Does your garden add value to your home? Does a dilapidated landscape hurt the value of your home? Recently, when my house was appraised I asked if my garden affected the value of my property. The appraiser explained that he accesses the worth of landscaping by comparing it to the neighborhood average: the margin above the average is where landscaping becomes equity. Next, he pointed out the degree to which your landscaping exceeds the average is when the value becomes measurable. I was surprised to find that my garden added more than twenty thousand dollars to the value of my home. This was confirmed when Zillow http://www.zillow.com/ updated its assessment of my property. I can see, by comparison, my property has also increased in value in relation to my neighbors with no landscape upgrades.
I am happy to know this as a landscape designer, avid gardener and homeowner. Does it influence my own decisions regarding my garden? Not really. But, it is good to know that, with planning; there is really no way to go wrong. That is my kind of investment!
Container gardening is for everyone, whether you have a small balcony or extensive landscape. Large pots, small pots – they all add to any homes’ outdoor decor. Continue reading
The benefit of making simple landscape updates is that, even if you decide not to sell your home, you benefit from the results in the meantime. Not long ago, I placed a large, sculptural potted evergreen, prominently in my front yard. Whether or not its beauty contributes to a higher selling price for my home, it creates great curb appeal and I, and my neighbors and guests, enjoy it every day.
So, what kinds of landscape upgrades can make your entire home, more appealing?
- Start with the basics: remove overgrown shrubs and trees. These can make your lot look smaller than it is and dwarf your house or hide desirable views. Place colorful pots of flowering annuals or evergreens near the front door, ensuring that your home feels welcoming.
- Big ticket items like ponds and waterfalls are not safe bets for adding value to a home, but if you love them they are worth the investment and the quality of life. So put those in when you buy! However, people always enjoy the sound of gently running water, so a small fountain can add a lot of ambiance without a much cost.
- When fixing up your outdoor areas, don’t just consider how the garden looks from a curb appeal perspective, but also how the layout appeals to someone standing inside looking out. Decide on captivating garden vignettes, such as clusters of colorful potted plants and arrange them within the windows line of sight. Attractive views always distract from any negatives aspects you might want to play down.
- Short on ideas, time, and money? Get help. A landscape designer familiar with garden staging, can help you create a prioritized list of options that will increase the overall appeal of your home and give you pointers for getting the biggest return on your investment.
Michael Muro Garden Design offers real estate staging services in Seattle , WA
The first flowers of Witch Hazel, Hellebore and Sweet Box are blooming!
It is a good time to take inventory of your winter garden and see what adjustment need be made. The New Year is also a great time to tackle projects that seem to be on the list year after year.
So, here are some things to consider before winter is through.
- SCREENING and privacy. Do you have enough when deciduous trees loose their leaves?
- CIRCULATION. Are pathways in the best location? Is it easy to walk the whole garden and keep your feet dry?
- STRUCTURE. Are garden focal points positioned for views from inside the house too?
- COLOR: Do perennial borders need something additional for winter interest?
If you have questions like these or others, contact me for a design consultation and learn about the best options for any spot in your garden.
Fall is a great opportunity to reevaluate your garden.
Coniferous evergreens are an excellent way to add color and structure to the winter landscape. There are many dwarf varieties to work with. Try the slate blue ‘Globe Blue Spruce’ paired with golden- yellow ‘Gold Drop Dwarf Hinoki Cypress’. Think about plants and trees that bloom in late winter like Sweet Box, Chinese Witch Hazel and Star Magnolia. Early bloomers remind us that the days are getting longer and the garden is beginning to stir.
Plant fall annuals and trim back weepy perennials, adding ones that bloom late into fall like Penisetum, Redbeckia and Echinacea. When choosing a palette for bulbs, select varieties that bloom early, mid and late season, ensuring a long colorful show - starting with Snowdrops in late January.
Many nurseries have sales at this time of year so it is a great time to shop while supplies are still good!
Contact me for a design consultation and more on planning a fall garden tune-up.
Best of the season to you.
Trees and shrubs love to be planted in the fall. Now is an ideal time to get your plants in the ground so they can begin to establish a sound root system before the heat of summer.
Winter precipitation means less watering to get a plant established, and there will be fewer insects in cooler weather. Wait to plant tender varieties until spring. But most trees, conifers are ideal for fall planting.
Before you start, it’s a good idea to do a few of those post-summer chores throughout the garden, like deadheading flowers, cleaning out dead leaves and amending the soil. Use organic soil amendment to feed the soil with important nutrients. This will give your new plantings a healthy beginning. And, of course, water until the rains start next month.
Feel free to contact me with your questions about what type of trees and shrubs to plant now.
If you need more ideas, schedule a design consultation and learn about the best plants for any spot in your garden!
Showy, Fall-blooming perennials extend summer color in the garden.
These garden mainstays flower reliable, year after year. Unlike annuals and biennials, which live for only a year or two, perennials are permanent plants that need only periodic division and replanting. About as low maintenance as it gets! Some plants are evergreen; others die to the ground at the end of each season, and then reappear from the roots the following year.
