For many a homeowner, there's no place like the yard. Some spend as much time creating the ideal outdoor space as they do on the indoors.
Lush gardens, in-ground pools, tiki bars, gazebos, sports courts, patios and decks -- either open air or shaded by awnings -- are a sample of what's out there. Some homeowners maintain landscapes themselves; others hire services to do so.
Either way, the landscape makes an impact when house-hunters view it, real estate agents say.
Tina Dougherty of Coach Realtors says she always gets a "wow reaction" when she shows the Blue Point house on these pages. Heather Bartholomew of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who is listing the Muttontown home featured here, says she was once told by a client that if a buyer approaches a house with beautiful flowering plants, it's like eye candy.
There is so much eye candy on the market. Here's a small sample.
Blue Point, 174 Atlantic Ave., $525,000
Tended by an avid gardener, this .55-acre property is filled with perennial gardens. Crocuses, daffodils, tulips and irises greet spring, while later blooms include Montauk daisies and tropical flowers from the Bahamas. Rose bushes and hydrangeas surrounding the pool are scattered about, says the listing agent. A cabana and pool house are also incorporated into the landscape. Out front, hostas flanking the path to the front door, as well as other plantings, lend curb appeal. The 10-room Colonial was built near the Great South Bay in 1900. Featuring wood floors and a wood-burning fireplace, the home has a living room, dining room and a family room with French doors that open to the yard. There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, including the master suite. Taxes are $13,924. Tina Dougherty, Coach Realtors, 631-807-5908
Muttontown, 102 Brookville Rd., $1,799,999
Rolling lawns, mature trees and many perennials define this two-acre landscape. Here you will find the "perfect Japanese Maple," and crepe myrtle, as well as hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, daylilies, rhododendrons, laurel, roses and phlox, says the listing agent. There's lots of holly, too -- some with a winter berry that turns vibrant red in the fall. In fact, the 14-room Colonial is referred to as Holly House. Inside, one is greeted by a two-story foyer with ashwood steps and a curved staircase with a cherrywood rail. Oak floors, high ceilings, moldings and three fireplaces are among the details. A butler's panty and a wine cellar are among the extras. All five bedrooms are en suite. There is also a half-bath. Taxes, including an additional village tax, are $26,200. Heather Bartholomew, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 516-637-1770.
Lloyd Neck, 3 Knoll Ct., $1.249 million
Backing the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, this flat two-acre property offers a seemingly endless vista of landscaping, says the listing agent, noting the preserve can be accessed through a private gate. The grounds -- dotted by mature trees and plantings -- are designed with an in-ground saltwater gunite pool, mahogany decking and bluestone patios with built-in seating. A firepit, when turned upside down, turns into a fountain. The scene can be enjoyed from inside the 12-room home, where there is a sunroom. Picture windows, glass doors, wood floors, moldings and skylights can be found throughout. It has five bedrooms, three baths and two half-baths. Taxes, including an additional village tax, are $26,207. Janine Gleusner, Signature Premier Properties, 516-637-4842
Montauk, 19 Gravesend Ave., $989,000
Beyond the gated entrance sits this three-quarter-acre property, which was landscaped by the owner, says the listing agent. There is a koi pond amid the mature trees, specimen plantings and green expanses with sprigs of color. Mahogany decks, pergolas and a bluestone patio are also incorporated into the design. (There's an outdoor shower and storage shed, too.) Interior features of the 1,600-square-foot ranch include wood floors, a gas fireplace, skylights and a sunroom. There are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Taxes are $5,049. Dana Forbes, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 917-620-3971
Valley Stream, 1110 Scott Dr., $549,000
Designed and maintained by one of the homeowners, this landscape has been a work in progress over the years. Junipers, ilex, barberry and the like are planted in the front and back. Stone gardens with statues and annuals are also displayed on the 60-by-100-foot lot. And even though the seven-room house has a new kitchen, it will be the gardens the other homeowner says she will miss most. Other interior features include wood floors, moldings and a wood-burning fireplace. The layout includes a living room, a formal dining room, a den and an office. There are three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. Taxes are $9,900. Lisa Dellipizzi, Franklin Gate Realty, 516-319-3647