What are some good, actionable landscaping ideas you can start implementing to increase the value of your property? It’s no secret that homebuyers are more drawn towards homes with attractive and well-kept yards. A house with good landscape design not only increases curb appeal (the appearance of a house when seen from the sidewalk), it also gives the impression of an overall well-maintained house, adorns the neighborhood, and adds a leisure place of natural beauty for the family.
So, we thought we’d put together an article with useful tips and landscaping ideas to help make your yard look fantastic!
Before we get down to the list, there are a few things you should consider regarding landscaping and how it can increase the value of your property:
According to a study by a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, Alex X. Niemiera, landscaping definitely increases property value. The research revealed that homes with well-designed landscaping were priced 5-12% higher than homes with poor, or no landscaping. Say your home’s worth about $200,000, that’s an extra $10,000 to $24,000 in value!
Not only is it a fact that good landscape design will add immediate value to your home, but contrary to gadgets that are bound to decay, or interior design concepts that will sooner or later become outmoded, well-maintained greenery will grow fuller as the years go by, thus adding even more value to your home in the long run.
Of course, landscaping is much more than planting a random tree here or there and scattering a few flowers across your yard. According to the research at Virginia Tech, homebuyers focus mainly on elegance, volume, maturity and diversity when evaluating landscape designs.
Having a comprehensive landscaping plan is paramount if you want to maximize your return on investment. Even if you can’t or won’t hire a professional, Money magazine says you can still get an expert-like design for an investment of $500 to $3000 in materials (depending on the size of your yard).
In general, the amount of money you spend on landscaping should be relative to the size and value of your home. This implies that, potentially, higher-priced homes have a better chance at improving their value through a landscape upgrade.
If landscaping adds 5-12% to your home’s value, then a good rule of thumb for a quick return-on-investment would be to spend between 5-10% of your home’s value on landscape design, which is in-line with the American Society of Landscape Architects’ recommendations.
That means a $10,000-$20,000 upgrade for a home valued at $200,000.
Landscaping upgrades can range from basic softscaping projects, like mulching a colorful flower bed or planting a small garden, to more advanced structural features, like installing fences, concrete borders, garden paths, terraces, or decks. Keep in mind that hard landscape materials (i.e. paved areas, retaining walls, walkways, etc.) may be included in your landscape investment, and these materials can be costly.
Also, if you do plan on installing permanent structures, it’s always good advice to get guidance from a licensed professional before you begin.
Here is our pick of the most practical and useful landscaping ideas you can carry out around your yard to increase the value of your property:
Making sure that your garden design matches the style of your home is the best way to ensure the best return on investment. Say you own a Colonial-style home with a French-style garden, not only would the garden be inadequate, it could even lower the selling price of your home, instead of adding to it.
If you own a Victorian home, a country or cottage-style landscape will blend in smoothly with the conservative look of your home.
For industrial and other modern home styles, go with a modern design with lots of greenery and flower beds that will adapt to the contours of your home, avoid squares, formal-looking gardens and abundant airy blossoms.
If you own a Victorian home, a country or cottage-style landscape will blend in smoothly with the conservative look of your home. For industrial and other modern home styles, go with a modern design with lots of greenery and flower beds that will adapt to the contours of your home, avoid squares, formal-looking gardens and abundant airy blossoms.
On that same note, try to have enough plant diversity without going overboard. Ideally, your design should have a good mixture of shrubs and perennials (plants that last longer than two years), but it shouldn’t have an extravagant variety of species randomly spread out across the yard.
Keep it simple, try to have enough variety to make it alluring, but don’t limit yourself so much that your design becomes dull.
Out of all these landscaping ideas, the quickest thing you can do to improve your lawn is to mow and edge it. Well-defined edges will make your lawn look gentle and discreet, which in turn, will give it the appearance of requiring little maintenance.
How high and how often you mow will affect your lawn’s overall health and appeal. Ideal mowing heights will vary by grass type, but try cutting no more than one third of the grass blade in any given mowing session. Grass clippings are full of nitrogen and other nutrients, so just leave them on the lawn and they will help you reduce your need of fertilizer by as much as 25%.
Very much like men get a shave after getting a haircut, trimming and edging are the final touches of mowing. Edging is the vertical cut, trimming is the horizontal cut, and each requires different tools, pieces of equipment or attachments.
The purpose of edging is to prevent grass from growing beyond your yard’s boundaries; the purpose of trimming is to make sure that the grass is evenly cut at the same height.
Always remember to wear safety goggles, gloves, long pants, boots, and earplugs when mowing your lawn.
