Landscaping, the best value home improvement!

Out of all the common improvements home owners make to improve the resale value of their home, research shows the right landscaping can give you the greatest return.  Here we present a series of articles and papers that show for your dollar return, landscaping, particularly in the front yard and on the street are great investments to improve your house value.

Garden improvements need not be costly and can be timed to look best at sale time. Here are some plants commonly available at local garden centers, a good landscaper can quickly design and mix these to make a great entry a couple of months ahead of sale time.

Improve your Curb Appeal! 

It may sound counter intuitive, but a landscape makeover that brings the most return starts out on the street. Street trees that provide over 50% shade over the street in Brisbane added  $29,000 (5.05%) to sale price. Of course you might not have the 20 years or so to wait for 50% shade cover but don’t despair. Any appropriate street trees increase value, and you can purchase more mature stock to speed things up a little (around $90 for a 45ltr bagged tree- should be around 1.8m high). If parts of your street have a dominant street tree, try to match that tree. If you have more than a couple of years, try planting tube stock trees ( from as little as $2.50 each!) and nurturing them. With the right care your tubestock tree can attain heights of over 2-3 m within three years.

Not only will the street tree improve your house value over time, it will provide shaded parking for your guests, improve walkability for the neighbourhood, and may even reduce the frequency of mowing to your curb. The planting of nice evergreen trees to the pavement doesn’t just apply to Brisbane, verge street trees increased the value of Perth houses  by over $16,000 too.

From little things big things grow- if you have the time (4-5 years) a humble tube stock Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) costs around $2.50 and over time can grow into a full size tree providing shade for parked cars and pedestrians, while increasing your house value dramatically.

This Jacaranda maybe around 20 years old. It would require some pruning over time but is an asset to house behind it and to the street.

Improve your Street Frontage

Moving from the curb to the front garden should be your next priority. This info graphic article illustrates how spending on your front yard in Australia can return upwards of 500% return on your money.  Common improvements that don’t cost much can include installing some edging for extra definition between lawn and garden. Use a low cost but effective barrier so that the plants are show cased rather than the edging. If you can plant a variety of plants, but if you are a novice try not too over complicate the design. This is where the skills of a competent garden designer can save you time and effort, selecting just the right amount and types of plants to grow into your garden, particularly if you have a future sale date in mind.

The images above are of our rental property that with the permission of the owners, added a few plant and bed areas to improve visual appeal.

A good green lawn can be invaluable in selling your house. If you have a long neglected lawn, consider having it relaid. Again, with the right preparation it is not too expensive, and gives you a good opportunity to start again, particularly if you have on-going weed issues. Try combining the new lawn with some smart garden design, one that softens your edges and reduces the amount of mowing in future. Here is a great article on easy improvements to your front yard.

Whole of house Garden Makeover

Once you have knocked off the low hanging fruit, you can consider a range of ‘tricks’ to improve your entire garden. Again, they don’t need to be high cost. Use elements that rely on good design rather than costly ‘taste call’ additions such as expensive pavilions or concrete paths. A light touch is always best, some simple shaping and retaining is good but try not to go overboard. If you lack a flat grassy area by all means try to make one, as these are universally loved by kids and adults alike.

Try adding curved edges to garden areas to create a sense of mystery. combined with clever screen trees you can make your garden look much bigger and more inviting than having just lawn, and it will be easier and less costly to maintain. Once again, having some professional input is paramount at this stage, as it can save you thousands in the long run.

Reclaim some lawn with curved garden spaces. These give a sense of fun and mystery, and will make a standard rectangular block look larger.

So in summary, start at the front and work your way back. It is recommended to engage a professional designer (designs should be available from $300 for a 400m2 garden), and let them know your intentions regards selling in future. Start as early as possible, at least two years lead in time should be enough to radically improve the garden. Keep up the maintenance up to the selling time, this will allow screening trees to be regularly pruned to achieve their desired outcome. If you only have a short time, consider at least re-turfing the frontage if needed, adding some edging and mulching the garden beds. Who knows, it might work out so well you will want to stay!

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