"What's nice about them is
the flexibility," Engstrom says. "You can have a water feature for a
small amount of money, or you can have an infinity-edge pool and fountain. You
can have a pot or rock with a bubbler just for the sound of water that doesn't
involve a lot of maintenance or safety issues. It's scalable. I think people love
the sound and look of water with soft planting."
Maca agrees: "Whether it be ponds or waterfalls
or statuary with water attached, water is a magnet in any landscape. It becomes
a focal point."
Not that swimming pools have fallen completely
out of favor, mind you. Realtors have reached an understanding with this love-it-or-leave-it
"People love pools, but it depends on the people,"
says Helfant. "There are people who wouldn't have one, wouldn't care for
one, and would avoid properties with them, just as there are people who go specifically
looking for homes with pools. Some people are neutral and will take one if it's
there. It's not an item you put in for resale; you provide for it."
means that if pools are hot in your area and your lot can accommodate one, have
a pool company quote you a price so that you can make that available to potential
buyers when you go to sell. That way, they can roll a pool into their financing
Trees add tranquility
another major aspect of landscaping that add instant character to any home. While
water may mask some of the noise from a busy street, trees can actually muffle
it by up to 50 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
is another reason mature trees are popular: reduced energy bills.
are going to start becoming more conscious of shade trees, because you can lower
the internal temperature in your house 15 degrees," Maca says.
coming trend: a return to patios.
"With decks, most everyone
had one, and most of them were designed on one level, rectilinear and not very
exciting," says Maca. "Now we're putting in combinations of walls, stone
and patios that connect to a deck, and you have three or four interesting spaces.
When we talk about creating that outdoor living area, we talk about several subspaces,
one for cooking, one for visiting. Fire pits are popular for these. The indoor-outdoor
connection is really important, and a designer can help you make that connection."
If you're all thumbs when it comes to landscaping, you
may wish to consult a professional who does it for a living. For quality help
in arriving at a landscaping plan that will make your home pop, you have two choices:
a landscape designer or a landscape architect.