colorful plants for front landscape

Landscaping for Curb Appeal

Jennifer NicholsField Notes

As someone who has been in the landscape industry for many years, I have often heard that good landscaping increases property values 15%. Upon a quick internet search, I found numbers ranging from 8% to 20%. Regardless of actual numbers, in real estate, professionals consistently recommend increasing the curb appeal of your home.

So what steps should you take to ensure you are getting the most out of this investment?

Start with a Plan

According to a study done by Virginia Tech, a sophisticated landscape is the most cost effective way to spend landscape dollars in order to increase the value of your home. According to this study, a well-designed landscape improved property values to a greater degree than improvements made by increasing plant size or plant type.

If you are not confident in your ability to create a sophisticated landscape, you may want to hire a landscape designer or landscape architect in order to accomplish this. Make sure your designer has a strong background in plant knowledge, listens well, and that you have a good working relationship with him or her. This will enable you to get the most out of your investment and ensure that your plan is successful.

Start Early

Landscaping is the one investment you will make in your home that increases in value over time. Newly installed plantings will grow to fill in space, so you can start with smaller plants if you begin your project early enough.
Planning in advance is also easier on the wallet, because many landscape projects can be done in phases, spreading the costs out over time.

It is also a good idea to provide time for your landscape to mature should you want to put your house on the market. A new landscape can look like a new haircut: both look better after they grow out a bit.

Keep it Neat

Once your landscape is installed, it is important to keep it looking well maintained. Regular mowing and weed control is essential. While many people use lawn services to assist with mowing, it can also be a good idea to consider gardening services. Since there is nothing more infuriating than someone you hire pulling out plants that you purchased and installed, make sure your gardeners have been trained in horticulture. And remember, routine maintenance is much more effective than doing major cleanup projects less frequently.

Add Color

A well designed landscape may already have color during most of the year, however adding some planters near the front door can really add some pop.

Some points to consider when choosing and filling planters:

  • Think big. This is where you want to make a statement, not underwhelm.
  • Don’t skimp. The container should be able to stand on its own. Cheap plastic pots are out!
  • Use fillers, spillers, and thrillers. Choose plants that drape over the side of the container, fill the space above, and some that are upright to add drama.
  • Keep them watered. Although established landscapes may not need supplemental watering, containers will. In hot weather, some containers may need to be watered daily.

Remember, whether you are planning on selling your home, want to increase its value, or simply wow your neighbors, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to increase curb appeal with a well landscaped property.