Landscaping as an investment

Your home’s landscape is an investment. Whether it is a good investment or a poor one is largely up to you.

Landscaping accounts for about 10% of the value of a fully landscaped home. It ranges from 5-15%, with the most value given to unique, functional, aesthetically pleasing landscapes in communities that cherish gardens. The least value is given to hodgepodge, poorly maintained yards. Therefore, it is vital to start with a quality landscape design. A quality design should meet your needs, accent beauty, and minimize maintenance.

How do you design in low maintenance? Space plants according to their mature size. Select varieties that are resistant to insects and diseases. Site plants where they will grow best, i.e. sun plants in full sun.

Improve soil with organic matter. Cover bare spots with 3″ 4″ of organic mulch. Keep lawns to a minimum; grass is typically a high maintenance plant. Provide easy access for irrigation. If you have a mature landscape, work with your landscape. Establish and mulch landscape beds around existing plants. In shady areas, use plants that thrive in shade, such as hostas. Designing a low maintenance landscape means that most of the time you spend in your gardens will be to improve or enjoy them.

When selecting plants for your yard, you should choose those with multiple benefits. That increases the likelihood that something beautiful will be seen throughout the year. Reap the benefits of gardens by using cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, fragrance, fall color, etc. These ”dividends” are benefits that have a real value to you, but do not reduce the value of your landscape when you use them.

How do you get the best return on your investment?

1) Hire a professional to do the design, unless you are well versed in the thousands of plants available, and their cultures. You are better off to let a horticulturist do the brainwork, which will pay for itself when you sell the home.

2) Do as much work as you can yourself. Many landscaping costs are reduced if you do the work. Sometimes up to 60% of savings. However, it is better to hire a professional to do any job that you cannot do with quality.

3) Time is your friend plant small. Small plants have less transplant problems and are less expensive. An additional benefit to buying small is that the values of the plants increase as they grow larger.

4) Use only quality plants. Locally grown plants will acclimate quickest in your yard and ultimately perform best in your garden. This will give you the best value for your money.

5) Budget 5-10% of your home’s value for landscaping. 7% or less is a good average. Higher percentages can be used if using unique gardens or hardscaping (patios, sidewalks, etc.).

6) Take photos of your yard to sell the year round beauty of your home.

These tips will help you maximize the return on your landscape investment in real dollars when you sell your home. In the meantime, you can reap the benefits of a beautiful yard.

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