Four Beautiful Landscape Updates

These strategic landscaping upgrades add style to any boring front yard.

CI-Clopay-Doors-craftsman-cimarron-entry-doors_s4x3 Photo courtesy of Clopay

If you're looking to enhance your home's exterior, here are four key landscaping upgrades that can increase curb appeal.

Stone Walkways

When you want to create an elegant walkway, stone is a wonderful material that adds sophistication and wow factor to your Cape Cod, cottage, Colonial or Tudor.

"Using real stone for a walkway gives you added detail of quality and it can be used to connect your hardscape with your architecture," says landscape architect Rosheen Styczinski, owner of New Eden Landscape Architecture. "If you choose the right stone and have it properly installed, you greatly reduce your chance of having potential problems."

Stone can sit on top of concrete or be dry-laid on a compacted gravel base. Generally straight stone walkways with clean lines work best with formal homes, while curving walkways with irregular stones are a good fit for casual homes. There are a variety of stones and pavers you can use for your walkway: Bluestone, granite, limestone and slate are all popular choices.

"In shadier areas, you'll get moss on flagstone," says landscape designer Jessy Berg, co-founder of Habitat Design.com. "With bluestone, you can put it in the shadier areas and not get as much moss. Granite and slate are beautiful, but slate can be slippery when wet. I would suggest visiting your local stone yard for ideas and so you can see the difference between the stones."

Costs for stone walkways run about $30 to $75 a square foot, depending on the stone used, the location of the site and prep work or custom cutting of the stone.


Picket Fences

A picket fence can add personality to a garden, define a yard, buffer wind gusts and keep animals out while also allowing views to be enjoyed.

"Picket fences are a romantic idea," says Berg. "The vision of a picket fence is usually associated with a cottage or beach house, but I would argue they work for other styles of homes. Picket fences come in different styles, colors and heights that can also work with a ranch or Tudor. Picket fences are saying 'this is my space' but I still want to see my neighbors."

While wood is the traditional, quick-and-easy material used for picket fences, vinyl versions have become popular because they don't require the upkeep and maintenance of wood. Warranties vary, so make sure to check with the manufacturer. Costs for picket fences depends on materials and size. Vinyl picket fencing can range in price from around $10 to $30 per linear foot; wood costs around $25 a linear foot installed.

Arbors

When you pair your picket fence with an arbor, you create a welcoming entry that encourages guests to enter and explore. While there are shade arbors and arbor benches, when most homeowners hear "arbors" they think of a beautiful structure that creates a defined entry for a Tudor, Craftsman or cottage garden.

"It makes a garden space feel like a room," says Berg. "They're like a door you come through and it welcomes you."

Arbors range in price from less than $100 to more than $800, depending on the material, size and style. Look for an arbor that matches the scale and style of your home.

Arbors come in different types of wood as well as synthetic materials. Found in a traditional garden or yard, a classic arbor is often painted white with a curved top that adds elegance and pairs well with a picket fence. There are more casual-style arbors, often called country arbors, that come in different shapes, styles and materials, including wood and wrought iron. A four-post arbor has an angular look that complements gardens with rectangular lawns and straight pathways. It can feature an arch or have a level of slats on top. Two-post arbors work in formal and tropical gardens with angles, as well as Asian-inspired spaces. You can add slats on top or leave it plain for a simple look.

Cobblestone Driveways

While a basic concrete driveway gets the job done, a cobblestone driveway adds a layer of texture, natural beauty and timeless elegance to the exterior of your home.

These driveways can be made from cobblestones or cobblestone pavers that are usually rectangular or square and vary in size. Cobblestone is a broad category that refers to different stones, but the most common variety is granite cobblestone.

Cobblestone driveways have their advantages, besides offering beauty. They help drainage and unlike asphalt or concrete, they're easy to repair since the driveway pavers are separate units. Any damaged or dislodged stones can be replaced individually. But if you live in a climate with lots of snowy weather, be aware that the uneven surface of cobblestone driveways can make snow removal difficult. And because cobblestone pavers come from hard stones, they can also be difficult to cut and more labor-intensive to install if you want a specific pattern.

Costs for a cobblestone driveway range from about $10 to $60 a square foot installed, depending on the stone used and the cutting and installation needed for the project.


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