As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is just as true for houses as it is for people. If you are in the market to sell your home, or just want to make sure you are making sound financial decisions when upgrading, well-done landscaping can actually increase the value of your home as much as 20%. There are, of course, some basic guidelines you’ll want to follow along the way.
How much to invest is often the first question people ask and, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), you should invest about 10% of your home’s total value in landscaping. To be clear, landscape architecture is more than plants and softscape; it can also include structural features, such as:
Outdoor kitchens, terraces, and other hardscaping are also high-yield investments. A good landscape architect will work with you to create a detailed plan that works for you.
The Lay of the Land(scape)
If you are planning a landscape renovation, it’s a good idea to begin with a property assessment. An arborist will be able to tell which of your trees are dying and which ones will be fine with a little TLC. A landscape architect can help you choose the plants and flowers that are the best fit for your climate and—not to be overlooked—your lifestyle.
Some other areas that a landscape architect may point out for development can include:
Outdoor Rooms One of the most popular trends in landscape architecture right now is an outdoor room. Sometimes, it’s a kitchen. Sometimes, it’s a patio that functions as an outdoor living space, as well. When done properly, such features act as a link between the indoors and outdoors, giving more “space” to your home and promoting a more natural environment.
One of the biggest mistakes we see homeowners make when it comes to landscaping is that their ambition is greater than their available time. What ends up happening is that several parts of a “big picture” are started, but some are not finished; some are not done as well as they could be because of a lack of time for completion; and, some things just don’t match. As a result, the yard is a collection of disparate, half-finished ideas that, collectively, look confused. One of the greatest benefits of working with a landscape architect is that you can start with a clearly-defined plan, a strategy, and a timeline… all within an agreed upon budget.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
One part of your landscaping project you’ll want to keep in mind is the aftercare that keeps your yard looking great. This means maintenance. A landscaper can work with you to create a maintenance schedule. If you don’t have the time for the maintenance—and this is where you really need to be honest with yourself—it would be wise to hire a landscaping maintenance company to keep your new landscaping investment looking its very best. If you don’t think you will have much time for maintenance, it would also be wise to share this with your landscape designer during the planning phase, as it can influence the type of vegetation used in the project. Some vegetation requires less maintenance and that might be a better fit for you if you are pressed for time.
It’s worth remembering that the entire project doesn’t have to happen at once. With a strategy worked out, you could have a three-year plan or a five-year plan that incorporates new elements each season in a cohesive manner that looks appealing and organized. This is sometimes an option for those with a close eye on budget, but still want to complete a more ambitious landscaping project.
Can You Establish a Direct ROI for Landscaping?
Trying to pre-determine an exact return on investment for a landscaping project isn’t always an exact science. While the data confirms a significant ROI does exist, trying to pinpoint it in every case can be a bit like trying to hit a moving target.
John Gidding from HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” said that clients on that show invested $20,000 into landscaping and got back $200,000 more than what they originally paid for the home just one year earlier. He admits, however, that this is a bit of an outlier, but still possible. He advises homeowners to take the architectural style of the home into consideration and work with a landscape architect to create a plan that best complements that style.
Ways to Freshen Up Your Existing Yard
If your yard is already getting a little out of hand, some basic cleanup would be a good place to start. This can include pruning shrubs and trees, as well as some weed whacking. It’s best to handle the weeds before they go to seed and become an even bigger problem. A gluten pre-emergent herbicide, when applied in spring, should help kill weeds before they take root. (Weeds hate gluten.)
Beyond pruning and weeding, using a rake to turn over your mulch to give it some volume also helps your yard to look freshened up.
Patio Additions Pay Off If you haven’t yet considered a patio or outdoor living space, you should. We mentioned earlier that this option is becoming more popular as of late, and for good reason. Not only can it greatly enhance your ability to enjoy your home and yard, it also increases your home’s resale value. According to a 2018 article by houselogic, an average patio cost of $6,400 yields an ROI of 102% ($12,928). Further, wood decks tend to be more expensive but yield a greater ROI. For a wood deck costing $9,450 the average ROI is 106% ($19,467).
Trees are a Timeless Investment
While well-cultivated flower beds certainly have appeal, so do trees. In addition to their stoic appearance, trees offer a host of benefits, as well. When planted in the right locations, trees offer shade. More than just being a reprieve from the summer sun, that shade can actually help lower your energy bills, too. And while most things in life lose value over time, trees actually gain value over time! If you were to plant a $10 sapling now, it could add $1,000 to $10,000 to your home’s value when it matures.
If you are content playing the long game for increasing your home’s value, affordable smaller trees are the way to go. If you have your eye towards selling in the next five years, you’d be better off planting larger trees. Yes, they cost more, but you’ll get the full benefit of them faster than you would with saplings.
Plant a Bouquet of Flowers
Pretty flowers can certainly dazzle. The ones with the most color, however, are usually annuals (plants that live just one year). If you go all in on annuals, you’ll find that you need to replant every spring. The solution is to also include perennials, which can live for several years.
Let’s be honest, landscaping can require a lot of attention. Unless gardening is your passion, you likely don’t want to be replacing all of your flowers every year. So, remember to work with a combination of annuals and perennials.
Beyond that, consider flowers of different shapes, colors, heights, etc. and those that bloom throughout the course of the year, so something new is always popping up. Some examples would include salvia bushes which bloom a vibrant purple in summer, as well as a Euonymus alatus, which is a bush that delivers a brilliant red foliage in autumn.
A well-planned landscaping endeavor can add years of enjoyment to your home, as well as substantially increase its resale value. To get the most from your investment, work with a certified landscaper to develop a plan based on your yard and your desires. In doing so, you can be assured you’ll get just want you want and a high-quality installation on a timeline that works for you. If/when you decide to sell your home, you’ll find the investment more than worth it.
To get the most out of your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers professional landscaping services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.