Boost real estate property value with landscaping

Flowers, plants, trees can provide instant curb appeal. And value. Photo: Flickr

MANILA, June 24, 2013 — Landscaping not only provides a relaxing and enriching quality of life, but can give real estate properties a 15 percent increase in value, says a Virginia Tech study. The survey, conducted on attendees at consumer home and garden shows among seven states, discovered that the perceived value of a home is affected by plant size, type, and design in landscaping. 

According to Virginia Tech horticulturist Alex Niemiera, a home with lush exteriors had a 5.5 to 12.7 percent price advantage over a home with none. For a $300,000 home, that would be an additional value of $16,500 to $38,100. 

But landscaping goes beyond simply sticking flowers and shrubs in the ground. According to his study, the biggest factor that buyers look for in home exteriors is a design that is sophisticated. Plant size and maturity only comes in second. 

Another study by Clemson University yielded to the finding that homes with excellent landscaping can be expected to increase their sales price about six to seven percent. A survey conducted in Quebec also found that hedges can raise real estate values by 3.6% while landscaped patios increase property value by 12.4%. 

Furthermore, while a well-designed landscape would prove to be beneficial in increasing property values from the point of curb appeal, poor landscaping can make property values drop by 10 percent, according to a study by the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 

It pays to know what works and what does not in terms of landscaping. It is more than a simple preference game. What may be attractive to one person may be hideous to another. But fortunately, there are proven standards as to what good landscaping is. 

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For example, according to another study entitled “Impact of Improved Landscape Quality and Tree Cover on the Price of Single-Family Homes” by the Horticulture Research Institute “Journal of Environmental Horticulture,” a single tree can add up to 2 percent to real estate value. Trees are important because on top of other environmental benefits, they “provide shade in summer, and shelter in winter.” 

When researching which trees to plant, it often helps to pick trees that are fast growing, especially if the selling of the property is being rushed. However, there are fast growing trees specific for each state, meaning that a given tree may grow to become fully mature in six years in one state while it might take ten years to achieve the same maturity in another. 

Some of the fastest growing, readily available trees are weeping willows that can grow from 3-8 feet per year; the Dawn redwood that grows an average of 4 feet per year—reaching 120 feet in 30 years; and the hybrid poplar, a very rapid grower, adding height at a rate of 5-8 feet per year. 

A note on weeping willows: the vast and aggressive root systems of these beautiful trees search far and wide for water sources, so avoid planting one near water intake pipes or sanitary or storm sewer pipes. Their roots are likely to invade these pipes and can often cause significant damage. 

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An attractive exterior does not always come from years of preparation. When time is a consideration, there are options besides trees, which can also be costly. A lush green carpet of grass, a refreshing burst of color from thoughtfully arranged flower beds, or the neat and tidy look of well-placed shrubs are often enough to do the trick.


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Jona Jone

Jona Miranda Jone brings her expertise to the Communities page as a financial writer who is also an expert on mortgages and other transactions concerning property ownership.  Jona now lives in the Philippines, where she works as a freelance writer.

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