A silver Asian bell hangs near the front door of this home, sheltered by a pergola of large redwood timbers. A wild garden of ornamental grasses and a covered seating area make this a peaceful and inviting place to come home.
Built-in planter boxes made of redwood give a young family easy access to vegetable and herbs in their backyard, surrounded by two- and three-story apartment buildings in San Francisco. The project by St John Landscapes won a 2015 award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Increase your home’s livable footprint by adding a wooden deck — and recoup around 80% of your investment. Wood is a less expensive choice than plastic composite materials and actually returns a greater percentage of the total project cost in increased home value. Pressure-treated pine is the cheapest and most common option, but spending a little more money for redwood or cedar gives you natural resistance to rot and insect damage without all the harsh chemicals. Tropical hardwood (such as ipé) is the priciest choice of all but is incredibly durable and beautiful.