Gardens and Landscaping
How do gardens and landscaping as a development feature can add value to projects and individual properties?
There is no doubt that adding gardens and landscaping to a development project makes an environment substantially more appealing for property owners and users. But how can you quantify that value, what is the ‘right’ amount of landscaping, what type of landscaping should be implemented and what elements relating to landscaping and gardens are detrimental to property values.
1. Weed Out the Work
Let’s face it, even the keenest of gardeners isn’t excited about weeding. Going for a low maintenance space works to satisfy most. In the case of apartment or resort complexes, it reduces the maintenance work and therefore costs of the operator.
In individual homes, a low maintenance space is least likely to put off prospective buyers as they will not be overwhelmed by the work required to keep the space in a reasonable state.
Irrigation systems, chipping and minimal planting can all be features which help to keep upkeep and maintenance to a minimum. Keeping landscaping simple makes a property much more saleable. Complex topiary, small grass areas or high maintenance paving only serve to put off prospective buyers.
2. Efficient Maintenance Costs
Maintenance of a garden or landscaping area can be expensive. Selection of durable materials and hardy plants helps minimise costs of maintenance.
Water efficiency is also a way you can reduce maintenance costs. Subject to how arid the property destination is, water efficiency is a huge concern for end users / maintenance providers.
Firstly, developers need to know that there is sufficient water to supply the planting. This is especially important in desert or other arid climates. Grey water recycling can be an excellent method of irrigating planted areas to keep costs to a minimum. Planting that will be expensive to water or which needs more water than is reasonably available will have a detrimental impact on property value. Developers and home owners should therefore think carefully therefore when selecting the type and quantity of plants for their landscaped garden areas.
3. Make it Safe for Children
Beware of large drops or steps from decking, ponds, swimming pools and other features. An ungated drop may strike fear into the hearts of parents and grandparents. Most people have children in their homes at some time, even if just as visitors, and ensuring their safety is a must.
Swimming pools should have fencing or other lockable enclosure to prevent the unsupervised access of children to the swimming pool and decking area.
4. Make Light of your Garden
Outdoor lighting transforms an outdoor space and makes it usable and safe. Lighting can also provide security and reduces the likelihood of accidents. Make sure steps are well lit and any drops are identified with lighting.
Solar lighting is much improved and provides a cost-efficient way to add feature lighting. This can, in combination with mains lighting help mark paths and ensure safety.
5. Sink or Swim: Adding Swimming Pools
Swimming pools can be either a positive or a negative. It really depends on the price bracket that the property falls into. Swimming pools generally have some hefty maintenance costs for cleaning and heating. Developers should consider the implementation of ground source heat pumps or solar panels to reduce the maintenance and running costs of swimming pools and increase their appeal.
Swimming pools can also be perceived as a hazard for young children. Their inclusion can restrict your market as it can put off parents and grandparents, especially if the pool is not contained in a lock-off area. If adding a swimming pool therefore, it is preferable to make sure that it is in a child friendly environment (i.e. it has a fence or similar preventing small children accessing it by accident).
6. Embrace the indigenous
By selecting plants that will thrive in their environment you will reduce the maintenance requirements of the plants and therefore the cost of maintenance. The place to start is with the selection of indigenous plants. Indigenous plants will survive well in the environment reducing your plant loss. You should also aim to select plants that thrive in all seasons for at least 50% of the fixed planting.
7. Creating a Tree House
Building a house in a tree is one thing, but the golden rule with landscaping is not to plant a tree too close to a house. Depending on the type of tree, the root zone can destabilise the foundations of the property and cause movement.
On the flip side, trees can also reduce water run-off and soak up excess water reducing pooling and clogging, so excluding trees all together is also not beneficial. Take the advice of a professional arborist to understand what trees you should use to protect your building the best and provide a beautiful lush environment.
8. Benchmark Good Garden Furniture
During the viewing process, garden furniture and benches can help buyers visualise the space. It can also, especially on warmer days, encourage buyers to stop and enjoy the space for a moment. This helps them picture themselves spending time there and living there. Make sure that the furniture is kept clean and looks new for optimum effect.
9. Patio Pitfalls
Patios are often one of the most used areas of a garden. They are where you will eat, barbecue, sit with friends and usually where you will place most of the garden furniture.
A mistake often made is to over clutter the patio area with features. A simple and expansive open patio area gives the owner the best flexibility in the use of the space and makes the space more saleable.
When creating gardens and landscaping that will appeal to property buyers, you essentially want to present to them a beautiful area which is flexible, easy to look after and which will not have high maintenance costs. If you follow this general rule you are sure to create development or property gardens and landscaping that will keep everyone happy. Hiring an expert landscaping firm is an essential for any property developer. They will make sure that the design of the space is carefully thought through.