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Hardscape and Landscape Good for Your Home

Right At Home Daily: Home Improvement Basics
By Lisa Skolnik for Right at Home Daily

The best way to increase your home's value is to add features that will enhance its appearance and function, without breaking your bank. This may sound like a tall order, but porches, patios, decks, terraces, gardens, lawns and manicured foliage around a home fulfill these goals in a number of ways.

Hardscape and Landscape Good for Your Home First, sprucing up your home's exterior makes it more attractive to future buyers. If two homes are for sale in the same area and are similar in terms of size and appeal, the one with prettier grounds, gardens or superior outside structures will be the first sold.

But exterior amenities also offer more than just curb appeal. Consider adding external structures such as porches and decks, which can function as supplementary spaces for relaxing or entertaining and increase the sheer square footage available to a homeowner. If a home is in a warm climate or the structures are enclosed, they can be used year-round.

Landscaping can cut energy costs dramatically year-round. According to the Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of a home's energy consumption for heating and cooling.

During the summer, trees can reduce the surrounding air temperatures by as much as 9 degrees F and well-planned landscaping can reduce a home's air-conditioning costs from 15 to 50 percent. In winter, windbreaks around houses can cut fuel consumption by an average of 40 percent.

Properly designed landscaping offers substantial environmental benefits by controlling erosion on a lot, managing rainwater in an ecologically correct manner, providing a habitat for birds and wildlife, and improving air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Landscaping may be the best investment to improve a home's value. According to a study by Money magazine, well-planned, attractive landscaping was estimated to have an actual recovery rate of 100 to 200 percent higher than a kitchen renovation (70 to 125 percent) or bathroom renovation (80 to 120 percent).

Take It And Run
1. Both hardscape (i.e., porches, decks and patios) and landscape can improve the appearance, cost-effectiveness, and resale value of your home, and can function as supplementary spaces that can be used for relaxing or entertaining.

2. The changes you make to your hardscape and landscape can radically improve your home's exterior appearance, and improve the appearance of the neighborhood as well.

3. Hardscapes can increase usable living space, especially in moderate climates where they can be used year-round and offer comfortable access to the outdoors.

4. Landscapes, when done properly, can dramatically cut your energy costs regardless of climate or season, offer substantial environmental benefits, improve air and noise pollution, and provide privacy around a home or its entire lot.

Hammer Visit our forum to get some landscaping tips from other DIY-ers!