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Does Landscaping
Add Value to Your Home?

This is the one question that I am forever being asked by both my current clients, whenever they're considering a make over, as well as prospective ones, who have just bought a house and want to re-landscape or have children or a dog and need to reconsider their environment.

It's also a very valid question because landscaping can be a substantial investment and it makes financial sense to know if that investment may pay off in the event the home is ever put on the market.

I recently read an interesting article at Buzzle.com that examines these considerations so I thought I would share their POV with you. What follows is a truncated and personalized version of that article.  For the complete version please check out their website above.

What the Experts Say

According to Buzzle's experts, a well-maintained landscape in the front and backyard will add 15% to the selling price. Also, well-landscaped homes sell 5 times faster than any other home.

Planning The Layout

Landscaping needs a lot of imagination. But you can't go out there and plant any kind of plant and shrub at random. I mean, just because you love camellias doesn't mean you can get them to grow – trust me!

Ideally, you might get help from an expert friend or neighbor or – one would hope – the owner of your local nursery. My suggestion, if you want to do the planting yourself but aren't sure where or how to begin, is to employ a professional landscape designer as a consultant

Hiring A Consultant

Hiring A Consultant

A landscape designer can help translate your great gardening ideas into a workable design, advise you on soil, irrigation, lighting, hardscape and, most importantly, help you select appropriate plants for your particular situation. Nothing is more depressing than buying a lot of expensive plants and having them die. So while there will be an up-front cost for their expertise, in the long run, they could save you thousands of dollars my helping you make intelligent and workable choices.

Setting Borders and Garden Beds

It is essential to set up your garden beds and borders before you actually begin planting. Old bricks and stones make excellent borders. If you want a water feature, you can use stones to create a stream bed or build a waterfall. Adding gravel or decomposed granite to garden paths is easy and inexpensive and adds a lot to the look of a garden.

One of the most popular selling points is outdoor lighting. There are any number of instruments to choose from and while some are available at the Home Depot, Anawalt, etc., an even a larger selection can be found on line.

Buying Shrubs and Trees

Installing  A Palm

The next step is to buy some good samplings and trees from a local nursery. I suggest local nurseries because they usually stock those plants that do well in your region. And while plants look wonderful in catalogues, be careful to read which zone they do best in and the amount of sunlight, water and humidity they require. After all, succulents work wonderfully here in Southern California, but they would not only look out of place but would die, planted in Connecticut

Buying fully grown trees or rare seasonal plants can be quite costly both to purchase and to install, but it may be worth the time and effort if it helps "make" your front lawn or can be used as the focal point of your landscaped back yard. If, however, you wish to cut down on costs, then opt for smaller plants that, in time, like everything in life, will mature.

It's also important to lay out your garden to include seasonal bloomers – plants that bloom at different times of the year – so that your landscape has year-round eye appeal. Along with them, make sure to add some all-season bloomers and fragrant varieties like roses and don't forget rapid growers, such as evergreens and thorny bushes.

Curb Appeal

Crescent Heights

As Keno Rider, a real estate broker at Keller Williams, and a member of my West Hollywood BNI Professionals chapter, said, when I asked him about the importance of landscaping in selling a house, "It's curb appeal … and it's essential in this real estate market. If the property doesn't look great from the street, you will rarely get your potential buyer to even walk through the door. It doesn't mean that you've got to spend a fortune, but if it doesn't look as good or even better than it's neighbors, then forget about it. It's just like 'staging' a house; you want the potential buyer to see the property 'dressed to sell.'"

So, design your front yard in such a way that it's a visual delight to you as well as prospective buyers. But make sure that it looks terrific from the street. Lay it out in such a way that the tallest plants and trees are towards the rear (nearest the house) and the shorter ones towards the center. With flowering shrubs, use your imagination and set them in such a way that your garden is filled with color all year round

Maintaining the Landscape

As Keno pointed out, "It's not the extravagance of the landscaping, it's how it relates to the property and how well it's maintained." Often, it's just a matter of cleaning things up – trimming the trees and bushes, replacing dead or unattractive plants, fixing any broken pavement or missing flagstone and making sure that all the sprinklers and outdoor lighting work.

