By Tracie Dodson, CPA
Spring is in the air, along with that proverbial urge to spring clean. Many experience the need to bring new life to their homes this time of year by redecorating, organizing and even remodeling. However, no matter how beautifully decorated and well-organized the interior of the house may be, it is best showcased by a well-landscaped yard.
With the cost of necessities such as gas and groceries on the rise, it may be hard to consider spending extra cash on items that are not essential. However, when it comes to home improvements, changing your home's landscape can be a less-costly choice than interior renovations. For those with spring fever and little spring funds, there are several ways to improve the outward appearance of your home while staying within a budget.
Planning ahead is crucial for any budgeted project. Starting with a landscape design can help you calculate a more accurate cost. Gather ideas from magazines and other yards and gardens you admire. When trying to keep your costs down, consider which projects would require you to hire a yard service versus doing the work yourself. Larger projects can be installed in stages to help save money.
Get advice from your local lawn and garden center. Experts can help you make an informed decision about which plants and trees are best suited for your local climate and the proper care they will need. When considering flowers, take into account that although perennials tend to be more expensive than annuals, they will grow back each year with the proper care.
Save on groceries and consider planting fruit-bearing trees or an herb garden. Planting a tree may be a long term project but it can help to save on utilities in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, trees properly placed to shade a home can save an average household in annual heating and cooling costs.
Planting successfully will require mulch and rich soil, which can add to your budget. An endless supply of free mulch may be obtained by starting your own compost pile. Easy instructions are available on the internet and the costs are minimal.
For inexpensive hardscapes try finding salvaged materials. Be on the lookout for old bricks or stones and incorporate them into any plans for walkways, garden walls or edging. If your design plan requires the use of tools, consider renting from your local hardware store. Avoid making a big purchase for equipment that may never be used again.
A manicured lot can turn a home into a masterpiece, just as a striking picture frame can turn an ordinary photograph into a work of art. Landscaping does not have to be an expensive project and research has shown a well designed, well-landscaped lot can increase the value of your home between 5 and 10 percent. Take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather ahead and bring new life to your yard and home.
To read the article on the Blush Magazine website, please click here.
The contents and opinions contained in this article are for
informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be a
substitute for professional accounting counsel. Always seek the advice
of your accountant or other financial planner with any questions you may
have regarding your financial goals.