Landscaping Cost and Saving Money
Landscaping by the Numbers
Landscaping is an essential part of the way your home looks, feels, and functions. Your landscape is the first thing to welcome you home when you pull into your driveway. It’s the first thing your friends see when they come to your annual Memorial Day gathering. Like other design elements, your landscape expresses your personality. It’s part of what makes your home feel like “you.”
Your home is probably your biggest and most important financial investment. So it makes sense that landscaping is vital to the value of your house. Yet homeowners rarely think of landscaping as an investment. In fact, landscaping can deliver a terrific return, comparable to a gourmet kitchen or a luxurious master bath. A landscaping investment of five to ten percent of the cost of a new home can increase the home’s value by as much as twenty percent.
According to this formula, if you were to purchase a new home, worth $375,000, you would plan on a starter landscape budget between $18,750 (five percent) and $37,500 (ten percent). By engaging the services of a professional landscape designer, you could maximize your investment and add as much as $75,000 to the equity in your home.
What can you get for your landscaping investment? For new home construction, landscaping at a minimum is simply a matter of putting grass down between your property boundaries to prevent erosion of the land. At the low end, a five-percent expenditure would allow you to cover the bare earth around the foundation with landscape rock or wood mulch and sod. If you spent a little more, you’d get an irrigation system and some foundation plantings. With an expenditure of ten percent, you can start to look at more interesting design elements like defining outdoor space for patios and more interesting plants.
If you are just beginning to think about landscape projects, the first thing you need to invest is time. Spend some time establishing a budget. Invest in a good designer too — someone who listens, who is knowledgeable about both design and construction, and who will be with you through the entire landscape process.
It’s easy for homeowners to understand the difference between the kind of kitchen you’d find in a college apartment and the dream kitchen with acres of counter space and a commercial-grade Sub-Zero refrigerator. Like a kitchen, landscaping is a necessity. And there are significant differences between the bare-bones basics and the state of the art. So planning and budgeting for landscaping is just like planning and budgeting for your kitchen.