While studies show that you will only recoup 80 to 90 cents on every dollar you spend to upgrade your kitchen or bath, professional landscape designers estimate that improvements to your lawn and garden can boost your home's value by 7 percent to 15 percent. Those findings have been confirmed by survey results [from the Gallup Organization and the National Gardening Association (NGA)] this year, despite the economic down shift toward the real estate market. Lawn and garden equity is all the rage these days as homeowners continue to invest heavily in their property values. The NGA says U.S.
homeowners spent a $36.8 billion on their lawns and gardens in 2007, $11.4 billion of that spent on landscaping and curb appeal. Dorcas Helfant, general managing partner of Coldwell Banker Professional Realtors, in Virginia Beach, Va., and the first female president of the National Association of Realtors, says her fellow baby boomers have a far different aesthetic than their parents.
"Our parents were not as particular. In the '50s, you had this era of bomb shelters and fear, and the homes we grew up in had these high windows where you couldn't see in or out of them," she said in a recent New York Times article "Today we don't live like that. We want broad, open expanses and windows that look out on gardens and ponds. We're not willing to live as prisoners in a house." Homeowners are finding; however, that adding landscaping on the outside is much more difficult to do right than to make simple upgrades on the inside.
The sheer variety of trees (evergreen and deciduous), flowering plants (annual or perennial), and the walls, paths, window boxes, benches, and arbors that landscapers call "hardscape" can create a dizzying array of choices and potential missteps. Yes, you can get some creative ideas from popular HGTV shows such as "Curb Appeal" and "Landscaper's Challenge," but flash and dash from someone else's plan won't necessarily work to your home's advantage. "There are a few people out there in the world who have an intuitive sense of how things should be put together, and everyone else doesn't," says Mel Senallé, landscape professional in the Atlanta area. "If you barge ahead on your own, you can make some horrendous mistakes and create some maintenance problems down the road that could have been avoided if you'd hired a designer." So, with this advice let's take the challenge of looking at our home's landscaping with a designer's eye.
There are trends out there that may help you paint your garden masterpiece. Wherever you live, proper landscaping can enhance both your enjoyment of your home and its ultimate resale value. The first thing you probably noticed about your home was its curb appeal. Even though your home's appearance from the street is only part of creating the perfect outdoor environment, first impressions are often lasting ones for buyers.
Matt Buquoi frequently writes about growing trends in the Home and Garden Industry. She is also a contibuting writer for Flower Window Boxes. They produce hardscape products which include window boxes planters , and other garden decor .