Plant a tree: Trees are a great investment. On average, they'll add 3 percent to 7 percent on the value of your home. Plus, planting trees on the east and west sides of your home can reduce air conditioning costs as much as 25 percent. However, trees need to be maintained. Have them inspected annually and serviced as needed.
ANGIE'S TIPS FOR HIRING YARD CARE:
·List your priorities: Determine whether you have a problem that needs correcting (overgrown shrubs) or if you want to make an addition to your existing landscape (fire pit). Once you have an idea, map out your property, indicating what you want. Identify long and short term goals.
· Assess your skill level: Just because you like working in the yard on an occasional Saturday doesn't mean you'll want to put an entire flower bed into place. Hire a professional if you don't think you'll stick with the project through the season, or if it's a complicated project that will require tools and equipment you don't have.
· Be realistic about your budget: You may not be able to afford it all this month or even this season. Keep it simple with some pretty plants. Many landscapers may also help you devise a multi-year plan if your budget for this year doesn't pay for all you want.
· Check referrals and reviews. It is always advisable to check references or reviews before hiring a contractor for a job. Make sure the prospective landscaper has completed a project with a similar design to the one you envision.
· Get permission. For many homeowners, including those living in housing communities, it may be necessary to receive permission prior to starting a new project. Many homeowner associations have strict guidelines on what residents can do to change their property. If those rules are violated, homeowners might find themselves embroiled in a lengthy dispute. To avoid potential conflicts, make sure your project is approved by the association board beforehand.
· Be mindful of permits. Landscapers should be able to present various permits, depending upon the scope of the project. Steer clear of penalties and fines by checking with the local buildings department before starting a project, such as the construction of a patio with a fire pit. Large landscaping projects usually require a permit.
· Factor in maintenance: Putting in that water element might look great on paper, but keep in mind it will have maintenance attached to it as well.