By Laura Hoffman, Mutual Materials
Q: Given the recent switch in seasons, what areas of our home should we be focusing on to best take advantage of this time of year?
A: Here’s a question for you: What kind of shape is your yard in?
Do you smile with pride each time you drive up to your home — or do you cringe? If you aren’t too thrilled with your yard’s current condition, don’t feel bad. The weather hasn’t exactly been the best for working in the yard. And I am sure that if you look around, a few of your neighbors’ yards could also use some TLC.
The good news is that with a little bit of sweat equity, some fresh flowers and nice hardscaping, you can easily transform your yard into one that you are proud of.
1. Landscaping has many health benefits.
A beautiful yard motivates you to get outside. And time spent outdoors has many health benefits for both mind and body. When you are actively working in the garden or playing catch with your kids, you increase your physical activity, improve your mood and relieve stress — unless, of course, your yard is a mess. In that case, it might actually cause stress.
2. It encourages family time outdoors.
If your yard is pleasant to be in, your family will want to spend more time outdoors. And there are so many ways you can landscape your yard for family fun. You can build an outdoor fire pit so you and your children can tell ghost stories and roast marshmallows. Or bring in fresh sod for a nice place for children to run around playing tag or soccer. No matter how you choose to landscape the backyard, it is worth it. Kids grow up all too fast. Make precious memories while you can.
3. A landscaped yard is good for entertaining.
Do you enjoy entertaining outdoors? With the right balance of furniture, hardscape surfaces and greenery, you can create a backyard oasis. And the possibilities are endless. If you enjoy cooking, include a beautiful outdoor kitchen in your design. If you prefer ordering pizza and watching your favorite sports on the big screen with friends, then create a comfortable outdoor living room with a strategically-placed television. Whatever way you prefer to entertain, spending time outside with the people you enjoy is a great reason to get your yard back into shape.
4. You are helping the environment.
Here in the Northwest, we care about the environment we live in. Did you know that a well-maintained yard actually helps protect it? Retaining walls can prevent erosion and reduce the amount of soil that ends up in waterways. Proper grading and drainage can reduce stormwater runoff and help prevent flooding. And planting native trees, flowers and plants not only provides a sustainable environment for local birds and wildlife, it also helps combat climate change. Yet another great reason to landscape your yard.
5. Nice landscaping is an investment in your home.
Yes, landscaping your yard provides many immediate perks, but it also has long-term benefits. When you install permanent hardscapes such as patios and outdoor kitchens, you are building beauty that lasts. Plus, if at some point you decide to sell your home, these structures will increase its value. It is safe to say that you will get out of it what you have put into it, and perhaps even more. So, whether you stay in your home for many years to come or eventually sell it, you can be confident that your investment in your yard has long-term benefits.
Laura Hoffman works for Mutual Materials and is a member of Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to email@example.com.