Therefore, it's not enough to just to do the landscaping and then leave it to nature. Gardens need tending, and they need to be tended by people who know what they're doing, not just guys who come by once and week and mow, blow and go – but don't get me started.

Adding Garden Furniture

Outdoor Garden Furniture

A time-tested way of adding greater value to your property is by creating seating areas that can be enjoyed by the family and guests, Whether it's a seating/dining area and barbecue pit, a gazebo or several Adirondack chairs placed on the grass, in Southern California, the use of outdoor space is extremely important and can add significant value to your property.

While the design and construction of hardscape: steps, patios, pergolas and pools is probably better left to the professional, you can, if you have the time and a good strong back, do a good deal of it yourself, by the use of flagstone, gravel and thoughtfully selected furniture and accessories.

Some Extra Selling Points

  • Include tall evergreen trees to border your entire garden. Not only will these help to block the view of your home from your neighbor's window, they help keeps dust and strong winds at bay.
  • Create shaded seating areas by selecting trees that create large, dense canopies.
  • To hide the less attractive areas of your home, like the air conditioning unit or the meter box, add dense bushes.
  • And to discourage burglars, you might consider plating thorny bushes beneath easily accessible ground-floor windows.

But what's most important is to use the outdoor portion of your property as well and with the same care that you use the indoor. If you're successful in this, when the time comes to sell, your property will only need a minimum of sprucing up.

Garden Consultation

If you'd like to set up a phone consultation or arrange a site inspection of your garden, now is the time to give a call (323-461-6556) or email me. In addition to my work as a landscape designer and contractor, I love giving advice and have provided garden consultations to any number of folks with great results.

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“A Gardener's Thoughts & Fancies”

Plant Of The Month

Ruth Smith - Sage Wellness

Spathiphyllum

Spathiphyllum or peace lily is a popular indoor plant which has originated from tropical regions of America and south-east Asia.

The leaves of the plant are shinny and glossy which emerge from the soil. The white or white-green spaths emerge from the leaf-stalks and slowly fade to yellow overtime.

Spathiphyllum requires little water and sunlight to grow. Many people gift Spathiphyllum as it is considered to be an attractive indoor plant and is considered as a spiritual symbol of Christmas.

Their beautiful, long-lasting flowers usually bloom in spring; however they could be forced to bloom in winter. Some varieties Spathiphyllum plants are known to bloom twice in a year resulting in the plant having flowers for several months.

Bugs like mites and scale can damage the plant, so make sure you protect it from these bugs. If you are planning to grow Spathiphyllum at home, there are a few points that you need to remember.

  • Avoid placing Spathiphyllum in an area which is exposed to direct sunlight. These plants are shade loving plants and require little sunlight. However, there are certain varieties of Spathiphyllum which can withstand direct sunlight.
  • In summers, you have to water the plant often as the plant is known to thrive when the soil is highly humid. Make sure the soil is wet at all times to ensure the growth of the plant. In winter, you can reduce the watering but make sure the soil does not dry out.
  • High cold and hot temperatures can damage the plant. Spathiphyllum grows best in moist climate which is neither too hot nor too cold. The ideal temperature for growing is 60-85 degree Fahrenheit.
  • It is advisable that you use soil that can retain moisture and drains excess water. If the soil you have purchased is too tight, you can use sand or peat moss. Before you start a fertilization program, make sure the plant has settled.
  • In summers, Spathiphyllum may require extra fertilization and you may have to feed it weekly. Some people who are unable to feed weekly use slow release pellets at the beginning of the summer season. Both over fertilization and under fertilization can damage the plant.
  • Mist the plant frequently with warm water to drafts which could damage the plant. You can increase the humidity of the soil by placing gravel or pebbles in the drainage dish.

Propagation of Spathiphyllum is usually done in spring by dividing the overcrowded cluster of leaves. You need to pull each rhizome apart making sure that each rhizome has at least two leaves attached to it. You can plant these individual pieces in a pot which has equal quantities of peat moss and coarse sand. Please do not fertilize the newly potted plant for at least three months.

Spathiphyllum is not known for its medicinal properties, however the plant is considered to be an excellent air purifier. Some species of Spathiphyllum are known to remove traces of methyl, acetone, toluene, benzene, ammonia and ethyl from the atmosphere.

For more information on Spathiphyllum Click Here.

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