What comes to mind when you hear “landscaping?” Trees and flowers, fences and walls or is it outside furniture, the pool, and patio?
When it comes to real estate, the answer might be new to you…
What is landscaping In Real Estate?
Landscaping in real estate is the manipulation of land aesthetic, practical and economic reasons. It involves the planning, construction, and maintenance of out-of-home property which consists of either natural or manmade structures and systems.
Trees, flowers, insects, animals, buildings, and systems are all forms of landscaping in the real estate world.
As stated above, real estate landscaping primarily comes in two forms; softscaping (all things natural) and hardscaping (all things manmade). Both will be further defined and explained below.
Does Landscaping Add Value To A Property?
The value of landscaping to a homeowner and investor is 3-fold.
Landscaping adds value to a property through boosting the aesthetic, practical and economic value.
Aesthetic and Recreational value.
A planned method of adding plant life, outside buildings and furniture makes your property more visually appealing and desirable to both you, guests and potential buyers and tenants.
As mentions above, landscaping for real estate is about favorably manipulating the land instead of just adding plants and structures to make it look nice. Terra-forming the land through driveways, gates, and pathways for convenient access to the property is landscaping.
For landlords looking to rent out and homeowners looking to sell, landscaping projects can be done to increase the value of your property to charge more for it as well as to increase its desirability to speed up the property’s days on market (DOM).
Landscaping Types And Categories In Real Estate.
As mentioned in the description of what real estate landscaping is, I established that there are 2 categories of landscaping; hardscaping and softscaping. These are explained below with a few examples of each.
Hardscaping And Types Of Hardscaping.
Consists of all the manmade non-living aspects of landscaping; this includes manmade pathways, outside furniture, unnatural boundaries like wooden, metal or brick walls and manmade structures like patios, water features, and outside cooking areas.
Softscaping And Types Of Softscaping.
Consists of all the living elements of landscaping; including but not limited to trees, flowers, garden worms, lawn and natural boundaries like live hedges. Controlling undesired living elements such as pests and weeds is an element under softscaping.
Important Considerations For Property Landscaping.
1. What is the purpose?
Landscaping is one of those areas in real estate where your cost can range from anywhere between a few hundred dollars for a wooden or metal fence to tens of thousands of dollars for water features and outside structures.
Because of that, it is important to consider what the purpose of the landscaping feature is; personal use features for a home you want to live in can be as low or high cost as you want. But once you start landscaping for investment purposes to sell or rent out your property; consideration of return on investment becomes crucial.
Not all landscaping projects are great options for investment purposes.
2. Project requirements.
It’s easy to fall into the DIY craze of YouTube tutorials and internet gurus; for some small scale landscaping projects such as gardening beds or birdhouses, it could be a fun project to try to do yourself.
But when it comes to larger and more complex projects like patios, pathways or roads; unless you’re an expert in the field yourself, it would be best to hire a professional.
On the personal side, this saves you the stress and money of careless mistakes as well as saving you from the disasters that can come from improper design and construction. On an investment level; this could save you from a costly lawsuit.
3. Required Maintenance and Resources.
A golden rule to go by when it comes to real estate landscaping is this;
The more softscaping you do, the higher the cost of long-term maintenance and resources is to keep the landscaping in good form. And the more hardscaping you do, the higher the cost of short-term maintenance and resources is to keep the landscaping in good form.
This is because on average, living components such as trees and flowers need to consistently take in resources such as water, fertilizers, and sunlight to survive for the long run while non-living components such as water features or walls need the investment of short-term of quality products like brick and mortar.
Long term-property investors such as rental landlords and Airbnb hosts need to consider this as an investment in softscaping could be cheaper in the short-term but lead to high future maintenance costs or in the case of rental tenants who don’t want to maintain the landscaping; the entire investment could be lost when the flora dies due to neglect.
A good way to properly invest in softscaping is through the use of succulents, perennial plants, gravel, and mulching. This greatly reduces the level of maintenance needed on landscaping and is further detailed (HERE).
4. Environment, Ecosystem, and Seasonality.
Most softscaping elements such as trees and flowers have a seasonal lifespan or seasonal adaptation; many plants wither and die in winter while trees lose their leaves and fruit. This not only contributes to maintenance costs but influence selling potential for investors as the once vibrant property loses its sheen and luster over certain months.
Hardscaping is also influenced by environment, ecosystems, and seasonality. The most obvious case for this would be how most people aren’t going to be interested in an outside patio when it’s flooding outside.
But a more influential factor is the consideration of pests. water features if not consistently maintained can turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes and frogs and outside gazebos, shed and other structures can become homes for rats.
Know what your area is known for and be prepared to handle everything you can.
When Should And Shouldn’t You Landscape Your Property?
|You should Landscape when:||You shouldn’t landscape when:|
|You know the seasonal best seasonal period for the elements you want to incorporate.||You don’t know the right season for softscaping.|
|You know that the element matches the desired outcome.||You want to DIY big projects.|
|You know what the seasons bring and how to prepare.||You want to focus on softscaping in an area with no water.|
|You want a swimming pool for home use.||You want to put a swimming pool to increase resale value.|
|You focus on perennials and succulents in areas without good water or rental properties.||You want to increase the value of selling or renting your property but you don’t know the landscaping ROI.|
|You have consulted your real estate agent if you are selling or renting out.||You want to focus on softscaping for rental properties.|
|You realize outside lighting is important.||You don’t factor how the landscaping will affect the view of the property from inside.|
|You don’t have a budget from the start.|