March 2011

Gorgeous Gardens and Pristine Pools : Landscaping - Proper Landscaping Increases Home Values

Author: Carolyn's Landscaping and Nursery

A recent landscaping study examined the effect of three components of a landscape design on the perceived value of a home. Over 1,300 volunteers participated in seven states by viewing 16 photographs of landscapes using various levels of three attributes: plant material type, design sophistication, and plant size. Across all seven markets, study participants perceived that home values increased significantly for homes with a good quality landscape.

Participants in the study valued landscape sophistication most. Island beds and curved bed lines add to the perceived value of a home. Plant material was least important, followed by plant size.

All states in the survey, including South Carolina, shared the same most preferred landscape: a sophisticated design incorporating large deciduous, evergreen, and annual color plants and colored landscape.

The sophisticated planting category consisted of a foundation planting with adjoining beds and two or three large island plantings, all incorporating curved bed lines. Results from this study show that a landscape can add 5-11 percent to the base value of the home.

The resulting increase in “curb appeal” of the property may also help differentiate a home in a subdivision where house styles are similar and thereby attract potential buyers into a home. This advantage is especially important in a competitive housing market. Investing in the services of a landscape design professional will optimize the value of your home.

A quality landscape not only adds to the value of a home, but is a home improvement project that will appreciate over time while the growth and maturity of trees and shrubs enhance aesthetic appeal.

The Upkeep
The value received by homeowners who contract for professional weekly landscape maintenance is well worth the cost. Benefits compound over time from proper pruning, fertilizing, watering and pest and disease amelioration. Lower cost for service is usually not best unless property owners are prepared to assume risk. A $3,000 turf repair is a heavy penalty to pay because an untrained yard professional failed to recognize a Chinch bug infestation. Infestations are a natural part of nature and can occur in any yard, but hiring a trained horticulturist can much reduce homeowner disappointments. So, when assessing bids, it’s best to question the low bidders if you care about your property. Homeowners don’t need to be Master Gardeners to ask a few basic questions. Here are a few to start with:

• Are crews knowledgeable about basic pruning principles?

• Do crews understand seasonal plant bloom times? Flowering on old growth or new?

• Do the company personnel understand insect/ fungus infestations and treatments?

• Does the company perform regular yard inspections by management?

• Are top quality chemical products used?

• Is the company properly insured and licensed?

• Did the bidder ask about any children or pets in the family?

It may pay dividends to pay the extra 10-20 percent to a professional company.

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