Landscaping tips from outdoor design and lifestyle expert Carson Arthur

April 10, 2018 Sara Audrain



Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer who has been helping homeowners raise the value of their homes through outdoor renovations and maintenance for 15 years. You may recognize him from the HGTV’s hit show Home to Win and Home to Win 2. He is also frequently featured on the Discovery Channel, CityTV, and Global.

We chatted with Carson about how you can improve your home through landscaping ­– specifically when it comes to preventing home and property damage.

How did you become interested in landscaping?

Design for me has always been about manipulating spaces so that they meet a homeowner’s needs, but to do it in a way that looks natural, or feels like it was always meant to be. Too often we see residential landscapes that looked like they were ‘dropped’ into an area without any attention to how the shapes and materials impact the feel of the space. My goal is to raise awareness that every single design impacts how we use our outdoor areas, the environment and also the value of our homes.


Beyond creating a beautiful outdoor living space, what are the other reasons to have a well-landscaped property?

Landscaping adds value to our homes. Plain and simple! We see an increase of 15-20% in resale value for homes that are landscaped. If you can create outdoor living areas with purpose, like a deck or covered patio perfect for dining alfresco, buyers resonate with that and it helps to expand the usable square footage of your home.

A well-designed landscape can also help to prevent home and property damage. Our homes are exposed to the outdoor elements and landscaping continues to protect our homes. Grading and drainage can prevent flooding and tree pruning can help prevent roof and window damage.

Do you have any tips for homeowners when it comes to creating landscaping that can help prevent home or property damage?

If you’re a DIY landscaper, here are three things you should keep in mind when working on a project that can affect the safety of your home:

  • When creating a cement pad or patio, always make sure that you have a 2% slope away from the home. Without this, you can create a flooding situation with all of the run-off going into your foundations or even right through the door. Another option is to use paving stones. The gaps between the stones create a permeable surface, allowing excess water to escape.
  • Not all retaining walls are created equal. When trying to build raised beds or walls that hold back soil, you should always use a sloped or stepped back system instead of a vertical wall. Walls built ‘straight up’ are not as strong or as capable of holding back large amounts of soil when it starts to erode, especially when we’ve had large amounts of rainfall.
  • Never plant gardens, shrubs, or trees next to the wall of your home. These plants often struggle in a space where the overhang of the roof prevents them from getting water and they will send out roots, looking for any water source nearby. Instead, leave a two-foot band of river rocks around the perimeter of your home. It helps with drainage and gives the roots of your foundation plants room to grow.

    Even with great landscaping, it’s important to keep your home protected. Find out how a home insurance policy through Johnson Insurance can work for you.


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