If your lawn has unsightly patches, or has completely browned-off, then it might be time to reseed. Try to avoid doing this during the early summer, as you might find yourself using too much water, in an attempt to save dying plants from excessive heat.
Early fall would be the best time to restore a patchy lawn, due to high soil temperatures which promote quick seed germination.Some people ignore that the most important part of a lawn isn’t the grass, but the soil underneath it. When shopping for soil, you want loose and dark soil, full of decomposing organic material. You can look to sites like SafeLawns.org for a range of organic, non-toxic fertilizers.
Plant your seeds as soon as the ground thaws, and choose a species of grass that will work well with your climate and soil type.Make sure to water in the morning and again at noon when seeds have just been planted, but be careful not to over-do it. If you avoid puddles at the surface, grass roots will grow deeper to find water.
Lastly, typical healthy lawn practices include leaving your grass about 3 inches tall, providing about 1 inch of water per week, and mulching whenever possible. Check out the following YouTube video for more lawn care tips:
You can weed and mulch your garden beds to help make them look well kept and low-maintenance.Make sure to weed carefully before mulching. Pull weeds out while they’re young and before they develop seed heads to make the job easier over time. Two inches of mulch around your plants will help prevent weed seed germination, which will reduce the amount of weeds in your landscape.
Mulch also aids soil moisture retention and helps regulate soil temperature. Instead of going with the common gardener choices, like sugarcane and lucerne, choose utility mulch such as forest fines or pine bark.
Utility mulches like these look tidier and will improve the overall appeal of your landscape.
Trees add beauty and a sense of peace to your home and neighborhood, they help remove pollution from the air and can also help reduce air-conditioning needs by 30% and shield against winter winds when properly placed around buildings. Not only that, but according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can have an appraised value of $1,000 - $10,000!
Even a few plain trees can boost the value of your home significantly. Studies have shown that merely living on a street lined with broad trees can add 10-15% to the value of a home, in comparison with streets with less trees. Of course, you’ll want to avoid weak trees and those that are prone to disease or plagues.
Lastly, planting trees is also one of the easiest home improvements you can make to increase property value, organic arborist Howard Garrett recommends following these 6 simple when planting trees:
This is especially useful in urban areas, where snoopy neighbors and noisy roads can have a negative impact on potential home buyers. You can address such shortcomings with noise-blocking plants or “green” walls.
Broadleaf evergreen shrubs are very effective noise reducers that will work well all year round. Choose plants with thick and solid branches that grow all the way to ground level, like junipers or hollies. You can also use plants along a wall for combined noise-reduction effectiveness.
Green walls can turn a regular garden into a cozy nook to relax in private, or enjoy a nice cup of tea with a friend. They are also much more cost-effective than solid walls and provide beautiful seasonal displays of colorful flowers and berries. For small areas, go with columnar shrubs with small leaves or needles that can be easily trimmed, rather than arching bushes that can outgrow the area quickly. In larger settings, go with large fast growing needled evergreens like arborvitae and allow them to grow to their full size.
An overflow of spring blossoms won’t impress potential buyers if they look at your home when it isn’t spring. Add flower beds for the summer, bright leaved shrubs during the fall, evergreens in the winter, and budding flower bulbs for spring. The seasonal balance will be noticed by prospective homebuyers and they’ll imagine how stunning the home will look throughout the entire year.
Be sure to choose appropriate plants for your region. The secret to a year-round garden resides in knowing which species will perform well in your region and when they look best. To achieve seasonal balance, try to choose at least two types of plant species that will bloom together during each season.
Decks are great for cookouts, relaxation and outdoor entertainment; moreover, decks provide a living area at a much lower price than an enclosed extra space. While an enclosed addition can cost anywhere between $100 and $250 per square foot, you’ll be paying between $25 and $35 per square foot for a well-built deck.
You can use a design-aid website like Deckorators, or buy a ready-made deck plan, but bear in mind that a great deck design will consider location, size, your budget, local building restrictions and necessary/unnecessary features.
To ensure the best return on your investment, checkout decks around your neighborhood and try to “fit in”; neither make it less than what’s expected, nor way too extreme for your local market.
If you live in an arid area where water restriction initiatives are popular, a lush, green yard might not be a realistic goal, but there’s hope! Xeriscaping is a landscaping method designed for dry environments which can reduce water usage for landscapes by 60% or more. It uses native, drought-resistant plant species that don’t require a lot of water and are easy to maintain. Instead of having an unsightly brown yard, you can have an attractive, lavish oasis with several drought-tolerant plants.
