Monday, July 19, 2010
Well-landscaped yard adds beauty and value to home
By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer
When you think of remodeling to increase the resale value of your home, you might think of updating the kitchen or adding a master suite.
But according to a new study from Michigan State University, remodeling your yard could actually increase the value of your home from 5 percent to 11 percent.
The study demonstrated that the more mature the landscape and the more elaborate the design, the more value was added to the property's appraised worth.
It isn't really surprising to hear what the effect a well-landscaped yard has on the value of a home: Everyone appreciates a nice yard when they see one!
The sad reality is, however, that because landscaping happens at the end of a project it is often ignored, neglected or completely eliminated because the budget is shot by then.
If your goal is to increase the value of your home, designating some of the remodeling budget for the yard will no doubt help accomplish that goal. As an added bonus, you and your family get to enjoy that beautifully landscaped yard.
Just like the inside of your home, your outdoor space affects your lifestyle and your psychological well being. You should approach a yard remodel the same way you do a home remodel. First, determine how you want your space to function. What are your goals? Do you want a place to relax, entertain or plant a garden?
Look through magazines, books and online to get inspiration.
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.
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!
Just try to save some of that budget to make sure the job is truly finished — inside and out. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.