Hey, it's natural to want your first home to be a sprawling property with plenty of yard space. Kids love big yards and pets do, too. Yards have curb appeal (when they look good), and are a nifty spot where you can enjoy an occasional barbecue with friends and neighbors -- the more the merrier, if you have the space.
The only problem with a big yard is that it needs maintenance -- lots of maintenance. The lawns you see in the gardening magazines that look like lush, outdoor carpets are hard work and expensive to keep up. They aren't kid- or pet-friendly, either. If you do invest the time and disposable income maintaining a large lot and well-developed landscape, don't expect to recoup all that money when you sell [source: Cortez].