A yard isn’t just about aesthetics or curb appeal. Landscapes—including backyards and green spaces around homes—should be purposeful. After all, they offer places for children and pets to play, act as outdoor living rooms, and are vital habitat and food for wildlife. Not to mention, numerous studies have shown the benefits of green space(link is external) to human health, including improved mood, lowered stress, increased fitness levels, and more.

Show off the landscape of a home this spring with these four tips:

Improve the outdoor living room with a balanced landscape mix.

Landscaping is a relatively easy improvement to a home that can make an immediate impact. Foliage creates a natural barricade between activity areas in the lawn, neighbors, and other spaces you want “cordoned off.” Grass can handle the wear and tear that comes with pets and kids. Flowering plants and bushes are not only pretty but are vital food for birds, bees, and butterflies. Take stock of how the yard will be used and choose a balance of grass, trees, shrubs, and flowers that meet those needs.

Choose plants based on climate zone for the biggest impact, best value.

Clients should choose plants that are right for their climate zone (refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map(link is external) for more information). This is the environmentally friendly choice, and they also save on water usage and are more likely to thrive in their native environment. Also, since grasses, trees, shrubs, and other plant life provide much-needed food and habitat for birds, insects, and small mammals, choosing the right plant for the right place helps native wildlife and creates a nature oasis in the backyard space.

Avoid toxic plants that can be harmful to pets.

Pets don’t know to avoid plants that are toxic to them, and many will eat plants that are not safe for consumption. For a complete list of plants to leave out of the living landscape when pets are in the picture, visit ASPCA’s list of nontoxic and toxic plants for dogs.(link is external)

Take advantage of lawn and landscape equipment.

Consumers have more choices in their outdoor power equipment than ever before, from robotic lawn mowers to connected products that can be managed with an app. Also, there is equipment for every need and job, including power choices. Gasoline-powered, battery/electric, propane, solar, and hybrid equipment is readily available in today’s market. Having and using the right equipment makes quick work of yard care.