A Backyard That Beckons

Excerpt from: Philadelphia Inquirer Home & Design Supplement, July/August 2004 Issue

A Backyard that BeckonsCreating a spectacular living environment means looking beyond the interior walls to maximize your property’s natural attractions. But landscaping these days isn’t just about making your garden grow. It’s about increasing the value of your home by up to 15 percent with a well-thought-out plan designed specifically for the lay of your land. Experts suggest a landscaping budget equal to about 10 percent of your home’s value. Roughly half of that budget will be used for lawns and plantings. The other half will be earmarked for extras like hardscaping that transform a backyard into an extension of the home’s architecture.

Hardscaping is hot
“We talk about creating outdoor ‘rooms’ with different purposes,” says Kevin Burke, of Burke Brothers Landscape Contractors in Glenside, Pa. “One large area might be for entertaining, a smaller area for barbecuing, and an entirely different area where you can get away from it all with a hammock or a few chairs.”

Light up the landscape
Another way to add pizzazz to a landscape is to light it up. A few well-placed lights can extend your visual enjoyment of the outdoors into the evening hours, making it more pleasant to be outside at night and improving the view from inside. Even during the winter, lighting is a plus. “You can highlight not only the architecture of the home, but the winter interest of certain plants, like unusual bark or limb structure,” Kevin Burke explains.