Adding interesting landscaping not only beautifies your home, it can potentially provide a 10% bump to the value of your property.  According to a study by The Journal of Environmental Horticulture, the perceived value of Texas homes increased 10.16% with quality landscaping.  Having great landscaping isn’t as hard as it seems if you follow some basic guidelines.


Look at The Big Picture

Start by thinking about the practical and the aesthetic aspects of the landscaping you’re envisioning for your yard.  Practical means considering what you want to do on your property and aesthetic means how you want it to look.

Think of the different activities where you typically spend time in your yard.  Do you like to grill out and entertain guests? Do you like to sit quietly and enjoy nature?  Do the kids need a place to play? All of these questions will help to inform the areas of your yard that you will designate for those activities.

After you’ve determined the practical aspects of your yard, it’s time to decide how it should look and feel.  Are you going for something functional, clean, and understated? Would you prefer something vibrant, colorful, and energizing?  Are you looking for a serene, relaxing setting?

Once you’ve determined the practical and aesthetic needs, it’s time to pick a focal point.  A focal point might be a deck, a tree, an area of stonework, or any feature that draws the eye.  Decide where to put your focal point and build the rest of the yard around that.


Choose the Right Plants for Your Zone

It’s important to choose plants that will not only live but thrive in the climate you’re in.  In Houston, we are in USDA Gardening Zone #9a.  That means that our minimum average temperature range is 20°F to 25° F.

Zone 9 is a year-round planting zone. Typically, the growing season is nine months since summer months are so hot, which can be a challenge to summer vegetable gardens.

Bell peppers and tomatoes are two examples of good vegetables to grow in zone 9a.  Citris trees can be a good choice as well as tropical fruits such as kiwi, passion fruit and guava. Here is a list of more plants including flowers and accent plants that work well in zone 9.


Annuals vs Perennials

Perennials are plants that go dormant in the winter but continue to grow year after year.  Annuals grow for one season and then die off over the winter. A good strategy is to start by planning out where you want your perennials to permanently live and then accent your landscaping each spring and summer with annuals.

Perennials tend to be more expensive than annuals, but they also require less work.  With annuals, someone will have to rework the soil each year and replant them. Even though they take a bit more work,annuals provide a wide variety of colors and options to accent your yard.

Common perennials in Texas include Daisies, Verbena and Sage.  Common annuals include Pansies, Snapdragons and Periwinkles.


Sun exposure for plants

Once you’ve decided which plants you want to feature in your landscaping, it’s time to figure out where they should go in your yard.  Different plants have different sunlight and moisture requirements. Some plants love full sun all day and some thrive better in the shade.

Take pictures of your yard at different times of the day such as morning, noon, and evening to determine how much sun each area gets.  You will now have a better idea of different zones in your yard that have full sun, partial sun, and shade. Match the requirements of your plants to these zones.


Time to Get Started!

Now that you’ve got a plan, it’s time to get started building landscaping that will both beautify your property and improve its value.


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