Real estate agents won’t hesitate to school you on the importance of curb appeal, and landscaping is a big part of that. But not all landscaping investments are equal. Some may make you feel good, but won’t add to the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Others, however, will put both a smile on your face and a buck in your pocket.

Take a look at these Jacksonville landscaping trends that can increase your property value.

Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living space
Moving the indoors outdoors with outdoor living space is a trend that shows no sign of abating. Source: Wicker Paradise / Urban Landscape Inc., CC 2.0.

This hot trend doesn’t show signs of cooling down anytime soon. Covered pergolas, patios, outdoor kitchens, and firepits are in high demand. Jacksonville’s climate lends itself to extending the inside of your home to the outside, except for the hottest summer months.

Even then, an outdoor kitchen means you don’t have to heat up your indoor kitchen cooking dinner. If that’s not in your budget, consider improving your existing deck or patio. Cosmetic changes like updated seating, new seat cushions, pillows, and a few potted plants can make a big difference.

Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Larry Figart
Larry FIgart

The future owners of your home may not want to spend a lot of time or money maintaining a fussy landscape. You’ll be doing yourself a favor with a low maintenance yard. Urban forestry extension agent Larry Figart, of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Duval County, says a good place to start is with the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program.

There are nine principles to follow, including “right plant, right place.” He says this means “planting things that will do well on their own that don’t need a lot of inputs (water, fertilizer, etc.).”

Figart, who handles educational programs in plant and tree care for the service, says you should place plants with similar light and water needs together. “Put plants that need less water in drier areas of your yard. Put plants that need more water near irrigation sources or places with a lot of runoff, like spots near downspouts.”

Choose native plants that thrive in Jacksonville’s climate and soil conditions. Reduce mowing and watering needs by planting St. Augustine or centipede grass.

Trees

Crape myrtle tree
Crape myrtle tree. Credit: Janie, CC by SA 2.0.

Planting a few trees is a good investment for the future. Trees add beauty, provide shade, and help the environment. They clear the air and provide a habitat for wildlife. If you plant them in the right place, they can help cool your home and lower your electricity bill. Southern magnolias, crape myrtles, or Meyer lemon trees are good choices in Jacksonville. Lemonade, anyone?

Fences

Fences help protect your property and your privacy. They can also add a lot of style to your landscaping. Darker fences (grey, navy blue, black) are replacing the white picket variety. Homeowners are also opting for privacy panels, corrugated metal, or horizontal fencing.

Vertical Gardens

Vertical garden
Vertical garden

Take advantage of small or unused spaces and green them up with a vertical garden. Use a trellis or other upright structure to support plants, flowers, or vegetables. Be sure it is sturdy enough to handle the weight of whatever you’re growing. Vertical gardens can cover up ugly areas or serve as an accent fence or screen. This can make your yard more attractive to future buyers.

Outdoor Lighting

Make sure your yard is “lit” by using outdoor lighting. It will keep your friends and loved ones safe after dark as they wander down your garden paths. By allowing you to stay outside after dark, outdoor lighting extends the amount of time you can enjoy your yard and outdoor living spaces. It can also improve your home’s security by deterring would-be burglars. Stay on trend with minimalist and linear designs. Popular features include ever-improving LED lights, color-changing bulbs, and hidden fixtures under pathways and stairs.

Water Features

Waterfall
A water feature adds serenity, but a pool? Think hard about the expense.

Bring some zen to your garden with water features. The sight and sound of moving water can reduce stress and add a feeling of serenity to your yard. Waterfalls, small fountains, or ponds can achieve this effect.

One water feature sure to spark debate is a swimming pool. If you don’t have one, should you dive in and add one? The answer is, it’s complicated.

On average, adding a swimming pool will set you back about $30,000. Add to that the cost of lighting and fencing (a fence around a pool is required in Florida). Then you’ve got the ongoing maintenance costs, including heating and treating your pool. It is Florida, however, and some view a backyard pool as a necessity instead of a luxury.  In some neighborhoods, your home won’t sell without one. Even in pool-loving Jacksonville, you’re only likely to recoup 15%-25% of the cost.

When you’re investing in your landscaping, make choices that will make your money work for you. You can increase your property’s value while adding the desirable features you and prospective buyers will love.

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