Increase Property Value with Landscaping
Good landscape design and installation brings a great return on investment, at least 215 percent in the value of your investment according to the Home Gain 2012 National Home Improvement Survey, and more according to others. The key here is GOOD landscaping. A poor design or poorly executed installation will yield much lower return on investment.
What attracts your eye as you drive by is the key to any front yard landscaping. You can have a “Plain Jane” yard with a couple of trees, a lawn or granite and very little else or you can have color, excitement of texture, elevation changes, seasonal changes and vignettes as you approach the front door. Color can sell, pacify, stimulate, attract or subdue. And all of this can affect your home value.
The excitement of entering your property should visually begin at the front property line and carry through to different accent points or view points as your guest walks towards the front door. Plan to bring out colors that excite and stimulate accent or enhance the colors of your home or the textures. You can use various styles or themes of landscaping whether it is Southwest desert, Arizona collage, Zen, Oriental, French Country. Whatever you choose should fit with the style and colors of the house, textures and finestration.
Both landscape and hardscape serve to enhance your value. Hardscape such as walkways, like pavers, flagstone, cantera stone, and other materials make a statement as well as provide functionality. Enhance that statement with grading changes, mounding, boulders, walls, gates, curving curbing, low-voltage lighting and other hardscapes that will help stimulate the eye. Use different textures and colors of granite as ground covers. You can also use colored ground wood for ground cover that yields a cooler choice.
Plant materials give you additional texture, color and excitement, height, microclimate (cooling trees) and interest. They also soften angles, hide walls and other eyesores and create privacy. Vary the shades of green by using different plants to have bright greens, gray greens, blue greens, the whole spectrum. The color can help accent the colors of your house. The uses of blooming shrubs and trees should be considered since blooming trees add color at higher elevations around your house at various times of the year. Shrubs used as understory accents can be colorful or a neutral green or gray if you want to accent a particular hardscape or feature of your home.
When selecting plants, your first level is flowers or bedding plants that are your lowest plant material. The next level is groundcovers such myoporum, lantana or other as lower level accents. Next you step up to midsize shrubs that are 18 inches to 36 inches, then upper story shrubbery that is three feet to six feet in height. Finally, choose from courtyard trees from six feet to 12 feet, and then full-size trees of various heights as your upper story planting material.
Placement of various sizes of material makes a large difference as to the feel and look of your home. Microclimate conditions whether it is full sun, morning sun, afternoon sun, filtered sun or full shade change with the relationship to the sun during the summer months and winter months and affect the types of plant material suitable for that location. For example, the sun is high in the sky, giving sunny conditions in the summer months, but the low winter sun puts plants in more shady conditions during the winter. Correctly placed plants also can provide huge savings on those large summer air-conditioning bills. And, lower utility costs mean more value if you are selling.
Upper-story trees generate filtered light for the lower-story plant material. It allows you to use plants that bloom all year round and through our hot summers. In some microclimate areas around the home you want the upper story plants to lose their leaves in the winter so you have room for sun rather than cold, shady areas that greatly affect the human environment as well as the lower level micro-environment.
Choosing your flowering plants is very important in landscape appeal. You can accentuate the home or you can detract from it with the wrong color selection. An artists color wheel will be helpful here, selecting either analogous, contrasting or complimentary color schemes depending on the feel you intend to evoke. Warm and contrasting colors can increase energy, excitement and make you feel “warm,” while analogous and cool colors are calming and cooling. You need to be most careful when grouping colors. For example, a magenta bloom may look fine planted near other flowers that are purple or pink but hideous when combined with blooms of red, orange, or yellow. Selection of colors in relationship to your home color is extremely important. A good landscape design generates colors that enhance the house and can make a statement about the residents.
Assess your property from the outside as well as the inside. Even small changes or even a little splash of color can add to the interest and value of your home. Whether you are selling or just want to enjoy, make your lifestyle show through your choice and care of landscaping.
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