How to Improve Property Values Through DIY Landscaping

Front Landscape Design Company in Nashville

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to completely renovate your home in order to significantly raise the value of your property. This may come as a surprise to some, but out of all the upgrades you can make to your home, improving the landscaping has one of the highest returns on investment aside from bathroom renovation. In fact, high-quality landscaping can add an impressive 20% to the value of your home.

With dramatic returns like these, it’s no wonder so many people have hopped on the DIY landscaping train. All it takes from you is time, energy, and a little bit of money. With that small investment, you can create landscaping that will increase your home’s curb appeal, making an excellent first impression on visitors and potential buyers.

If you’re not sure what landscaping improvements will have the most impact or how to start the process, here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Make Your Lawn the Envy of the Neighborhood

Making improvements to your landscaping doesn’t have to be complicated. The number one way to improve your home’s curb appeal and raise your property value is to keep your lawn looking its best.

That doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour waiting for weeds to pop up so you can catch them before they spread. To produce a yard that your neighbors will envy, all you need to do is:

  • Rake – Regularly remove leaves and other debris
  • Aerate – Pierce your lawn so that water, air, and nutrients can better reach grass roots. This helps roots grow more deeply, creating a healthy, strong, lush green lawn.
  • Fertilize – Feed your lawn the nutrients it needs every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
  • Water – Your lawn should be watered deeply and infrequently. Adopting this practice, instead of watering your lawn every other day, encourages greater root growth.
  • Mow – Cut your grass regularly, but don’t cut it too short. The shade created by taller grass helps to prevent the development of weeds.
  • Edge – If left to progress naturally, grass will start to creep into your garden beds, driveways, and sidewalks which creates an untidy appearance. Give your yard a clean, manicured appearance by trimming away excess grass at the edge of your lawn.

Taking care of your lawn isn’t expensive, but it does require an investment of your time. If you prefer not to spend your time and energy on lawn maintenance, there are other options available. You could hire a reputable lawn-care professional to keep your yard looking its best.

If you don’t have time to develop an amazing-looking lawn, having sod installed might be a good option for you. This is especially true if you’ll be selling your home soon and you need a beautiful lawn fast. The cost of sod installation is relatively low considering how quickly you get the ideal lawn and the high return on investment.

Add Variety to Your Landscape

A yard with grass and nothing more may be easier to maintain, but it will leave your property looking plain and unappealing. Add a little more life to your landscaping by planting trees, flowers, and shrubs to make it look lively and inviting.


Adding a few trees to your property will make a huge difference when it comes time to sell your home. Most people prefer to live in an area with mature trees that provide shade while removing carbon dioxide and pollution. Trees are a unique asset because, unlike other additions to your home, they actually increase in value over time.

If your property already contains mature trees, make sure that you take proper care of them so they remain healthy. Trees need plenty of water in order to thrive so water them regularly and place mulch at the base to retain moisture.

Mature trees also need to be pruned to remove dead limbs and encourage growth, but be careful not to cut them back too much. Over-pruning can negatively affect a tree’s health, structural integrity, and appearance. If you have any doubts about your ability to properly prune your trees, contact a reputable local tree trimmer.  

Flowers & Shrubs

When it comes to selecting flowers and shrubs to fill your garden beds, make sure that you have a thorough plant strategy in place. It’s best if you choose plants that are not just visually appealing, but hardy, low-maintenance, and seasonally balanced as well.

You’ll want your landscaping to look good year-round. Instead of selecting plants that only flourish in the spring and summer, choose a variety of flowers and shrubs including those that’ll remain attractive throughout the fall and winter. If you’re not sure which plants will work best for your specific climate, consult with your local garden center or a professional landscaper.

To make your garden beds even more visually appealing, spread mulch between the plants. Not only does the mulch create a more uniform and professional look, it also helps your plants hold onto moisture. Mulch is an inexpensive addition to your landscaping that will work to increase your property value.

Create an Appealing Outdoor Living Space

When it comes to the exterior of your home, a healthy lawn isn’t all that prospective buyers are looking for. They want an attractive outdoor area that’s set apart for relaxing, entertaining, and enjoying the scenery.

If your home does not currently have a deck or patio, you might want to consider adding one before putting your house on the market. Both patios and decks are a good investment because they recoup more than the amount it costs to have one installed.

Outdoor areas with added functional or ornamental features recover even more of their initial investments. A pergola, built-in dining area, backyard terrace, or water feature is certain to increase the value of your property and generate buyer interest.

