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Careful Landscape Planning Yields Big Payoffs

June 30 2008

Everyone wants a home and yard that is the envy of the neighbors. At the same time, most homeowners want to make smart investments in their landscaping that adds value to their property and get the best price when it is time to sell. Just as one invests in the stock market, with real estate a homeowner should carefully determine the best areas to put his or her money when dealing with a home’s surroundings.Landscaping

Investigate your property

Before determining how much money you are going to spend, investigate your property and its needs. Hold it up to scrutiny and see what you have that you might be able to utilize. That will help you plan and make the project seem less daunting. And remember, some areas of your existing property might have alternate uses. Can you turn that crumbling walkway into a rustic garden path? Consider these options as they can keep your costs in line.

Budget

Every good landscaping project needs a starting point, and a budget is a solid place to begin. The American Society of Landscape Architects recommends that homeowners spend approximately 10 percent of the value of their home on landscaping. That doesn’t just mean flowers, bushes and trees. It means investments like fencing, decks and other elements that make their homes more attractive, while also adding functionality.  It also means investigating the value of your home, comparable home sales in your area, and local real estate market trends.

Planning

Properly landscaping your property, and making the appropriate investments will require a plan. Create an action plan that works with your budget. This will reduce both time and stress, and keep your project on track. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is doing landscaping piecemeal, without a focus. A scattered approach can lead to costly errors that will have to be overhauled at a later date. By coming up with your landscaping ideas before you start, you’ll have a clear path to follow.

Hire a pro

If you were building a new home, you’d surely hire an architect or contractor. The same should be true for your landscaping project. By hiring an experienced landscape company, you can be comfortable that your project with be handled with care and professionalism (one way to source a local landscape architect is to visit the American Society of Landscape Architects at www.asla.org). These experts understand the big picture, as well as the nuances of your property’s grading, soils, and irrigation demands. Landscaping can be costly and will not yield the desired results if done improperly. By hiring a pro, you’ll avoid this pitfall.

DIY

There may well be elements of your project that you can undertake without needing to spend on expensive labor. This is worth investigating before your proceed. Can you cart some of the discarded plants away? Can you move soil around? This will keep your costs down.

Revisit your projects

Once a landscape project is finished, a homeowner won’t have to worry about spending more money, right? Wrong. Just like any good investment, your landscaping project needs to be kept up and regularly maintained. Your landscape designer can help you maintain your landscaping so your smart investment doesn’t go to seed.