Given that xeriscaping is open to the use of native plants, you can choose from a wide range of plant varieties from your region. Apart from plant selection, the other essential principles of xeriscaping are: planning and design, soil improvement, practical turf areas, use of mulch watering and maintenance. For more information about each of these principles, check out this useful video:
Sure, everyone enjoys the idea of having a fancy, refreshing pool in their backyard, but it may not be worth the investment. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry affirms that the return on investment for a swimming pool is only 39%. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, you will only get back 10-40% of your investment on a swimming pool.
Aside from yielding a low return on investment, many homebuyers consider a swimming pool a hassle, given the time and money required to maintain it. Most homebuyers even request to have them filled in, in order to avoid the maintenance costs. Lots of parents believe that a swimming pool is an accident or a lawsuit waiting to happen and would much rather have a green area for their children.
So, while all that splashy fun may seem great, a backyard swimming pool may have no resale value whatsoever.
A good landscape design requires careful thought and consideration. Prospective buyers can usually tell if you just added a few trees to the yard to get the sale, or if you didn’t plan the design at all. Young trees can often look weak and scanty and trigger an undesired effect on homebuyers; it’s the mature, well-planned gardens that make the difference.
If possible, try to plan at least 12 months in advance, and consider selling when your garden is most alive and colorful. Decide on which parts of your yard you want to improve and break the project up into phases. Collect landscape images, study the neighborhood, visit garden centers and make a list of plants that you find interesting, and decide on whether or not you’re going to hire someone. Trust me, the wait will have been well worth it.
While do-it-yourself landscaping projects can be a fun way to learn new skills while adding value to your home, there may be some tasks which are too overwhelming for the average homeowner.
For instance, if your property has potential engineering problems like drainage issues or steep slopes, it might be a good idea to seek help from a landscape architect or designer.
If you’re enthusiastic and like to get your hands dirty, you can hire a pro to take care of specialized tasks only and do the rest yourself.
Most people steer away from professional consultation due to budget limitations, but keep in mind that hiring the right professional can protect your investment and ensure the success of your project, while helping to prevent stop-work orders due to lack of proper permits or building code violations. Always be sure to ask for credentials and references and never make your decision based solely on price.
Adequate outdoor illumination helps you get the most out of your landscaping investment, as you’re able to display its beauty beyond sundown. However, lighting needs to be done in a smart way.
There are options like Malibu and other low-voltage landscape lighting solutions that are both, inexpensive and easy to install.
Due to the fact that it’s solar-powered, Malibu lighting is especially well-suited for outdoor areas. Its seamless installation helps you avoid the hassles of having messy electricity cords spread across your yard.
What's more, most Malibu lights are of the low-voltage range, which helps reduce operational costs significantly, while providing a smooth, aesthetically-enhancing luminescent glow. They are also eco-friendly and less risky than traditional outdoor lights.
These convenient lights can be purchased in DIY kits with lighting units, wiring and controls designed to work as a system, and there is a wide variety of models available for different types of landscape applications.
There are many materials to choose from when it comes to residential retaining walls, but the best type for you will depend on three main factors: purpose, look and budget.
While a poorly designed sprinkler system can help keep your garden green, it may be using much more water than needed to accomplish this. Many sprinkler systems are fundamentally flawed, and it is therefore very important that you understand the basic principles of high-quality, low-consumption irrigation systems to make a wise purchase. Consider the following 5 key points:
A great way to have a low-maintenance, yet natural yard is to switch to a “no-mow” grass. These types of grass save you the trouble of having to mow, weed, aerate, thatch and ressed and also require less water than traditional grass species.
There are several types of low-maintenance turf grasses. For example, the new “miracle” blends feature lush blades that require little to no water once established through the use of thin blades and long, non-invasive roots.
The No Mow Lawn Mix and Eco-Lawn are great alternatives for open, sunny areas where it would be difficult for conventional grass types to thrive. Sedges require little to no mowing, fertilizing and chemicals and many thrive even in the shade.
The cost of these mixtures is equivalent to that of traditional grass. For instance, if you grow No Mow Lawn Mix from seed, the cost ranges between $3.75 to $5.95 per pound; per 1,000 square feet, you’ll need five pounds, which equates to approximately 2 cents per square foot.
As you can see, there are many ways of increasing your property’s value through landscaping. There are many plausible DIY projects out there, but I also want to emphasize on the value of professional advice, as a seasoned professional can always draw upon experience to provide the best guidance for your next landscaping project.
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