June 10, 2019By Alex Romanov
Rumor has it, the rain never stops in the Pacific Northwest. But you live here, so you know Washington enjoys plenty of sunshine west of the Cascades and much more so to the east. The best part? You’ll find very little severe weather anywhere in the state, a perfect climate for the perfect landscape!
Washington has seven distinct regions with different landscapes and rich volcanic soil. Plenty of wonderful opportunities for collaborating with Mother Nature right, in your own front and backyards. Since those who choose to live here are generally people who enjoy being outdoors, investing in beautiful landscaping is a safe bet for increasing the value of your home.
In Washington, there are several landscaping trends that home buyers appreciate:
Natural materials and designs that reduce water runoff and help conserve water is a popular trend with the environmentally-conscious and those who appreciate lower utility bills.
Lawns are the biggest source of water consumption, so If you want to add turf to an area, start by choosing a variety of grass that thrives in Washington’s climate. Fine fescue does well in shady areas, where Kentucky bluegrass will benefit from a lot of rainfall.
Working with plants that are native to Washington will give you the best results in the long run. Native plants need little water or maintenance, and they’ll attract local pollinators to your yard. The Washington Native Plants Society website is an excellent resource for learning which plants work for your region. The society will also give you info on where to buy certain plants and notifications on where to find sales.
Fountains, ponds, and birdbaths continue to be popular, but they require maintenance. They can also become breeding spots for mosquitoes and safety hazards for small children.
Smart LED lighting and smart irrigation are bringing new efficiencies and features to outdoor spaces. Voice assistants like Alexa allow you to control lights remotely. You can also choose different color options for festive occasions. Smart irrigation helps prevent overwatering and can be controlled from a mobile app.
If you would like to welcome certain native birds to your yard, you can choose native plants they prefer. For example, hummingbirds are fond of the Bluebell-of-Scotland and orioles like the chokecherry. The Audubon Society has a plant-finder tool on its website that will give you suggestions for your zip code to attract native birds of choice.
Keep in mind, many plants can be toxic to pets. Cross check anything you plan to add with this list from the ASPCA to keep dogs and cats safe.
OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE
Beautiful and durable outdoor kitchens, rooms, and fire pits with seating areas continue to be popular. Talk to a designer about an awning or pergola that will allow you to be outside even during wet or extremely hot weather. Choose deck material that complements the look of your home. Add touches of color with outdoor rugs, cushions and pillows, plant containers and umbrellas.
Remember, the goal is to increase the value of your property with landscaping improvements. Don’t overdo it with cutesy ornaments or overestimate your capabilities. If you have to call in an expert to fix your mistakes you’ll spend far more than you would have, had you just hired them to do the work in the first place. The same goes for maintenance.
Seeking the advice of a professional landscaper can help you set a realistic timeline and budget. It will also help you decide whether some do-it-yourself labor is doable.
Meredith Hale is a gardening and landscape writer, and design addict. She has coordinated the design on many house flipping projects, admitting that her favorite part is creating inspired outdoor spaces.
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