Monday, June 08, 2009
Well-landscaped yard boosts value
By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer
Everyone can recognize a well-landscaped yard. It is beautiful, comfortable, functions well, and has a strong connection to the home it surrounds.
A well-landscaped front yard adds curb appeal, which translates into increased real-estate values. A functional backyard can offer a place to relax, entertain friends, or plant a garden. Just like the inside of your home, your outdoor space affects your lifestyle and your psychological well being.
However, coming as it does at the very end of a remodeling project, landscaping is often ignored, neglected or eliminated.
Homeowners either fail to budget for replacing or upgrading the landscaping, or they spend what budget they have on change orders during the construction or on new furnishings and decorations for the inside.
The reality is that remodeling your home will affect your yard. Plants will be crushed by workers, lawns will be smothered with piles of supplies, and entire trees may have to be removed. At a minimum, sprinkling systems will have to be repaired and — in the case of an addition — they need to be redesigned completely.
Since there is no doubt that you will have to reclaim your yard, this may be the time to update your landscape design. Landscaping can become just as outdated as architecture, and a once well-designed yard can become overgrown and nondescript.
Just as with architecture, landscape design can be approached on a number of different levels.
Large home-improvement stores have books and classes to help the do-it-yourselfers.
There are also landscape designers who work for landscaping companies. These are people with varied amounts of practical experience who come up with plans that can be executed by the installers working for their company.
Finally, there are landscape architects who are trained at a university level and licensed by the state. The amount charged for these different levels of service is commensurate with the expertise of the persons involved, and the old adage, "You get what you pay for," applies.
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, "Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management and stewardship of the natural and built environments."
Landscape architects create outdoor spaces that are functional as well as beautiful. They will work with you to develop a master plan for your site that combines their design and artistic skills with their knowledge of the details and logistics of construction.
They lay out the "hardscape" (walks, retaining walls, fountains, etc.) as well as the "softscape" (soil, grass, plants and trees).
The fee for a landscape architect to create a master plan for the yard of a typical residence will run from $1,000 to $2,000. This amount does not include detailed plans, plant selections, or irrigation drawings, but all those services are available should you decide to execute some or all of the master plan.
Beautiful landscaping will last for generations and will increase the value of your property.
One final word of caution: Make sure if there is any chance of a future remodeling project, you hold off on the yard. There is no doubt that the correct sequence is to do building construction first and landscaping after! As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.