By Pat Hogan
When it comes to the value of a house, many people focus exclusively on the structure and square feet. What many people fail to realize is that the area around the house, in addition to the house itself, can have a large impact on its perceived value. Failing to consider the best way to landscape a house can end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.
Professional landscaping adds instant curb appeal, increases the resale value of your home and creates an attractive and serene living environment. Many people may hesitate to spend money on landscaping, but the initial investment can actually save you money in the long run. Here are a number of ways that landscaping can help home owners save money:
Return on Investment
Dollar for dollar, landscaping is one of the most affordable upgrades you can make to your home. An initial outlay of as little as $500 can reap thousands in rewards when it’s time to sell. On average, professionally landscaped homes sell 80 percent faster than similar homes in the same neighborhood.
Everyone is trying to be kinder to the environment these days. Reducing water use is an important part of green living, and it cuts monthly bills, too. Install a sprinkler system with timers to avoid overwatering. A local landscape architect or gardener can help you choose native and drought-resistant plants that will thrive on average rainfall with little or no outside irrigation.
Increase Energy Efficiency
One or two strategically placed deciduous shade trees can reduce residential cooling and heating costs by as much as 25 percent. A green screen of mature trees or shrubs blocks hot winds in the summer months and cold ones in the winter. Replacing asphalt or other hard surfaces with grass or plants can significantly lower surface temperatures both inside and outside the home. You can still get color under the mature shade trees with carefully chosen plants that bloom alternately throughout the years as shown on this landscape design page.
Mow, edge and repeat: It’s the homeowner’s weekend routine. If you’re not doing it yourself, you’re paying someone else to do it for you. Creative landscaping can replace high-maintenance turf with groundcover, rock accents or water features, resulting in a worry-free landscape that saves both time and money.
Environmentally Friendly Fencing
Soften the lines of your landscaping, preserve your privacy and save money on construction costs with an environmentally friendly green fence. Unlike sometimes industrial-looking block walls, a row of trees is easy on the eyes, and some hedges are even more impenetrable than traditional fencing.
Reduce Replacement Costs
Every amateur gardener has dropped a bundle at the garden center only to watch in dismay as the new plants wither and die. Knowledgeable landscaping professionals are aware of climate constraints and can test soil conditions to choose the right plants the first time. Many also offer free replacements if the plants they’ve chosen fail to thrive.
Invest in the Future
Smaller plants cost less. Even if you have no plans to sell, investing in landscaping now will pay off later as the seedlings you plant today continue to grow and mature.
Most home burglaries begin as crimes of opportunity. Thieves choose their targets based on ease of access. Thorny shrubs, climbing roses and blackberry bushes planted in flowerbeds, beneath windows and around the perimeter of your yard can discourage these intruders from making an attempt.
Cut Food Costs
Plants and trees do double duty by providing tasty fruits and vegetables. Consider adding a citrus tree or two, use strawberries plants for bright green groundcover in flowerbeds, train grape vines along an ornamental arch or plant a veggie garden and grow your own organic tomatoes.
Spend More Time at Home
A beautifully landscaped lawn and garden is a serene oasis, perfect for relaxing or entertaining family and friends outdoors. Save money by hosting brunches or birthday parties at home instead of going out or renting a venue.
Pat Hogan is a Florida landscaping enthusiast, owner of websites helping homeowners create the perfect home surroundings.