The ideal is to create a deck or patio area that serves as an outdoor oasis. Potential buyers are sure to appreciate being able to escape from the pressures daily life in the convenience of their own backyard.

If you’re limited on how much you can invest and want to keep your upgrades simple, stick with adding a patio or deck. Even with that straightforward upgrade, your property value will increase.

Light It Up

With all that you’re doing to improve the aesthetic value of your property, you don’t want to let all your beautiful landscaping work disappear when the sun sets. Add lighting so your property will make a lasting impression any time, day or night.

Lighting can be used to highlight the most attractive features of your home. For example, you can place focus on your pergola by hanging lights from it or have a light directed at a prominent tree in your yard.

Lighting is also functional. A well-lit property allows people to locate your home more easily, discourages intruders, and makes it easier for you to see when spending time in your outdoor living space at night.

Landscaping: An Investment Worth Making

Don’t let the condition of your yard keep you from selling your property at a decent price. Your yard has loads of untapped potential to improve property value. Invest a bit of time, attention, and money into your landscaping, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards!
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Nashville Meets South Beach

Balcony landscape in nashville bamboo

I was honored to have been called out to a rental property in downtown Nashville where the owner was looking to take the atmosphere up a notch by adding certain design elements which one might find in the bold surroundings of South Beach Florida.  After our designs and concepts were approved, we set out to add a little flare to the already impressive balcony which possessed multiple sitting areas, a sun deck, custom pool, hot tub, and the most breathtaking view of downtown Nashville.


We removed a clumping bamboo previously planted and opted to install Bamboo 'Bissetts' in the large stainless steel inset planters.  The client was instructed that this running style bamboo would need regular pruning and thinning to ensure it didn't overtake the container in the coming years.  With a little maintenance, there simply is just no substitute for 10' bamboo on a rooftop.  The large wall helps to protect the bamboo during storms and winter temps.  Other plantings included Mahonia 'Soft Caress' and Bignonia trumpet vine which were installed in a shady area on the balcony.  Both plants are tough performers in these challenging areas, either on a balcony or in a garden.  The trumpet vine is a native which will be trained up the wall and allowed to partially climb up the spiral staircase.  Red Yucca was planted for its architectural appeal and red summer flowers.  Since these planters were not irrigated, drought tolerance was also an important consideration.  Asparagus fern, Cordyline 'Red Star', Silver Licorice, and Wax Begonias round out the container plantings on the property.  These plants can take the demanding heat and wind exposure commonly found on roof top balconies.  With a little feeding and trimming throughout the season, they'll be sure to perform well into the fall.

Balcony landscape and design in nashville

Glass Mulch

To up the wow factor a little more, we opted to design and install a recycled glass mulch, both around some of the plantings and on the rubber membrane covering part of the lofts surrounding rooftop.  After installing a geotextile formulated to protect the rubber membrane, the glass mulching was installed at a 2-3" layer depth, or 14lb per square foot.  The mulch installation brings a level of design no other material could offer. The clients were thrilled and so were we.  

Landscaping with red yucca

Overall the landscaped balcony proved to be a success with the potential for other areas to be designed as well.  Balconies are a fantastic retreat for city dwellers to find their retreat, this one being no exception.  Special considerations must be given to the plantings as sun and wind conditions can be challenging for many plants.  Choose your plantings and soil type well, and you're sure to have success.  

White containers on balcony with asparagus fern

For more information regarding the rental of this unit and others within the building, visit

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Backyard Landscape for Play & Edibles

We recently finished a backyard landscape which will be featured on Volunteer Gardener later this Summer.  The backyard belonged to a traditional ranch style home in East Nashville.  For more videos that inspire, visit

The backyard pitched down away from the home.  Good for drainage, a small challenge for patios.  Along with patio and fire pit, the homeowner was looking for a design that incorporated edible gardens, berry bushes, fruit trees, mulched in playset, under deck storage and privacy fence.  Though the original plan exceeded the homeowners budget, we were able to work within her priorities to arrive at a final plan.  

The patio was constructed out of a Belgard wall and paver patio.  Colonial block and Dublin cobble pavers to be exact.  To construct a fire pit on top of a patio, the professional route is to build the floor out of fire brick and mortar only half in.  Fill half of the 1" joints with gravel to allow rainwater to filter down to a corrugated pipe underneath patio to drain out of the side.

