Real estate prices may continue to go up. They may retreat. However, you don’t have to be the victim of market whims. There are strategies you can employ to protect your property value. Our favorite strategy is landscaping.
Landscaping is unlike any other improvements that you do to your property. Improvements like new kitchens or window coverings get dated with time. You can choose the most popular upgrades for a kitchen or bath today and they will feel dated in a few years. Tastes change and, as a result, the value of the interior improvements you do today always decline with time.
In contrast, landscaping is the one improvement that actually appreciates with age. Landscaping becomes more valuable as it matures.
You can buy a 4-foot tall Baby Blue Eyes Spruce today for $200 and plant it in a strategic spot. In six to seven years, it has topped out at 12 feet with an 8-foot diameter and provides an anchor for a cozy little patio located away from the house itself. It would cost thousands of dollars to buy and plant that mature tree today.
Research by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, has shown that landscaping can increase the perceived value of a home by 5.5% to 12.7%. However, not all landscaping is created equal. Here are some tips to get the most from a landscaping project.
Start with a Master Plan: Niemiera’s research indicates that a well-designed plan is the most important factor in maximizing the value of landscaping. Bob Villa echos this sentiment and advises homeowners to start with a master plan.
Many people do landscaping piecemeal. They plant a tree this year. Next year, they add some shrubs with no unifying plan. People buy things they like individually with no thought of how they fit together or if they can even thrive in the place planted due to variables like sunlight and water.
A thoughtful master plan helps avoid these problems. Even if you don’t have the money to implement the whole plan in a single season, the master plan assures that each item you do today fits in with the larger picture.
The plan may call for five Red Twig Dogwoods to cover up the back fence and provide a backdrop for other landscape elements. You can spend $180 buying those five dogwoods and plant them this year with confidence, knowing that they will thrive and function well when the yard is completely done.
Divide Your Yard into Rooms: It makes sense to divide up a yard into several useable areas or “rooms”. You may have a deck right off your back door where many people can congregate. A path from the deck can lead around to the side of the house where you create a small, private patio shielded by shrubs. Two or three people can break off from the crowd and use this intimate area as a separate space. Another path from the deck might lead to the swing set or trampoline. Having several centers of interest in your yard increases its usability.
Get Professional Guidance: As you can already see, landscaping requires expertise. How do you know whether a given plant will thrive where you want to plant it and whether it will grow to the right size? What is the best layout?
You can certainly research these things on your own and become an expert if you are looking for a new hobby. However, most of us will benefit by getting help from an expert. Most large nurseries and garden centers provide such expertise. Alternately, you can goggle for “residential landscape designers in metro Denver” to find a skilled designer.
source: Mike Cooke, Colorado Home Realty