The value of landscaping is truly in the eye of the beholder – one person’s paradise may be another person’s wasteland. A beautifully landscaped yard loaded with perrenials and vegetables may appeal to someonewith a green thumb, but won’t appeal to those who don’t enjoy or have time for gardening. Of course the opposite can apply – a no maintenance back yard generally doesn’t appeal to young families (since their kids can’t play on rocks) but could be perfect for an older couple or frequent travellers.
How much should you spend on landscaping?
The answer to that question depends on your situation. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time, then the landscaping is for your enjoyment and the amount you spend is up to you. If you’re trying to sell your home, landscaping does not give returns as high as painting, or renovating kitchens and bathrooms. Having neat and clean landscaping is what is most important – unkempt yards tell buyers that the home is not well cared for. In the current market, where there are hundreds of new homes on the market with no landscaping, having grass and a deck or patio is a major advantage.
Henderson and Butt Appraisal Consultants puts together an excellent Renovating Guide each year that explains the return on investment you can expect for different types of renovations. Their guide shows the return on investment for various landscaping options varies from 30-60%. In other words, according to Henderson and Butt if you spend $20,000 landscaping your property, you immediately add $6,000-$12,000 in value. Keep in mind this is just a guide… you also have to consider how the landscaping affects your salability. Some buyers won’t even consider homes with no landscaping.
Where Should You Start?
If you are landscaping for your own enjoyment then you probably want to go further than grass, a fence and a deck. One thing is for certain, having a plan is very important. DIY landscaping jobs can be very easy to spot, so getting some guidance can help you out immensely. Companies like Earthworm Design will send a landscape architect to your home to draw up a plan with you. Once you have a plan you have the option of doing the work yourself, hiring a professional, or a combination of the two – they can even help you decide what to do yourself and what you should contract out. If you want to spread the projects out over a few years, they can also give you advise as to the order to do things in.
Take a walk around some neighborhoods right now. Some people just have the midas touch when it comes to landscaping (or maybe they had help!). You walk drive by and think “wow” they’ve done a nice job – nice flowers, stones arrangements and theme. You can also get an idea of what not to do, which is often just as important.
How much of a difference really nice landscaping make? While it may not be the primary reason someone will buy your home it can certainly make the difference between you or your neighbour selling first.