Nashville landscape, before and after

Liberty apple trees, a great variety for the southeast, rabbit eye blueberries, thornless blackberries made up the bulk of the berry/ fruit installation.  Two large cedar raised beds were installed around the patio giving quick and easy access.

For the playset mulching, a 4x4 pressure treated timber border was installed after the sod was cut around the playset.  At least a  4" installation of play soft mulch was used which is specifically manufactured for such an area and is widely used in commercial/ residential playgrounds around the country.  For more information, visit

Overall the homeowner was thrilled with the transformation of her backyard space.  Such a transformation will not only create many years of enjoyment, but will also look to increase the overall value of the home.  Of course, as always, we were honored to be entrusted with the confidence to construct another dream of a happy client.

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BIG & BOLD...Nashville Lawns and Landscapes

Nashville lawns and landscaping

Some in Nashville want a beautiful, picturesque lawn for their landscape, and some do not.  It is simply a matter of taste and budget.  Regardless of your preference, a recent job that our landscape company installed emphasizes the importance of healthy soil and laying sod at the right time of the year.  

Though sod can be laid during most parts of the year, fall and early spring really are optimal times The temps are cool and the moisture is high.  Along with proper timing, a good foundation of graded compost and microbiologic fertilizers help get the green stuff off to a booming start.  We suggest a 1" under layer of premium compost and granular fertilizer per application rates.  Liquid natural fertilizers can also be applied throughout the seasons to help keep turf at its finest.
Nashville landcape contractorDr. Earth and Espoma brands carry some of the best products we've come across.  We stress natural at all times in order to feed the soil biology, which in turn, feeds the plant.  Yes a few weeds might pop up from time to time, but like life, it is our view that lawns shouldn't be perfect.  Too many chemicals and too much frustration is required to maintain.  

Nashville Irrigation Company

Fescue, which stays green all year, needs consistent moisture during the summer, and possibly an over seeding in the fall to stay thick.  Smart irrigation practices are always encouraged as overwatering can cause just as many issues as under watering. Fescue can perform in the sun, however, part sun conditions really are optimal.  Too much shade and the thickness begins to wain.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Zoysia and Bermuda grass.  These brown in the winter, however, are very tough and can withstand periods of drought and plenty of foot traffic. These varieties perform well in sunny to part sunny areas.  The more shade they receive the more thin they become. Bermuda and Zoysia GrassAs long as the turf is healthy, Zoysia and Bermuda do not require an irrigation system nor fall over seeding or multiple fertilizer applications.  Definitely low maintenance.  These varieties can be sodded in early spring through summer as they thrive in warmer temperatures.  Seeding and plugging are a cheaper option but best practices with these techniques really should be followed as it can be a bit trickier.

Whatever direction you choose to go, it's always good to know best practices.  Ensuring your life and turf grow exceptionally well!

 Citation: (image of Zoysia front lawn)

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Prepare for your Fall Landscape

Prepare for your Fall Landscape

These last few weeks of summer, we can let our land and bodies rest. But we can also prepare for fall, which starts Sept. 22. 
Scattered thunderstorms should refresh our yards soon. The following ideas can make our Middle Tennessee landscapes more natural and sustainable:

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Weed Like a Professional Landscaper!

Looking for an organic method of weed control in your garden or landscape?  Let our professional landscaping company show you how to cut your weeding time in half!!  Matt Kerske explains the tools that quickly get the job done in this quick 3 minute clip.  And remember friends, try and always use a mulch when possible to reduce the spread of weeds in your landscape.  Not only will it help to reduce weeds, but if it is wood based, it'll also help hold moisture and break down into organic matter.

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Infuse Organic Nutrients into Soil with Cover Crops

Check out Matt Kerske's latest video for a quick tutorial on how to use buckwheat and cowpeas to organically enrich your soil on the cheap! 

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Landscape Design: Seven (+3) Tips for Beginners

Every now and then I'm asked for  landscape design tips.  I came across an article in Better Homes and Gardens and thought it worth sharing.  For those starting out in this wide world of exterior artistry...welcome to the rest of your life.  Once this bug bites you, it usually doesn't let go, at least for not for awhile anyways.  It can be a blessing, however, since instead of itching and swelling, it can cause your property value to increase.  Imagine that.  Plus, if you do some of the landscaping yourself, you'll be burning calories, reducing stress, and coming home to a more beautiful setting.  Not too bad eh?

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