Homeowner's Guide To Landscaping and Gardening

Landscaping and gardening do more than just improve the way your home looks – they can also dramatically impact the house’s overall value. Simply pruning and polishing your existing foliage can make a world of difference in terms of curb appeal. If you really want to ramp up the aesthetic and monetary value of your home, you can give your property a landscape design makeover. Whether you want to keep it simple and easy or give your yard a complete overhaul, you'll find lots of helpful and trustworthy information through the links in this article.
 
New Project Tips and Tricks
 
Where to start? What to plant? Can I do it all myself? These are some of the questions you'll probably have when you first start thinking about upgrading your outdoor spaces. Use the articles and sites below to answer these questions and to help guide you through the decisions you'll need to make about how you want to showcase your property.
 
Do-it-Yourself Landscaping – This Better Homes and Gardens article goes through all the basics of planning and executing your own home landscaping projects. There are lots of great images to accompany the articles, too.
 
10 Tips for Hiring a Landscaping Professional  – This article provides lots of helpful tips for homeowners who plan to bring in a landscape contractor. Reading this before hiring someone may help you to avoid some common pitfalls.

Edible Landscaping Design – Boost the appeal of your property by creating a landscape design that's not only beautiful, but also includes mostly edible plants. This blog is organized and well-maintained, and features lots of ideas, advice, and guidelines for creating your own edible landscape elements.
 
National Gardening Association – The NGA site is full of everything about gardening. It's worth a visit to check out the how-to articles, tips and tricks, friendly user forums, and all of the other free resources they offer.
 
Inspiration for the Home Landscaper
 
There's nothing like seeing amazing before and after pictures of successful landscape redesigns to get you excited to start on your own. The blogs and pages in the following section all provide plenty of inspirational eye-candy – along with helpful guides and articles – to kick start your creativity and give you some ideas about what to do with your own property.
 
Sunset Magazine's Landscaping Design Ideas – Sunset Magazine offers a vast collection of DIY landscape project ideas complete with pictures and step-by-step instructions – all for free.
 
Landscape Design Ideas – Check out this page filled with links to helpful how-to articles from the DIY Network. These guides are informative and easy-to-follow – and they include lots of high quality photos!
 
Beautiful Backyards by HGTV – If you're still looking for inspiration, try browsing through this collection of articles from HGTV. You'll find ideas for yard and garden projects, before and after photos, and lots more resources for the novice landscaper.
 
GardenDesign.com – Garden Design is a website about all things gardening and landscaping. This is a really good site to bookmark for continued inspiration as you plan and implement your own landscaping projects.
 
Conservation Landscaping
 
More and more, homeowners are embracing landscaping practices that reduce water consumption. Gone are the days when a sprawling lawn was a must in order to have a nicely landscaped home. Entire front yards are being replaced with area-native and water-wise plants – and they look just as beautiful as traditional yards. Even if you aren't ready to forego the grass entirely, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate more eco-friendly design principles into your landscaping.
 
What Is Xeriscaping? – Here you'll find a full explanation of the origins and attributes of xeriscaping from UNLV's Facilities Management and Planning department. This is a great place to start if you find yourself asking, “xeri-what?”
 
Water Efficient Landscaping – A PDF document (which you can read without downloading) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlining the ways you can create a more water-wise landscape design for your home.
 
How to Landscape to Save Water – The Arbor Day Foundation provides this resource page filled with helpful links for homeowners who want to practice water-saving landscaping. There's also region-specific planting guides to help you decide what kinds of trees and shrubs will do best where you live.
 
Photos of Xeriscaping Designs – Follow this link and scroll through the pictures for lots of ideas and inspiration in xeriscaping. You'll see that a water-saving redesign can be beautiful – and customized to fit your personal taste.
 
NESCI Sustainable Landscaping Resources – This page is full of excellent resources for anyone interested in reducing water consumption and practicing ecologically sustainable landscaping. Though the organization serves the Northeastern United States and the Caribbean Islands, you'll find plenty of relevant and helpful information no matter where you live.
 
More Helpful Horticulture Information
 
If you're still in need of some well-researched answers regarding topics like how to assess the ways landscaping can affect your property value to figuring out what will grow in your area, the sites and pages in this section are all great resources for the home horticulturist.
 
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones – Use the Department of Agriculture's Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help you figure out what will grow where you live and when you should plant it.
 
Companion Planting Guide – Companion plants are those that serve to benefit one another when planted in close proximity. Use this simple guide to learn which plants work well together – and which don't. There's also a sidebar with natural insect repellant information.
 
How Landscaping Affects Property Values – This article has some interesting information about how appraisers look at certain landscaping features and how they can affect the market value of your home.
 
Landscaping: A Good Investment – From home improvement guru Bob Vila's site, this article is an excellent and straightforward read about the important role landscaping plays in the appearance and value of your home. There are also some great guidelines to follow when you begin your own lawn and garden projects.
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