Last week’s column devoted just one paragraph to landscape improvements that might add value to your home. This week I’ll address the topic at greater length and with less of a focus on improving the resale value of your home.
Rita and I sold our Golden home last year and moved to Avenida Lakewood (now called Solana Lakewood, under new owners), but I retain several ideas and opinions to share about the topic of landscaping and lawn care.
For lawn care, I hired a company to mow my lawn, but prior to that I purchased a corded electric lawn mower. Lowe’s and Ace Hardware have the franchise for EGO battery electric lawn mowers, which I have heard from others are the best. EGO makes many battery-powered yard tools, all of which use the same interchangeable battery. They have edgers, string trimmers, chainsaws, riding and push mowers, snowblowers, leaf blowers, you-name-it. Check out all the EGO products at www.EGOPowerPlus.com.
Consider for a moment how much quieter your neighborhood would be in the spring, summer and fall if everyone used electric yard tools! Also, it’s well documented that small gas engines are major contributors to air pollution and climate change. According to the EPA, small gas-powered equipment such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers emit 242 million tons of pollutants annually — as much as cars and homes.
As water bills increase, homeowners are wondering whether perhaps they should replace their Kentucky bluegrass lawns with something that requires less watering. I replaced my lawn with a slower growing sod, but it still required a lot of water. In retrospect I think buffalo grass would have been a better choice. Check with your water utility. The Colorado Water Conservation Board is providing funds to replace lawns, with rebates up to $1/sq.ft. Visit www.EngageCWCB.org.
(Wouldn’t it be smart of CDOT to install buffalo grass on all highway medians and shoulders?)
Xeriscaping is a good solution too, but I can’t imagine dog owners and parents of young children wanting to eliminate grassy backyards for their pets and children.
Hardscaping is another matter. This refers to installing patios, retaining walls and walking paths, as well as occasional boulders. An “outdoor kitchen” is a great enhancement which you’ll enjoy yourself and will ultimately help sell your home. For this you might want to hire a landscaping company. I can recommend one or two if you call me, but I suggest you use Google first and interview multiple companies. Although we considered it, we never hired a landscaping company, so any recommendations I make would not be based on personal experience.
My house, like many Golden homes, was encircled by juniper bushes, but those are a fire hazard and should be nowhere near your home in case of an approaching wildfire. I noticed recently that the new owner of my Golden home had pulled out all the junipers, and she told me that it was for that reason.
Trees are great, but you need to be mindful about which species you plant and where. On the south side of your house, you want to plant deciduous trees, which will shade your home in the summer but allow the sun into your home during the winter. Limit evergreens to the north side of your house, and choose trees that won’t shade your south-facing roof as they mature if you have or plan to install solar panels.
Please share your own landscaping ideas with me, and maybe I’ll feature them in a future column. Thanks, and happy spring!