Backyards are often a source of pride and joy for many homeowners. Depending on your personal preference, your backyard may be a luscious field of grass for kids to play in; perhaps it is decorated with patio furniture and twinkly lights—or maybe you’ve filled it with garden beds for some homegrown tomatoes and herbs.
Having a well-kept yard can provide you with a pleasant outdoor space that is an extension of your home, and it can improve your curb appeal, which is especially important if you’re considering selling your home. However, before you really get into creating urban agriculture magic, explore sustainable options for conserving water and organize your backyard garden in a way that accounts for long-term garden goals.
Reduce Your Water Needs
Every year across the country, lawns consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Outdoor water use accounts for more than 30 percent of total household water use, on average, but can be as much as 60 percent of total household water use in arid regions.” In these cases, much of the water is wasted due to inefficient irrigation systems that do not evenly disperse water and allow it to be picked up by the wind.
So, before you purchase rolls of grass to plant across your lawn, consider how you can maximize your use of space in a way that will not require an excess of water. Sustainability organizations have begun to suggest material landscaping and flower gardens as these require less water and also provide more territory for bees and other pollinators.
If you’d rather stick with natural grass while cutting back on how much water you pour into maintaining it, consider minimizing your lawn space with some aesthetically pleasing rocks, flower beds and mulch covered gardens that will help retain water. Lavender and succulents are curb appeal classics that can fill out yard space easily and require significantly less water than a standard lawn. You can also conserve water with the sod you use. UC Verde Buffalo Grass, Dune Wedge, and Native California Bentgrass are all alternatives to standard sod that require about 50 percent less water than your average grassy lawn.
When in Doubt, Choose Food
Growing your own food can be a rewarding experience. You get the satisfaction that comes from taking care of something that takes care of you, and neighborhoods with an urban agriculture presence tend to have a growing sustainability culture. For prospective home buyers who are checking out the neighborhood, this is an appealing and progressive scene that can help them connect with a home.
So if you’re not sure which direction to go with your lawn, consider going green with neatly planted garden boxes instead of grass. Adding green home features is one of the best improvements you can make to your home, especially when those features add curb appeal.
By investing in some raised garden beds you can beautify your outdoor space with some vibrant blooms when the time comes to sell your home. Planting colorful flowers in an already attractive garden space is a great spring staging tip that can leave a lasting impression on any potential home buyer.
If you want to delve further into sustainable practices, transitioning to solar power is another great option. Installing a small amount of solar power can help reduce your home’s electricity costs and is often high up on the list of desired amenities for future home buyers when you decide to sell your home.
In fact, a study by Berkeley Lab found that homeowner-owned solar arrays are often being viewed as upgrades like a renovated kitchen or finished basement, with home buyers paying a premium of about $15,000. Adding solar panels can also help you sell your quicker. Another study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that houses with solar panels sold 20 percent faster than those without.
The return on investment and benefits of green home features will vary by region, market and many other factors. But if you’re a homeowner preparing for the selling process, ensuring your yard is gorgeous and sustainable can do wonders for receiving your asking price on a home. Take the extra step to conserve resources and make a positive impact on your community and the planet with your gardening habits and your home and future home buyers will thank you for it.