Preparing your home for the rental or sale market doesn’t need to involve a big wad of cash, but it does take some planning. “Price principles”, if followed, can increase the return on your investment considerably. Take the garden, landscaping, and maintenance — your ticket to adding value before potential tenants or buyers even step in the door.
Today, people don’t want to be mowing and pruning hedges every weekend. They want to enjoy their garden space, not be a slave to it. When arriving at your home, a busy flower garden that’s overgrown can look like high maintenance and a nightmare. A few yucca plants to break up a low maintenance mulched area, on the other hand, can transform your first impression garden into a clean, green, fresh space with instant buyer appeal.
Price principles that you should consider
When planning your landscaping investment, aim to make your home look well-maintained and cared for. Prune or tidy up plants and trees and consider these price principles for maximum return.
The current value of your home and your target market will mostly determine what elements you add to your garden and what you spend on it. If you’re targeting a family with two kids, for example, your home will still need to be within the right price point while offering the elements families want — an outdoor area for the kids to play, tough, attractive, and low maintenance plants, and a seating area to enjoy outdoor meals and to entertain.
The garden needs to look good, but it also needs to be functional. With this in mind, consider where you dry your clothes, where you store the garbage, and where you park the car. These practical elements are essential to outdoor areas, but they don’t need to be ugly. If possible, hide your garbage bins somewhere near your kitchen and consider installing a retractable clothesline that won’t impede the visual appearance of the garden.
The root meaning of a garden is “enclosure”. This element is crucial for providing a sense of refuge within nature’s embrace. Ideally, aim to provide a balance of enclosure and openness, whatever the size of your garden. This could be as simple as separating the patio from the adjacent play area with a few tall plants. Screening plants are a great way of softening an outdoor space and making your garden look bigger.
There is a power to seeing repetition in the garden that is genuinely affecting. Seeing just a few different varieties of plants in a setting is much more soothing and calming than a busy cottage-style garden. Russell Page, one of the great twentieth-century landscape designers said it well: “the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element. Imagine the Parthenon with each column a different kind of marble!”
5. The holiday effect
This year’s pandemic has taught us we cannot take holidays for granted. We’re spending more time than ever at home and we now recognize the importance of having a place to lounge and relax for those ‘staycations’. Adding a cabana or water feature can create a tranquil, day spa-like retreat, but the holiday effect can be applied with a simple hammock or outdoor beanbag.
If your lawn is looking a bit patchy and brown in spots, oversow it with a lawn seed blend to thicken it up. A lush lawn is part of the overall package people are buying into and it will make any home sparkle. One of the best investments you can make, results from a national Raine & Horne survey of real estate agents revealed that a green lawn can improve property values by as much as $100,000.
7. Defined edging
Edging your lawn makes your garden look restrained and tame, again suggesting that the garden is low maintenance. You can use a physical barrier such as timber, brick, steel or stone but to keep costs down, simply use a sharp spade to cut a neat separation between your lawn, garden beds, path, and fence.
Garden beds always look tidier and more presentable with a layer of mulch on top. Eucalyptus mulch and pine bark can be found at any local garden center, or try talking to your local tree removal company about scoring some free mulch.
Address the overlooking neighbors next door and order in some mature hedging to create a sense of privacy. If you don’t want to fork out lots, plant some small screening plants for a perceived improvement or talk to your local garden nursery about hiring some established screening plants.
If you have any worn and rickety fencing that gives the impression it will fall over in the next strong wind, now is the time to update. Replacing it might not be in your budget but it’s amazing what you can achieve with a few nails and a lick of paint. Additionally, fencing or secure walls or gates is another feature that will give your property a boost in desirability and value when selling.
Putting landscaping first
When preparing your home for renting or selling, it’s easy to focus your attention on the interior. But great gardens sell homes and are your ticket to a great first impression!
Get your hands dirty and start with the cheap ways to help you sell your home - weeding, fertilizing your lawn, dividing your garden with edging. Once tidied up, dive into these price principles and see that with a little hard yakka and creative sourcing of materials you can add instant value to your home without breaking the bank.