As we start our never-ending task of landscaping our home, I did a bit of research around the benefits of having a well landscaped home. Needless to say, the benefits significantly outweigh any pain and hardship you might endure doing it yourself.
There are few home improvements that a homeowner can undertake that add as much increased value and marketability to a property as dramatically as landscaping does. Landscaping provides a number of remarkable benefits.
According to studies (likely funded by landscaping companies), landscaping can actually increase property value by 14 to 20 percent. A simple landscaped patio can add an additional 12.4 percent to the value of a home. Even smaller projects can raise the value of the property significantly; landscaped curbs add up to 4.4 percent in value and the addition of hedges raises value by as much as 3.6 percent. Landscaped properties also sell an average of six weeks faster.
Even homeowners who are not thinking about selling their properties any time soon, can reap the benefits of landscaping. Of course, having a gorgeous landscape helps to make a house feel more like a home and provides an outlet for outdoor living. Landscaping can also increase the privacy of a property and make a home more secure from intrusion.
There are monetary benefits to landscaping, as well. A well designed landscape can actually help to lower heating and cooling expenses. Homes with insulating hedges and shading trees near windows that get maximum sun exposure have been shown to decrease their energy usage for heating and air conditioning by close to 20 percent.
Though landscaping may have the potential to raise the value of your property by 20 percent while lowering your energy use by another 20 percent, these maximum values can only be achieved by a well designed, installed and maintained landscape.
While we had input in our initial garden design, we’ve decided to do much of the labour ourselves (Ok, all of it) to save on costs. But even the most ardent ‘do-it-yourselfer’ can fall short when it comes to creating and maintaining the perfect landscape. It takes a skilled eye and a thorough understanding of plants, placement and environment to get the best results from landscaping. If you’re looking to get that garden oasis you’ve always wanted, it may be worth the few hundred dollars to get a landscape plan drawn up. This service can be independent of a landscape company actually installing it, if you’re worried about the cost of such a service.
If you do choose to have someone install your landscape for you, using a professional landscaping contractor is the best way to make sure that your home’s landscape is functional and provides the maximum value for your investment. A professional landscape maintenance service is also the best means of making sure that your investment is protected. Most landscape services are relatively inexpensive and the cost of using a professional is only a fraction of the cost of replacing improperly installed or maintained landscape features.
Picking the Right Landscape Contractor
Your landscape is an investment and when it comes to choosing a qualified professional you really want to give the decision just as much consideration as you would in selecting an investment banker or stock broker. Just because someone owns a landscaping service doesn’t mean they are qualified to meet your needs.
There are 3 main things to consider when selecting your landscaping service. First, find someone local. Your local landscape contractor will know the intricacies of your local environment and what plants work best within your are. Secondly, go with a full-time service. Using a full-time landscape contractor insures that you are using someone who is completely knowledgeable and qualified in the landscaping business. Thirdly, make sure the service you use is insured. Even the pros have accidents now and again. Insurance will help to protect you, your property and your investment.
Whatever you choose to do, preparation is the key. Good soil and a properly thought out plan will save heaps of pain and headaches as you start to really create the garden oasis that makes your house feel like a home.