Keep it simple
When trying to sell a house, "Carve out a nice, simple lawn area and mulch the bed," King says. "Limit the number of plants, and simplify the design so you don't have 200 different plants that people don't recognize and will be scared to take care of."
Design the yard with plants and grass that work well in your environment and that don't need a lot of water, fertilizer and pruning. "We're not in Fiji," King says. "We don't get 80 inches of rain a year. Take a plant that can grow in your area."
That also means knowing how the plant will grow before you buy it, says Lucco. "It looks good to people when they go to the nursery because they're in small, 1-gallon containers. And two years from now, they have a giant tree in front of their house."
A lush lawn that's well-graded and healthy is appealing, says King. "This is America. We love our lawns." He adds that the lawn doesn't have to be large as long as there's a focal point or play area. "Take care of it, and keep it beautiful."
Just like inside, remove outdoor clutter, which could include unrelated, different-size plants. King says sometimes he removes plants instead of adding more, and the landscaping looks better. "Life is chaotic enough," he says. "Landscape should be simple, elegant and beautiful."