Should I install a rock garden?


Dear David,

We were in Niagara-on-the-Lake last weekend. While touring on electric bikes, we saw a home that had its entire front yard done up in a combination of rock garden, spectacular flowers, and plantings. The overall effect was so beautiful stopped to take a closer look. On our way back from Niagara, my husband and I talked about how a rock garden could eliminate a good portion of our grass-cutting work. We live on a large lot, which up until now has featured empty grass for lack of inspiration. Would this type of update be a good landscaping investment? – GARDEN ENVY

DEAR GARDEN: It sounds like you and your husband had a wonderful weekend away. There’s nothing like a lazy afternoon and fresh inspiration to fill a homeowner’s mind with thoughts of what “could be”. I think you’re on the right track about sprucing up a plain property, but would recommend a slightly different approach. 

It sounds like your current yard is a blank slate, which might seem perfect for some, but a bit boring for others. Think of your property as an elegant evening gown. Its beauty can be highlighted by a piece of statement jewelry and the right pair of shoes, but at the same time, it’s easy to go overboard. 

It sounds like the gardens of the house you saw were expertly designed and beautifully kept. I suspect this may have taken many hours of work, as intricate gardens like these typically take a lot of maintenance. While it’s true that you would have less grass to cut, the net result may be more work rather than less, which might be unexpected if you’re somewhat new to gardening. 

I’ve seen multiple front yards turned into rock gardens with plantings over the years. From what I’ve seen, the majority tend to be somewhat overgrown and fail to serve the intended purpose of beautifying the home. Rather than exhausting your entire landscaping budget turning your front yard into a rock garden, I recommend creating several garden features throughout your property.

PRO TIP: Before you make a major decision, take a look around your neighbourhood. In the housing market, standing out and making a statement can sometimes be effective, but there is always risk involved – you don’t want to be the landscaping equivalent of a brightly-coloured house that doesn’t fit into its surroundings. Part of my job as a Realtor is to advise clients on what is likely to bring the greatest return on investment when they’re ready to sell. I’ve had a few clients remove “statement” front gardens and re-sod the lawn before selling their home, as a full-frontal rock garden may be overwhelming for buyers from a visual and labour perspective. For a palatable balance of lawn vs. landscaping, your neighbours can likely provide a healthy dose of inspiration. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.