Busy moms often love the convenient one-level living that low-slung ranch style homes offer. When it comes to landscaping, however, these homes present some challenges. Many of the ranch style homes were built in tracts, and therefore have little space between each other and little difference in appearance. Built close to the ground with low ceilings and roofs, ranch-style homes can easily be dwarfed by large trees. With a little planning, though, a landscape can add unique beauty to your ranch home.
If your ranch home is situated too closely to your neighbors to suit you, you can use landscaping to create a sense of privacy in your yard. Umbrella bamboo (Fargesia murielae), U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 10, grows quickly and creates a visual and audio barrier from those nearby. Green Panda bamboo (Fargesia rufa "Green Panda"), USDA zones 5 to 10, grows up to 8 feet tall, a nice height that won't tower over a single-story ranch. Both varieties are clumping bamboos that are non-invasive and won't take over your yard.
Another way to create privacy is to plant one or more rows of hedges. Boxwood bushes (Buxus "Green Velvet"), USDA zones 5 to 8, grow to a maximum of 4 feet and offer a dense view-blocking growth. Golden privet bushes (Ligustrum "Vicaryi"), USDA zones 5 to 8, grow quickly and attracts butterflies but require regular trimming to prevent them from reaching their maximum height of 12 feet.
When it comes to choosing trees for your yard, take into consideration the low height of your home. Rather than choosing towering trees that miniaturize your home, select those that reach a height of 15 to 30 feet. At this height, they'll still provide shade to a one-story home and flatter the style of the home as well. Small trees can also be used to add a pop of color to your yard. The Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), USDA zones 4 to 8, grows to 30 feet and blooms into a burst of pink flowers in the spring. A bean tree (Laburnum x watereri "Vossii"), USDA zones 5 to 7, also known as a golden chain tree, produces yellow flowers and grows to a maximum height of 30 feet.
Fountains and Statues
When your home is surrounded by houses of a similar nature, you can implement landscape features that set your ranch apart from its neighbors. Outdoor fountains and statues offer a way to add a touch of class to your outdoor space and distinguish it from nearby homes. Items made from resin are lightweight and allow you to move them easily when you want to change their position in your yard. However, statues and fountains made from stone, cement and brass tend to weather the elements better over a long period of time. Whenever moving fixtures, use your legs not back to lift, and if it's heavier than you are accustomed to lifting, enlist a helper.
If your ranch home is several decades old, strategic lighting can illuminate it at night and create a modern look. Install lights in the ground to illuminate specific features of your home. Point them toward the front of the house to light up the exterior facade or focus them on specific plants, trees and flowers to highlight their beauty. Install a lamppost in a style that complements the exterior of the home and use it to illuminate the path to your front door.