Tim Johnson, a partner with Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design in Miami, offers this definition of landscaping luxury for homebuyers and homebuilders: “For landscaping, luxury is about being able to have a property that is an oasis and offers complete privacy. It’s as if you’re on your own island.” Since 2005, Wong Outdoor Living Design has designed landscapes and gardens for homes and commercial buildings across the nation and around the world.

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In 2017, Johnson says, “more and more, people want the outside of their homes to be an extension of the inside. People want outdoor rooms, elaborate outdoor kitchens and pool cabanas, and we’re seeing everything from outdoor pizza ovens to movie screens. People are taking their media rooms/family rooms and moving them outside.” Johnson adds, “It’s still about Florida, since it has no state income tax …. Overall it’s an incredibly strong market.”

HOW ARE HOMEOWNERS INVESTING IN THEIR HOMES’ EXTERIORS?

If you are looking to sell a home, raise its value, or simply make your outdoors attractive and comfortable, adding just a few elements can beautify a home’s exterior without breaking the bank. Those who are building a home should discuss their own ideas and their full range of garden and landscaping options with an experienced and reliable Florida homebuilder. But whether you’re building, selling, or you simply want to improve your current home, the following trends and tips for your home’s exterior may be helpful:

Consider some easy-to-create, special outdoor rooms. It could be something as simple as a fancy treehouse for the kids – or even the adults. Spacious gazebos, built-in fireplaces and fire pits, and outdoor kitchens are all quite popular and not necessarily that costly to add to what you own or what you’re building.

A multitude of interesting and beautiful plants and flowers are native to Florida and easy to obtain here. Original, tasteful yard decorations and creative works of art always add interest and atmosphere to a home’s exterior.

If you’re building, don’t forget about patios, porches, balconies, and terraces. Large wooden decks and spacious patios, fish ponds and waterfalls, stone wall designs and stone paths all contribute to the beauty of a home’s exterior.

Rooftop pools and gardens create outdoor living spaces that are functional, stylish, and often quite beautiful. If your custom home is in Texas, Just Right Lawns of Austin, Texas may be able to help.

The exterior lighting possibilities today are truly infinite. LED lighting is an inexpensive and easy way, for example, to add creative and colorful lighting to pools and pool areas.

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Glass “walls” and oversized windows help you bring the tranquility and beauty of the Florida outdoors into your home’s interior.

WHAT ARE SOME BASICS FOR IMPROVING A HOME’S EXTERIOR?

For some homeowners and potential sellers, simply beautifying the facades, landscaping the front lawn, adding some new plants and shrubs, and generally sprucing up the exterior can make a dramatic transformation. Keep the hedges pruned and the weeds pulled. Miami landscape designer Fernando Wong says, “Invest in landscaping. You need to see it as part of your joy to come back home to. Look at it as ongoing upkeep and invest in maintenance.”

Cleaning the windows and power-washing the sidewalks and driveways are always good ideas. Paint if you need to. Some homes will also need a little work to make the front door and entry way area appealing. Clean, paint, or replace your front door and tidy up what surrounds it. Even something as small as replacing the old welcome mat with a new one can make a genuine but understated difference.

If you’re thinking of building a home, you probably want open interior spaces, but you can extend that theme to the outdoors as well. In the newest luxury homes, the boundary between house and garden is often attractively blurred. Elegant fireplaces, fire pits, and high-tech outdoor kitchens allow a home’s garden or pool area to be functional and enjoyable every season of the year.

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Today’s smart technology even lets homeowners manage their gardens from the other side of the world. According to international landscape architect Hay Joung Hwang, “Now, garden owners can use their smartphone or tablet to control elements of the garden, such as lighting and irrigation, or to check up on the health of their plants and the moisture content of the soil, without actually having to be there.”

WHAT ABOUT WATER FEATURES?

Many who are building or buying a luxury home are asking for natural-looking pools with rock outcroppings, waterfalls, built-in slides, sun shelves, and more. If you build or add any water feature to your home – a pool, fish pond, fountain, or waterfall – make sure that it matches the scale and style of the home and the neighborhood. The cost, safety, and maintenance of water features are also important considerations, especially for families with small children.

Florida homeowners were among the first to understand the importance of environmentally-friendly homes. Green homes use less electricity and water, but greening a home is about more than light bulbs and insulation. Greening your exterior is just as important, but lawns are water hogs. Most lawns in Florida need 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week to stay green and lush, but how much your own lawn needs hinges on a number of factors such as the soil type, grass type, and amount of sunlight. You might consider xeriscaping, a style of landscaping that substantially reduces your watering costs while simultaneously beautifying your lawn.

Today, more Florida homebuyers are building their own homes, and at the moment – early in 2017 – new housing construction is rising in Florida. In an existing home, you can feel captive to a previous owner’s idiosyncrasies and tastes. Your own new house means that you choose your color scheme, flooring, cabinets, appliances, custom wiring – and, to a great extent, your own exterior.

In the end, of course, you’ll have to decide for yourself if building a new home in Florida or buying an existing home is the right choice for you. An experienced Florida homebuilder can discuss the options for your home’s exterior and help you make your dreams come true. It might not be your own tropical island, but you can create a genuine oasis of peace, tranquility, and privacy right outside your door, and you can probably do it for less than you think.