Like a well-designed frame to a painting, beautifully done landscaping can add significant value to a property. Strong curb appeal entices buyers inside a house with an already positive attitude.
Having said that, there are several factors to consider when you are deciding what improvements to make to your property that will give you the best return on your investment.
First of all, what do we mean by landscaping? Landscaping can be anything outside of the main house on a property: i.e…
- Flower beds
- Watering systems
- Outdoor lighting
- BBQ pits
What may be seen as a positive by one buyer may be seen in a completely negative light by another. For example, one family may look at the pool, hot tub or other water feature and see hours of relaxation in the sun and someone else may only see all the work involved to keep it up and be concerned for the safety of their children. One person can look at artistic gardens designed to look like Versailles or an English country estate and be enchanted while someone will be turned off by the time and expense it will take for maintenance.
Landscape improvements need to fit the neighbourhood. Standards suggest investing 10-20% of the value of your home in landscaping. CMHC, in their ‘Landscape Guide for Canadian Homes’ says that ‘Healthy, mature trees in particular, add value to a property’.
A Quebec survey found that a hedge can raise a property value by 3.6% and a landscaped patio by 12.4%. Ed Hansen the past president of the Ottawa Chapter of Landscape Ontario feels that well-managed landscaping can add an overall value of 28% to your home. If you are not planning to sell immediately, a Money Management article found that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100-200%.
On the other hand, your neighbours unkempt property next door may negatively impact your properties value and it may be worth it for you to help him clean up the clutter, make sure that things are clean and tidy up any gardens.
I recently bought a new house and was unhappy with the landscaping, especially that of the front of the house. Realizing that whatever changes I chose to make would surely impact the resale price and being very conscious of the costs involved, here is what I chose to do:
- The front pad parking was uneven and unsightly and there was an overgrown hedge on the side that made it difficult to exit my car, especially after a rainfall. The other side of the parking spot had a flower bed that was not neat and spilled dirt onto the parking area. The mutual cement slab path between the houses was broken and appeared neglected.
- I chose to do all of the landscaping at the same time to cut down on labour costs.
- I repaved the driveway and removed the old unsightly hedge.
- I rebalanced the appearance of the pad parking with a beautiful stone walkway on either side of it.
- I cleaned up and narrowed the flower bed and replanted it with a variety of flowers that bloomed at different times of the year along with adding black mulch that spoke to the trim on the house.
- I repainted the front porch and changed the front windows and doors and added new numbers, a new mailbox and light fixture.
- Additionally, I added new hanging baskets and holders along with front window boxes filled with flowers.
I expect that these improvements will help entice prospective buyers to both want to see the interior of the house and improve the overall price of my home by 10 – 15% which will more than pay for the improvements that I made.
Whatever your personal choices may be, beautifully kept landscaping shows that someone cares for the property and therefore the house. Buyers will want to look further inside.