Over the last few months, I’ve been speaking on the topic of money and landscaping; helping homeowners invest wisely in the outside of their homes. When it comes to the outdoors, spending money on renovations has never been so important or so confusing. More stats are coming out showing that landscaping is quickly joining kitchens and baths at the top of the return-on-investment list. In fact, a study by Remodeling Magazine put outdoor renovations ahead of indoors for their top 5 improvements for 2015!
So how do you choose what is right for your home?
I compare a property to a 3-course meal. The front yard is the appetizer. It sets the stage for the dinner and hopefully leaves your guests anticipating more. The house is definitely the meat and potatoes. It is the substance of the meal. Finally the backyard, which like the dessert course, finishes of the space.
Whether you’re having guests over for dinner or trying to impress potential buyers, people naturally start forming an opinion of your home from the moment they see it. That said, you only get one chance to make a first impression. For years, we were told that first impressions were made at the front door or at the front hallway. This is definitely not the case. Your front yard and landscaping is the very first thing people see when they come to your home and when it comes to home value, is definitely a smart investment.
How much of an investment should you make?
A first impression can increase your home’s perceived value by up to 7% according to a 2013 Century 21 study. That translates to $21,000 on the average Canadian home. This is a really important number. Basically, you now have a guideline of how much to spend on renovating the front yard. If you stay under 7% of your home’s value when landscaping the front, experts say that you’ll probably get your entire investment back when it’s time to sell. Here’s where you should be spending your money:
- A new front door – it’s the only one that has a higher return than cost (Remodeling Magazine, 2015).
- Front walk ways
- Well-designed driveways
- Stone veneers – these top the list of must-haves for the best first impressions.
Before you start building landscaping into your budget, take a look at this video gallery for inspiration:
I love to drive through neighbourhoods and look at the landscaping and the houses. Some homeowners put a lot of detail into their front yards with shrubs, flowers, trees and even seating areas. You can tell they care for their spaces and it’s not a big leap to assume the inside of the house looks like the outside. I measure the success of a good front yard by how much I want to see the rest of the property. Other homeowners go with the standard foundation plants, an evergreen and a large lawn. While there’s nothing wrong with this default designs, there’s also nothing inspiring about these yards either. Potential buyers will even admit to driving past a home that has poor curb appeal!
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that the landscaping will sell a home. All of the components on your property need to be working together if you want to get maximum dollars…and who doesn’t want to make the most on their home when its time to sell?
Who’s ready to think about landscaping and design? It’s never too early. We have a list of landscaping contractors who will help get your landscaping plans in order before the spring weather arrives.
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