Your home’s curb appeal has a big impact on its overall appearance and property value. While great curb appeal can increase the value of your home by thousands of dollars, the lack of it can decrease your property value, make your home look rundown and ill-maintained and turn away potential buyers if you decide to sell. By incorporating some beautiful landscaping ideas in NJ, you can create a front yard that adds character and style to your home and instantly boost curb appeal. Take a look at five great ideas that will have a major impact on your home’s appearance.
A New Paved Driveway
The right driveway will add beauty to your Northern New Jersey home and give your property a finished, well-maintained appearance. Depending on your existing landscape and budget, there are a variety of driveway landscaping ideas in NJ and materials to choose from including asphalt, concrete and stone. Asphalt driveways provide the most cost-effective solution and they offer many advantages. Because asphalt driveways don’t have a lot of heavy texture and pattern like brick and stone, they work well for any architectural style house. Because they are poured, they’re easy and fast to install for any type of landscape, including steep slopes and hillsides.
Hot-mix asphalt is a mixture of sand, stones, aggregate and liquid asphalt cement which is a petroleum product. Different sizes of aggregates are heated, then mixed into the liquefied asphalt at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the mixture is still hot, it is delivered to your home and poured on top of a prepared base. The mixture is troweled out to an even layer, then it cools and dries. With hot-mix asphalt, the mixtures cools and hardens quickly, so you can drive on it right away.
Asphalt pavement offers many benefits to Northern NJ homeowners, compared to other more costly materials and landscaping ideas in NJ:
- It’s cost-effective for smaller budgets
- It’s strong and durable for long-term use
- It’s engineered to withstand constant freezing and thawing without cracking
- Salting your driveway in the winter is safe, as asphalt is not affected by salt
- Asphalt pavement is designed to flex and give with ground settling or frost heave
- Asphalt pavement lends itself to easier underground repairs of utility and sewer lines with cheaper and quicker repairs than concrete and stone.
- Requires little maintenance
There are various types of hot-asphalt mixtures. Some mixtures are smooth on top, while others contain more asphalt cement creating more surface texture. There’s also a mixture that’s colored and imprinted to look like individual stone pavers. To ensure quality and consistency, work with a professional Bergen County landscape contractor who provides asphalt driveway design and installation services.
Asphalt driveways can also be designed using porous asphalt, a special mixture that lets water drain through the pavement. In areas with local impermeable surface codes, porous asphalt offers a durable, easy-to-maintain surface.
Full-depth asphalt driveways are built from the soil up, without a prepared base like hot-asphalt driveways. They are very durable and strong and don’t allow water to penetrate the pavement, so the driveway won’t swell in freezing temperatures. Unlike hot-asphalt pavement, full-depth asphalt is more time consuming and more costly to install because topsoil that contains clay may need to be removed or modified. This process requires a solid sub-grade with thorough compaction before asphalt can be applied. In many installations, a four-inch thickness may be adequate, but five or six inches will ensure a stronger, stable driveway for heavier loads and extreme climate conditions.
A Paving Stone Walkway
Paving stone walkways create beautiful accents for front yard landscaping ideas in NJ. They will quickly enhance your home’s curb appeal while providing safe, easy-to-maintain walkways from your driveway to your front door. Stone pavers are a versatile material that can be used to create a simple walkway that blends into your landscape or stands out as an elaborate entry walkway. Pavers come in a variety of shapes, colors and textures and can be laid to form a variety of patterns. Since they’re typically placed over a bed of compacted soil and gravel, you don’t have to worry about cracks like in other poured hard surface materials. Individual pavers are flexible with a lot of give that prevents cracking and chipping over time.
- Rustic Appeal – If your home has rustic style and features, tumbled stone pavers in muted colors are the perfect walkway solution. Tumbled pavers will give the appearance of expensive, aged stone, even if your walkway is brand new. By combining different shapes and sizes, you can achieve a look that feels natural and organic, even with a very straight walkway. Muted hues that mimic natural stone will create an expensive look on a modest budget.
- Traditional Charm – For a traditional home, brick pavers provide lots of charm and character that enhances traditional-style architecture and landscapes. Brick pavers have textural interest, and they can be installed in straight end-to-end patterns or diagonal patterns. When laid end-to-end, your walkway will create a simple, inviting entrance. When laid in diagonal patterns or with contrasting borders, brick pavers will create a more elegant approach to your front door.
- Contemporary Style – For homes with contemporary or modern features, stone or concrete pavers in earthy colors will provide a simple, clean look that enhances the architecture. Stone and concrete pavers come in many shapes and sizes and can accommodate both straight and curved walkways. You can create a sleek walkway that blends into your front yard landscaping, or create a stunning walkway by mixing shapes, colors and textures.
