Frank and Debbie Sheppard built their home thirteen years ago. Like many homeowners, they spent much time designing a custom home but ran out of creativity when it came to landscaping. For all those years, they had been living with the typical boxwoods around the house’s foundation and pine trees scattered throughout the yard. One day, Debbie decided it was time to call in someone who had an eye for landscaping creativity and the vision to put it all together.

And that began my long relationship with this family. Together, we have renovated the front and backyards, removing the plants that were scraggly, dying, or not loved in the front landscape and replacing them with healthy sod and more color. Debbie told me, “We love greenery and plants but want more color. We need something more interesting.”

Debbie has very specific ideas about what she likes, and that’s one recommendation I’d like to make to all of my clients: Know what you love, such as low maintenance, freeform shapes, or structured shrubbery, so the landscape professional can deliver not just the plants that do the job, but the plants that do the job in a way you absolutely love. Debbie figured out early on in the process that she preferred structured plants and not wild creepers reminiscent of English gardens.

We started by transforming the frontyard, adding curb appeal with the careful selection of more interesting trees, such as the mature hollies and Rose of Sharons we put in front and along the walkway.

The Rose of Sharon is a beautiful spring and summer bloomer that takes the place of the typical crape myrtle you see in almost every yard, and it can be maintained in the appropriate size. Trees are an area of focus in frontyards. Just as in the Sheppard’s case, once many trees are mature, they start to take over the landscape and hide the house, creating a negative impact on curb appeal. Removing these obtrusive plants and adding ones that are correctly scaled is one of the best ways to increase visual appeal.

Another smart way the Sheppard family and I have partnered together is by tackling their large yard in stages. One of these stages involved replacing diseased junipers with mature holly trees as a natural screen to create privacy around the pool. The next stage we will implement is adding a ten-foot border of color between the backyard and the golf course.

By working in stages, your yard can experience the same wonderful results and spotlight your home to its best advantage.

David Payne is the owner of HOME & GARDEN LANDSCAPES and can be reached at 919-801-0211 or HOMEANDGARDENLANDSCAPES.COM.