Published July 2023, Updated March 2024

4 Pro Summer Landscaping Tips to Level Up Your Curb Appeal

How to get your yard ready for summer

Ah, summer — the long, warm days are ideal for fun in the sun and make it the perfect time to take on outdoor projects. Get ready to take your house from “meh” to “wow!” this summer season with these 4 pro landscaping tips:

1. Plan(t) to succeed

If you’re just starting the process of landscaping, it can be helpful to first visualize what you want your home's exterior to look like. A simple way to plan your curb appeal upgrades is to find inspiration from places like Pinterest and sketch out what your design will look like. You can also research what plants will do well in your climate zone and gather ideas for what you want to plant and where.

If you're looking for a more robust design process, you can take a photo of the front of the house or yard and put it up on a large screen. Place a piece of clear acrylic over the entire screen and secure it with painter’s tape—the adhesive won’t harm your TV or monitor. Next, use a dry-erase marker to sketch ideas for plantings directly on top of the image to get a clearer picture of how different heights and shapes will look before you head to the nursery.

Large trees like sycamores and oaks can be used to frame the home, while smaller ornamental trees—think Japanese maples and cherry trees—add visual interest and depth to a front yard. Professional landscape designers often plant evergreen or perennial shrubs like boxwoods or azaleas to hide unsightly foundation lines and provide a solid backdrop for smaller flowering annuals in front.

2. Draw the line (in your yard)

When judging how polished your home’s landscaping looks, the edges are a clear indicator. An unkempt front yard might have mulch or gravel bleeding onto the grass or walkways. Homes with refined landscaping have neatly defined borders between elements like garden beds, grass, and sidewalks.

One landscaping trick is to use a garden hose or temporary spray paint to outline the edge of a garden bed before pulling up sod or putting down mulch. Once your outline is in place, use trenching, plastic edging, or hardscaping (discussed further in the next section) to create a clean, defined border between beds, lawns, walkways, and driveways.

You can also consider using berms—ridges constructed of compacted soil, loose gravel, stone, or crushed rock—to further define garden beds.

3. Think hard(scaping)

If you’re not looking forward to the sweaty job of mowing this summer, try adding more hardscaping to your front yard. Hardscaping refers to any non-living element within your landscaping and encompasses things like gravel and retaining walls, as well as decorative accents like stone borders or split-rail fences.

Consider replacing mulched areas with pea gravel, especially in damp, shady areas that may be susceptible to mold. River stones can take the place of grass in low-lying areas, where they can also assist with drainage. Stepping stones can create a visually pleasing path through a garden, add stability and structure to high-traffic areas, and reduce the amount of dirt tracked indoors.

4. Get in the mood (lighting)

One of the highest-impact DIY landscaping ideas is good nighttime lighting. But just like landscaping, "lightscaping" requires planning. Think about which architectural or landscape features you’d want to highlight, how bright the lights should be, and how you’d direct the lighting to avoid shining it through windows or into the eyes of passing motorists.

When considering what to illuminate, don’t neglect driveways, walkways, stairways, and porches for added safety at night. Solar lights are easy to install along walkways and have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly, but they’re often dimmer than electric lights and may be less effective in poor weather conditions. If you choose electric lights, putting them on a timer can help reduce energy costs.

5. Be patient

Even with these easy landscaping ideas, it can take years for a newly planted landscape to fully mature, so our final pro tip is to be patient. In the meantime, you can immediately level up the curb appeal of your home entryway with a Level lock. Our products come in a variety of gorgeous finishes to match your home's existing aesthetic. They can instantly boost the value of your home — plus serve as a stylish complement to any and all of your landscaping upgrades.