natural camouflage adds value when potential buyers look at the property.
4 | Clean Up the Backyard
The ivy on this garage in the backyard was INSANE!! While some ivy can disguise imperfections, this ivy was doing damage to the brick beneath it and had to go.
The garage may not be the most beautiful, but it is now structurally sound.
5 | Re-Grade the Backyard
When we first moved into the house, the backyard was sloped toward the house and causing drainage issues. We made the decision to tear off the old porch and build a brand new back porch for additional living space. This was the biggest project we tackled while living in this home. Before building the new deck, we had to build a retaining wall and regrade the backyard. A fresh layer of sod was laid over the regraded yard. To address any potential drainage issues, we installed a french drain against the retaining wall.
6 | Create a Dog Potty Area
With the new sod installed, we were not giong to ruin it with dog pee! The lawns in Colorado take a beating anyway with the dry heat all summer long. The side yard was cleared out, so we decided to move the gravel to the back of the yard where the dogs could go potty. We installed a wooden fence to block the potty area from the rest of the yard. It worked pretty well and the dogs used that spot to go potty most of the time.
7 | Add Outdoor Living Space
Our big project for this home was to build the covered porch in our backyard. It truly added another living room to our house and absolutely added value to our home. The original porch had a low ceiling and lots of drainage issues.
We hired a contractor to build the overhang of the porch and Chris built the deck. Check out all of the details of this back deck renovation in the dedicated blog post!
Our property had a generous side yard and we made sure to utilize every square inch. We tore out the overgrowing weeds/trees and created an eating area.
The eating area included a flagstone patio and a fence to keep the dogs in the backyard. We tackled this project while pregnant with our first child and it was our first big DIY project as a couple.
This project sparked our love of home renovation and will always be one of my favorite home projects to date. Chris also built me the little rose garden for my first Mother’s Day, how lucky am I?
And here is a sweet family photo of us with our first babies, Lizzie and Lucy!
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