After the dog days of summer, the landscape can begin to look a little peaked. Using fall-blooming perennials is a great way to extend a fresh splash of color until the first frost and beyond. These robust specimens will extend the blooming cycle and can be planted among summer-blooming perennials and annuals for a seamless display of color that can last from early spring through November.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Echinacea ‘Hot Paypaya’. Rich, dark green foliage and large orange-red flowers atop stems up to 48″ high. Full to part sun, drought tolerant.
- Sedum spectabile ‘Neon’. Sturdy Foliage capped with dark pink disks of tiny star-like flowers. Full to part sun, drought tolerant.\
- Asters (many, many cultivars). Sturdy plants covered with small daisy-like flowers. An array of growth habits and colors to choose from. Full sun, drought tolerant.
Late summer is a great time to reevaluate the perennials in your garden. Choosing carefully can maximize bloom season and refresh the garden. Then, look to broad-leaf and coniferous evergreens for color, texture and structure come winter.
If you need more ideas, contact me for a design consultation and learn about the best plants for any spot in your garden!
It seems like everyone has a spot that really cooks in the summer. You know, that west facing wall of the garage or the baking bed along the south side of the house. Add drought to the mix and ornamental planting choices start to shrink quickly. But fear not, many waterwise landscape plants welcome the dry heat of these microclimates. With the right choice of plants, one can use this little piece of the Sahara to their advantage. Here are a couple hints for establishing plants in sites that generate a lot of heat.
- Don’t plant in the heat of summer. Plant in early spring or fall allowing plants to establish their root systems before the heat of summer.
- Incorporate water absorbing crystals like Soil Moist into the back fill of the planting hole then water your new plants regularly for the first growing season.
- Use a 2 to 3- inches layer of fertile mulch to cool the soil and retain moisture.
Some stunning drought tolerant landscape plants worth checking out are:
- Brachyglotis greyi ‘Sunshine’
- Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’
Griffith’s Spurge ‘Fireglow’
- Lavendula angustifolia ‘Vera’
- Salvia guaranitica ‘Balack and Blue’
Blue Anise Sage
Not only do some of these plants love heat, they are also wonderfully fragrant and will perfume the surrounding air. So, as they say, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. Enjoy the results!
We have had a cool, moist spring and early summer this year – great for plants. But our typically dry July, August and September will quickly erase any reserves stored below the surface of the soil. Fine-tuning watering techniques can not only conserve water but also create more healthy plants.
Keys to watering:
- My answer is to water deeply and less frequently. This can be accomplished most easily with either a drip or soaker irrigation system. The drip system can be set to water individual plants, shrubs, or trees. The water requirements of different plants can be met by using different sized emitters, and by placing several emitters on large shrubs or trees.
- A soaker system will water the whole garden evenly and can be hidden underneath mulch.
- Hand watering is also an option, but make sure that the water is penetrating deeply. The final way to irrigate is with a sprinkler. Make sure that the spray hits all areas and that you leave it on long enough to water deeply. An irrigation contractor can help with this, but you will still need to fine tune the settings regularly and plan for yearly maintenance.
Tips for watering:
- Getting water to the bottom of the root zone promotes drought tolerance by keeping the roots deep in the soil, instead of on the surface where they can dry out quickly. Water should soak in deep enough so all roots are thoroughly wet. The first few times you water, test to see how deep it goes. After a few tries, you’ll know how long the water needs to run.
- Always water during the cooler part of the day to lessen evaporation. I prefer night time.
- Make sure you mulch.
- Plant densely enough so plant roots are not overheated by the sun.
As your landscape matures and plants become well established, you’ll be able to cut back the frequency of watering.
Contact me to learn about water-wise gardens and the best plant for any location.
For plants to thrive they require optimal conditions – a no brainer. Right?
Creating optimal conditions for plants to grow can take a lot of effort. So, why not work with the existing soil like we work with existing sun exposure? It is easy and almost always more successful than trying to correct deficiencies for plants not well suited to the landscape. Soil amendment is always recommended, but soil always reverts back to its natural state, so why not select plants that thrive in that type of soil. Dry, wet, sandy or clay, plants are adaptable and plants will grow most anywhere in conditions from the rocky, dry slopes of the Mediterranean to the wet swaps of the southeastern United States. So if plant selection is based on existing conditions, plants will thrive.
There are many things I consider when designing or renovating a garden. What are the personal preferences of my clients, where is the property located and what are the existing conditions? Once space planning and materials selection is complete, I select plants that fit those requirements.
The bottom line is: what will achieve the desired affect and thrive in its location? Sometimes I get requests for low maintenance gardens and this formula is a way I provide for that without sacrificing good design. This is when an extensive knowledge of plants and horticulture is as important as design expertise.
I am available as a consultant to help you build a new landscape or select the best plant for any location in your garden.
I welcome your comments about your own experiences too.