“The front yard is your appetizer course. Nobody’s buying your house based on your front yard,” he says.
“But that Curb Appeal, the first impression, is so important.
“If you don’t like that first taste, you’ll question whether you will like the rest.”
An outdoor design and lifestyle expert, Arthur is part of the team on HGTV’s Critical Listing, a popular reality TV show that helps homeowners maximize their home’s worth before selling.
He’ll be presenting seminars, including ones on how to improve your home’s value, in Calgary at the 2015 Calgary Home and Garden Show on Feb. 28 and March 1.
An internationally renowned landscape expert, Arthur was born two hours north of Toronto, and raised on an apple farm. He studied landscape design at Humber College in Toronto and soon found himself on television.
These days, he is also a regular on CityTV’s Cityline talk show, and he is the outdoor guest expert on The Shopping Channel.
And his earlier TV show, Green Force, tackled urban landscapes — beautifying everything from daycares to hospices and subway stations.
It comes as no surprise, then, to hear he’s loaded with advice for homeowners, whether you’re simply looking to renovate and enjoy your space, or whether you’re seeking to sell your home and maximize your profit.
First, consider your home’s current value before tackling a major landscaping job.
“Never spend more than 12 per cent of your home’s total value on the back yard.”
As for the front yard? Aim for between six and eight per cent.
And, home renovators, think about your own time. Do you have a lot? Likely not.
That’s why one of the big trends Arthur is seeing these days is toward low-maintenance yards — yards that take 20 minutes or so of maintenance each week.
“People want a space that a. meets their needs but b. doesn’t create a ball and chain, so they can’t get away for the weekend. So they can’t afford to do other things.”
Gardening is really hard work, he adds.
“It is not for the faint of heart, or people with busy lifestyles,” Arthur says.
“As our lives get busier, we have less time for gardening, but we still want our homes to look good and be worth more money.”
That’s where professional landscaping advice comes in handy. You’ll figure out what’s do-able and you’ll get ideas that you hadn’t perhaps considered.
“It doesn’t have to be done all at once,” he says. “What does need to be doing is to get a real design, one that really outlines your entire space.”
First, find a landscaper that fits your style. Modern? Rustic? Low-maintenance? Not all professional landscapers offer the same style or the same level of service.
“Really do your research ahead of time, to be sure that the company is creating the type of space that will be right for your family,” he says. “You need an outdoor designer that can create the type of space you want to live in.”
Next, think about what kind of space meets your needs. Do you have young kids, pets, or a love of outdoor entertaining?
And then, of course, there’s your budget.
“Ask the designer to break down your timelines. What needs to be done first? What next? Start applying your budget toward it, instead of doing a huge allotment all up front.”
If you don’t have the budget to do your entire yard all at once, then tackle a corner of it and create an outdoor room.
“Get that useable space figured out first,” he says. “That is what will pull you into your back yard.”
Trends that he’s noticed include container gardening, low-maintenance patio pavers or wood, beautiful furniture, and propane or gas heaters.
“We’re seeing a lot of people trying to capture a perfect outdoor moment: sitting around an outdoor fireplace, a space for brunch or even just for coffee,” he says.
“People are investing in that instead of plants or grass and trees.”
It’s all about increasing your home’s appeal and value, whether you’re upgrading for your own enjoyment, or selling in a tough market.
“The back yard won’t be what sells the house, but it’s the dessert,” says Arthur. “It’s the last thing people see when they’re buying. If they like it, it seals the deal.”
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