Curb appeal is among a home’s most important assets, offering the best return on investment for your landscaping dollars. The key to curb appeal is good design, but what works for one residence won’t do for another. The best features for your garden depend on your home’s style, size, and topography. Well-designed gardens not only enhance your home’s value but disguise any shortcomings.

While it’s essential for landscaping to be customized to the character of each home, certain features tend to perform well, regardless of the property. These tips reflect some of the best advice from leading Canadian landscape designers.

Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Plants

Everyone loves a beautiful garden, but many people don’t desire putting in the work required to maintain it. They also don’t want to hire someone to do the job. That means the best value is for gardens that look great, but don’t require much work to maintain. Low maintenance gardens consist of native plants—which require little in the way of pruning or fertilizing—and evergreens. Add some attractive ground cover, and the result is an appealing garden that needs little care.

Well-Kept Trees

Trees do more than enhance home value—they enhance life value. Researchers have found that having 10 additional trees on a block offers “self-reported health benefits.” While healthy, well-kept trees are the crown jewels of the garden. However, dying or dangerous-looking trees can jeopardize a sale. Contact an arbourist immediately if you notice any issues with an existing large tree.

Another tip: Placing a bench under a tree is a simple task, but it can enhance your home’s value. It inspires potential homeowners to imagine themselves as part of the landscape.

Consistent Style

Classic homes generally sell more quickly than those with unconventional architecture, and the same holds true for gardens. The garden’s style should match that of the home, or at least appear neutral. A Victorian home with a concrete walkway looks odd, as does a modern dwelling sporting a cottage garden. When in doubt, go for understated but elegant gardens. They never go out of style, whether you put the house on the market in a few years or wait decades.

High-Quality Hardscaping

An inviting walkway and driveway add to the ambience of the property. They’re part of your garden’s hardscaping, or its man-made elements. Materials including stone, pavers, tile, concrete, brick, and granite constitute much of hardscaping. Wooden decks are also considered hardscaping. Don’t neglect to add good lighting to complement your hardscaping. That’s especially crucial for patios or decks, which act as an extension of the home in good weather. Low level LED or solar lights provide adequate but subtle illumination.

Seasonal Gardens

Your garden will look its best in the height of spring or summer. If the house is on the market during the fall and winter, make sure there are some seasonal design elements so the landscape still looks attractive. Evergreens are an obvious bet for winter, and install shrubbery with bright red or orange leaves for fall. Plant bulbs for spring and summer colour. Once planted, daffodils, tulips, lilies, irises and the like require little maintenance and provide attractive garden accents.

A Well-Maintained Lawn

Last but far from least is the lawn, which must appear green and lush. Whether you mow it yourself or hire a lawn care service, make sure it is edged. Not only does edging make the lawn look neater, it adds to a low-maintenance vibe. A buyer should never look at a lawn and garden and think they will need to spend plenty of time weeding.

By creating first-rate curb appeal and a pleasant landscape, you’ve made good progress on enhancing your home’s value. 

Looking for more inspiration? View listings of homes with amazing gardens in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Québec.

This article was originally published in March 7, 2017 and has been updated on June 20, 2024. 

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