A high-end landscape company will charge a minimum of $5,000 to rework a typical small suburban front yard. However if you can deal with a shovel, hose, and wheelbarrow, you’ve got the physical abilities to replace overgrown or boring greenery with fresh plants, improving curb appeal and property value.
The tricky component is getting the design correct; it is not as easy as placing a couple of plants in the ground.
Here’s how you can achieve that upscale look on your own.
1. Broaden the beds A single-file row of plants across the foundation and the property lines looks basic at best. Widen the beds to four to six feet so there is space for much more flora — and to make the plants truly pop, use mulch that is the color of soil, says Tee Ray, owner of Bob Ray Co., Inc. That means the fine, dark, compost-like material that costs about 25% more than basic wood chips, or about $100 to $150. Do it every year.
2. Concentrate on foliage Replace oversize or unexciting plants with new shrubs and perennials organized two or three deep, with smaller plants placed in front of bigger ones and confirm the mature size listed on the label. Don’t get stuck on choosing the very best flowers. That is simply because blooms are short-lived; it is the foliage that you will see the majority of the time. Look for plants with red, purple, or multicolored leaves, as well as a number of textures, from fine light-green needles to broad dark-green fronds. Alternate shapes too, with, like a conical spruce close to a chunky hydrangea. You will spend $20 to $100 per plant, based on the type and size.
3. Accent the architecture Create a focal point using a dwarf tree or perhaps a big shrub. Do not just put it in the middle of the yard. Rather, place it in line with a structural element of the property, like a corner from the house, garage, or lot. Japanese maples ($100 to $400) and crepe myrtles ($30 to $50) are two great options that look appealing in all seasons.
4. Trim with technique When it comes to caring for the plants, throw away the electric clippers, which carve bushes into geometric shapes. That look is out of style. Unless you are trimming a hedge, always cut the branches to slightly varied lengths one by one utilizing a hand tool, like a lopper or pruner. You will get a much more natural, complementary look.