If you are looking for landscaping in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, contact Quality Brick Paving & Landscaping at (248) 837-9991 today to receive a free consultation.
Boost value to your home with landscaping
Forget wiring your new home for audio, video and data. Pass on the upgraded kitchen cabinets. Say no to thicker carpets. If you really want to add lasting value, opt for landscaping.
Done correctly, the addition of trees, shrubs, plants, walks, lighting and patios can increase the value of your property by 20 percent — almost instantaneously.
Real-estate professionals have always known this. A study by Arbor National Mortgage found that 84 percent of the agents questioned believe a house on a treed lot would fetch at least that much more than one on a lot without trees.
Another survey, this one in Greenville, S.C., showed houses with “excellent” landscaping could expect to sell for 4 percent to 5 percent more than homes with just “good” landscaping. But those with only “fair” landscaping would sell for 8 percent to 10 percent below “good” houses.
Some builders, on the other hand, don’t seem to get it. Indeed, landscaping is practically an afterthought for many of them. Sure, they deck out their models; but for the most part, they do very little when it comes to the houses people actually buy and live in.
For many builders, the standard is “four heads of broccoli and two asparagus” — four shrubs and a pair of spindly evergreens. In some jurisdictions, they have done such a poor job that lawmakers now require a minimum numbers of shrubs and trees.
But a growing number are finally waking up to the fact that landscaping pays, in more ways than one. For starters, nicely landscaped houses add curb appeal over and above the sample house. After all, what’s more off-putting to potential customers than driving through sections of newly built houses with brown lawns and a few scraggly bushes?
For another, there’s money to be made in landscaping. Big money. There’s no record of how much people spend planting stuff after they move in. But it’s typically the next thing they do after unpacking and hanging their curtains or blinds.
The National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C. reports that people are spending a lot more money on the outside of their houses than they used to.
One builder that has figured it out is St. Lawrence Homes in Raleigh, N.C. The company offers three different landscaping packages as standard at Trenton, its high-end, big-lot subdivision in Chapel Hill. But “just about everybody” goes beyond that, opting for $3,000 to $5,000 in extras, such as lighting, irrigation systems, pavers and vegetation, said sales vice president Rich Ohmann.
At Sun City Lincoln Hills in northern California, Del Webb offered four different upgraded landscape packages, plus an a-la-carte menu of upgrades. That’s in addition to a standard package of a 24-inch box tree in the front yard, 19 shrubs and sod, which is more than most builders offer.
Still, four out of five buyers in the now nearly sold-out project choose to upgrade, spending an average of $12,000 each.
Which begs the question: How much should you spend?
The Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests you “invest” 5 percent to 10 percent of your home’s value on landscaping. That rule of thumb can be expensive, but the good thing is, you don’t have to do it all at once. Indeed, you can start small and watch your money grow . . . well, grow on trees.
Start by making a realistic budget. Next, ASLA suggests looking at books and magazines and start a file of plants, trees, gardens, yards, patios, decks and fences that strike your fancy.
ASLA also suggests you hire one of its members to bring your ideas to life. If you go that route, interview several companies and check their references. If you can’t afford an architect, check out the services offered by local nurseries and big-box retailers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. Many offer design services, sometimes without charge, if you are buying your plants at the same place.
Before you hire anyone, though, or before you purchase plants, you’ll need to find out exactly how your builder plans to landscape your house. Or better yet, how much he plans to spend. With that in mind, tell him you might be interested in doing your own landscaping work, and ask for a landscape credit.
Chances are you’ll be surprised how little you’re offered. But at least you’ll have a starting point. You’ll also want to determine whether the builder will use sod or seed — or a combination of both. Because sod requires more water to grow than seed does to germinate, it should be laid in late spring or summer. Already rooted, sod can better withstand dry, hot weather; it also covers poor soil preparation, which, after the lack of water, is the major reason new lawns fail. Seeding is best in the early spring or late fall, when rainfall is abundant and the cool nights give the grass relief from the heat. If the builder wants to seed during any other time of the year, be certain he will try again if your lawn doesn’t take.
If the builder won’t guarantee your grass — most won’t — and your local building code allows you to occupy a house with a barren lot, consider asking for a lawn credit and either do the work yourself or have it done by a professional after you move in.
If you are not satisfied with the builder’s landscape plan, ask that he spend the entire budget on one large tree and put in your own foundation plants, or take the entire credit and do your own thing altogether.If you are on a tight budget — and what new homeowner isn’t? — a few larger plants will have a greater visual impact than a bunch of smaller ones.
Professionals suggest starting in the front yard with a large-caliper shade tree — one that’s 4 to 6 inches in diameter at a point 12 inches off the ground. This, they say, will immediately give your home an established look that otherwise would take five or six years to create.
As a rule, you can expect to save half the cost of landscaping if you do the work yourself. But unless you have a green thumb and can transport plants properly, it’s best to stick to the smaller ones and let the pros handle the bigger pieces.
Large trees are killed most frequently when carried uncovered in the back of the buyer’s SUV from the nursery to the house, not because they are planted poorly. And most nurseries won’t guarantee plants they don’t install.
Hire the top rated landscaping service in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Contact Quality Brick Paving & Landscaping at (248) 837-9991 today to receive a free consultation.