When it comes to gorgeous landscapes, no state compares to Colorado. But rugged mountains are the opposite of what you want in your residential landscape — although a view of some would be nice. The choices you make for your yard affect your curb appeal and property value. Here are a few landscaping trends sure to increase the value of your Colorado home.

Lower Maintenance Means Higher Offers

Less is often more for today’s buyers. When you’re choosing outdoor upgrades, stick to low-maintenance landscaping. Native plants and hardy native grasses thrive in our dry climate. And they require less upkeep than species from other areas. A xeriscaped yard isn’t necessarily filled with rocks and cactus; rather, it’s landscaping that requires little water. Denver Water coined the term in the late 1970s when water was scarce. Native flowers and hardscaping features will give you an enviable yard that needs little care. When it comes time to put your home on the market, your low-maintenance choices both in and outside the house will mean a faster sale and higher selling price.

Outdoor Areas Add Living Space

Square footage is one of the most influential factors when setting a price for a house. One effective way to increase the value is by converting outdoor areas into additional living space. Of course, adding a patio or outdoor kitchen can get expensive. If you plan carefully and work with a contractor who knows the market, these upgrades will pay for themselves.

Colorado’s comfortable summer weather makes spending evenings outdoors a pleasure. It’s no surprise backyard fireplaces and fire pits are trending right now. The warmth of a crackling fire allows you to enjoy your yard year-round. Even a little snow won’t put a damper on that holiday party when you invite guests to roast marshmallows or chestnuts over an open fire.

Add an Outbuilding

Another trend that increases the value of a Colorado home? More storage space. Add a shed or similar outbuilding. From woodworking to gardening to backyard games, an outdoor storage or work area adds convenience. It’s great for hobbies and increases the value when it’s time to sell.

Exterior Lighting

Open houses usually take place during the daytime, but many buyers schedule showings at night. Exterior lighting makes it easier for them to see your address and all the landscaping you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

Outdoor lighting deters burglars, but landscape lighting looks great and adds safety. Accent lighting around the walkway, gardens, and around key spots throughout your yard highlights your property’s best features. Like any project, exterior lighting can range from inexpensive to pricey. But you don’t have to spend much on solar or LED lights that offer lots of impact.

Updates to Avoid

Not every landscaping project offers a good return on investment. Your property value goes up when your home offers features buyers find desirable. Avoid those catered to a niche market. For example, adding a patio or deck is a plus, because almost everyone enjoys having an outdoor living space. A koi pond or swimming pool, on the other hand, will appeal to a much smaller segment of the population. This makes it less likely for you to recover its installation cost.

It’s also a good idea to keep all improvements in line with the rest of the homes in your neighborhood. A high-end outdoor kitchen in a neighborhood where houses boast few luxury features is unlikely to net you a high return on your investment. It could even make your property harder to sell.

By Amy Okafor. Amy loves a good landscape, and seeks inspiration for the one in her backyard by visiting every one she can in her travels. She writes about gardening and landscaping for a variety of local and national publications. For more information visit lawnstarter.com.