As summer approaches, many homeowners want to spend more time in their back yard. Or, they may be contemplating putting their home on the market. Whether you want to create more back yard enjoyment for your family, or you want to give your back yard’s appearance a facelift for an upcoming sale, consider improving your property with landscape construction.
Landscape Construction: A Good Investment
According to Better Homes and Gardens, homeowners should invest five to fifteen percent of their home’s value in landscaping. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) gives a similar recommendation for landscape construction. Beyond “softscaping” such as trees and plantings, a landscape architect designs structural features like lighting, fences, garden paths, fire pits, swimming pools, and ponds. Structural or hardscaping improvements, such as outdoor rooms, patios, terraces, and decks provide a high-yield return on investment for homeowners.
A landscape architect works closely with the homeowner to create a detailed plan of the property and projected improvements. Typically, the homeowner then hires a general contractor, landscape contractor, or subcontractor to perform the installation.
While landscape construction can seem to require a substantial investment, remember that potential homebuyers value a well-landscape home 11.3 percent more than the same home without good landscaping. Also keep in mind that a landscaping plan can be more budget-friendly if installed in stages over time.
Landscape Construction to Build Value
Here are some landscape construction projects that can help increase the value of your home:
Create curb appeal: Be strategic and target the areas that prospective home buyers will see first. A nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept walkway make a great first impression. Trimming overgrown shrubs and making minor repairs to your home’s façade, including painting the front door, can deliver quick results. If you decide to add softscaping, remember that low-maintenance landscaping saves you money now, and adds value when you sell. Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant. These require less water and maintenance, which means more savings and more green in your wallet.
Consider installing a walkway: A meandering pathway to your front door or back yard is simply welcoming— which means it has a huge impact when it comes to your home’s curb appeal, according to HouseLogic.com. While a small path can be a weekend DIY project, consult a landscape construction professional if your walkway project involves steps or a change in grade.
Add a patio or deck: According to SmartMoney.com, a landscaped patio raises the value of your home by 12.4 percent. Consumer Reports says that adding a deck or patio, with room for seating and a built-in or freestanding grill, is a way to create a defined space for outdoor living on a large or small scale. You can’t go wrong on this landscape construction project, says HouseLogic.com, when you could recoup more than 100 percent of the cost of a new patio or deck.
Bring the outdoors in: Possibly one of the hottest trends in landscape architecture—particularly in temperate climates— is the outdoor room or terrace extension, says BobVila.com. “The interest in landscaping and property enhancement is a natural extension of the boom in home renovation and improvement. Homeowners are paying more attention to the link between indoors and outdoors.” ASLA vice president Rob Tilson notes that “people are making a better connection to the environment and their outdoor space. They are investing more in the rear of their property.”
Improve with Millennials in mind: Millennials are up and coming home buyers, with about 32 percent planning to purchase a home in the next two years. They are demonstrating a preference for low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly landscaping. Millennials also prefer fire pits and backyard ovens to swimming pools. Remember the rule of low upkeep, Consumer Reports warns. “They love outdoor spaces, but whereas prior generations might have gone for the pool, Millennials recognize the maintenance costs associated with it. They’d much rather see an outdoor fire pit surrounded by a simple seating arrangement.”
Remove a pool: Having a swimming pool in disrepair creates an eyesore that could turn off a potential buyer. Pools generally do not add value to a home unless they can be used year-round in a warm climate, such as California, Arizona or Florida. If a pool has outlived its useful life, it might make more sense to remove it and reclaim the area as backyard space. You will need a professional for an in-ground pool demolition, and to regrade the area for proper drainage.
Fix yard drainage: Take advantage of the good weather during the summer to fix the pesky drainage problems in your yard. While regrading your yard may not bring a direct return on your investment, it could help sell your home. Evidence of basement flooding or rainwater sitting in your yard could turn away potential home buyers.
Landscape Construction: Enjoy Now, Add Value for Later
Take the long view. Consider adding landscape features that you can enjoy now, and will also pay back dividends if and when you decide to sell. Focus on adding value according to your home’s market area, and also for the preferences millennial buyers. Some small projects can be “do-it-yourself.” For larger landscape construction projects, consult a professional landscape architect first, and then hire a contractor with landscape construction expertise. Contact New England Enterprises for an expert consultation for your drainage, grading or landscape construction project.