There’s no easier or quicker way to create stunning curb appeal for your home than with beautiful plants and flowers. Whatever the style of your home or size of your front yard, lush landscaping ideas in NJ with trees, shrubs and colorful blooms will reflect the appearance of a well-maintained home with great curb appeal. Plants will soften the hard edges of architectural materials on your house and hard surfaces on driveways and walkways. Lush green foliage will add texture and visual interest, while trees and shrubs will add depth and scale. Fragrant plants and flowers will add wonderful scents that welcome guests, as well as beautiful birds and butterflies to your front yard. By selecting a variety of plants that bloom at different times throughout the year, you can have vibrant color in your landscape year-round.
If your house is built from materials like stone, brick or clapboard siding, a front yard with lush greenery will add scale and texture, but it won’t compete with the architecture. A beautiful New England farmhouse or an old English Traditional style home will stand on its own merit. Select low plants, three feet tall or less, around the facade and entry way. This will draw attention to the beautiful features and details on the front of the house and the front door. When you’re dealing with truly stellar architecture, the garden is often secondary to the building. Seek a disciplined design with lush greenery that enhances your home’s style and details without overpowering it.
Homes with steep front yards can lack a visual appeal without the right landscaping ideas in NJ. Many homes with steep front slopes or view lots are often lacking landscaping due to erosion control problems. By planting the right plants, you can control soil erosion and irrigation problems and still create a front yard with great curb appeal. When planting, choose ornamental grasses and groundcovers that will stabilize the soil and hold water. Ornamental grasses like blue festuca and pennisetum will add tufts of color and provide height and interesting texture against smaller plants. Groundcovers like creeping sedum, creeping phlox and daylillies will cover your slope with vivid carpets of color.
When your front lawn demands too much water, it may be time to think about landscaping ideas in NJ using native plants that conserve water. Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes look great with drought-resistant New Jersey native plants like rose pogonia, goldcrest, sassafras and viburnum. There’s a wide variety of trees, shrubs, plants, vines and annuals and perennials that are drought-resistant natives to Northern NJ. When landscaping with native plants that are familiar with New Jersey climate conditions, you can conserve water and create year-round curb appeal with low-maintenance.
Custom Stone Work
Custom stone work can enhance the look of any style home and property and increase property value. It can add interesting texture and colorful details to different areas of your front yard. You can create garden borders, custom planters, retaining walls and decorative pathways in your landscape. Beautiful stone work can add custom features to your home and landscape that will certainly boost curb appeal. Whether your house is traditional or contemporary, or your front yard is hilly or flat, veneered and stacked stone landscape features will add high-end luxury.
Stone retaining walls and planters can be designed in virtually any thickness and height, although retaining walls over four feet high will require reinforced steel supports and footings. Custom stone work provides landscaping ideas in NJ for every type of landscape and prefabricated units can cut down installation costs. With a wide range of materials to choose from like concrete, stacked stone, flagstone, granite and marble, it’s easy to find the perfect material and color to compliment your home. For beautiful contrast, consider using stacked bluestone veneer with accent stones in earth tones like brown and rust within the wall.
Stone veneer retaining walls with planting behind them must be carefully designed and built by a professional landscape contractor. It’s important to prevent water and excess moisture from seeping into the stone. Over time, this will erode or weaken the wall’s core and mortar and discolor the face of the stone. When using stacked bluestone veneer with contrasting colored accents, stones must be hand-set by a professional stone mason to ensure strength and beauty without visible mortar.
Since many of us put in long hours at work, we don’t always get to enjoy our yards after dark. Soft lighting in a dark outdoor environment is nothing short of magical! Landscape lighting provides a warm, inviting ambiance that beckons us outdoors. It creates mood and drama and adds visual interest to the house and landscape. Landscape lighting is one of the most important aspects of curb appeal and one of the easiest ways to create beautiful landscaping ideas in NJ, yet it’s often overlooked or underdone by homeowners.
Proper landscape lighting allows you to highlight focal points and interesting features on your home and in your yard. It can also be used to enhance safety and security after dark and create a festive atmosphere for outdoor entertaining. Landscape lighting is more than just pointing a light fixture at a tree or walkway. Not only are there techniques and methods for creating good landscape lighting, but the wrong fixtures and wattage can quickly take ambiance and curb appeal away.
Landscape lighting comes in a wide variety of low-voltage, LED and solar fixtures in beautiful finishes that hold up well in outdoor elements. Fixtures like uplights and downlights are great for accenting trees, plants, garden beds and architectural features on your home. Pathway lights provide extra light and safety for walkways and pathways and create an inviting entrance. Motion detectors provide home safety alerts for unsuspected or unwanted visitors. For outdoor lighting and landscaping ideas in NJ that will create stunning curb appeal, talk to a Bergen County landscape professional who can help you with landscape lighting design and installation for your home.