Is Landscaping a good Return on Investment?

When you consider the amount you wish to invest in landscaping your home, Return on Investment or ROI is in the mind of most people. Sometimes people express it by saying, “I don’t want to over capitalize on what we spend.”

There are two parts to look at with regard to ROI. Firstly, the most obvious is the financial investment. Second is around effort or thought that is applied to the creation of your dream garden, and what your return is in terms of functionality and contribution to your life.

First, let’s look at the financial investment which will fall into one of two categories:

  1. Breaking Even: If you invest say $100,000 into landscaping, you will hope to increase the value of your home, for some figure that at least returns that same amount back.
  2. Profitable Investment: Then there is the investment of funds that can yield a much greater amount in return.

Now interestingly enough, #2 is not always the most important and we will talk about why in a moment.

As a bare minimum, most people feel this is important to achieve #1. Your home is usually your greatest asset and so increasing its value is important. Knowing your investment is sound is determined by many factors. You could ask for a valuation of your property to be carried out and ask them questions about the landscaping and what might be the expected return.

If your home is one that others would consider a knock down and re-build, then the landscaping becomes more window dressing than the creation of a garden with exquisite taste.

If your property is not a re-build, but is perhaps an established garden that has gotten tired and lacks any appeal, then improvement is going to increase your ROI, but how far do you go with investing?

Considerations that influence the amount you invest will include the suburb you live in and the value of your home. i.e., spending $150,000 on a home that’s valued at $600,000 may be over capitalizing but on a home valued at $2.5 million, you may be under investing.

The style of home you have and what others around you include as part of the landscaping again influence ROI. The guiding principle here is, follow a conservative path of using materials and styling that people are familiar with.

On occasion, while sitting with a client designing their garden, they will mention some inclusion they wish to see in the design. I like to ask how long they intend to live in the house and if they say, “we will sell in the next two years” then I suggest we need to consider the future buyer as being important to design for. Avoid inclusions that are unique to your tastes. Designing for hundreds of clients has given my design team and I insights into what is commonly requested and often rejected.

Let’s look at #2 above – To increase your ROI requires more thought placed on creativity. The more functionality appeal your garden has, the more it’s value.

Likewise, the more aesthetic it is, the more it is desired. Taking art for example, people will pay enormous amounts to have something impact them emotionally. A garden is the same. The creation of a garden with huge aesthetic appeal attracts and elevates the mood of others and when that ‘other’ is a potential buyer of your property, you now can see a greater ROI than logic would suggest.

Aesthetics is one of the key factors in the increase in value of your home. This may include the styling approach used, i.e., coastal or Hamptons, etc. It may be the quality of the materials used, the type and arrangement of the plants, and unique finishes or features employed.

ROI is determined by many more factors and an experienced and observant designer will know these.

Now, let’s return to my comment above with regard to #2 not always being the most important.

We have talked ROI with regard to money, however, of far greater importance is the gift a garden can bestow upon you. If you intend to sell your house in 4 years and think, “perhaps I should be reserved in my investment as I may be over capitalizing” – what needs consideration is the ROI to your lifestyle.

What value is your ideal garden in your life? As I talk to clients sometime after the completion of their landscaping and ask how it has affected their life, some of what comes up is as follows. Contentment. To be able to unwind from the frantic lifestyles we now live is impactful, we even have a new buzzword for it,
Staycation. Very accurately worded, yes, you can go on holiday every single day in your own backyard and allow stresses of life to melt away.

What about your family? How do you put a value on spending time with your kids outside and hearing them laugh, or watching them study some insect, or perhaps plant a tomato seedling? The sheer joy at watching your kids having fun, while safe in your garden, is something any parent will tell you is priceless.

As the social beings we are, what value do you put on inviting your friends around for a BBQ? To spend time with close friends, relaxing and sharing moments that bind in our memories, these would be fond moments we look forward to and enjoy remembering.

So when you consider the ROI, money is important but how you live your life is of greater importance and must be measured against any decision on what dollar value will be invested. Time ticks away, so consider what is most important when weighing up your investment.

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Last updated: July 30, 2017

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