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Curb Appeal, It’s Real.

January 3, 2013 Blog No comments

Curb Appeal is something every home owner, realtor or business owner should consider when buying, selling or simply dwelling in a home.  Curb appeal is the first thing you see outside of a home or business from the “curb”.  It is what will ‘make or break’ the exterior value or reputation of a home or business.  The right landscaping can increase your home value by 5-20% according to Smart Money Magazine.

The purpose of these landscape additions is simply to increase the Curb Appeal and overall Value of a home or business.  Clemson University & University of Michigan state that consumers value a landscaped home at 11.3% higher than it’s base price!  For a $200,000 home, that is over $22,000 more than it’s original value!  To landscape an average size front and one (1) side of a home of about that value, I estimate it would cost anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the materials and services desired.  That would make you $16,000 to $20,000 with a high quality landscape!  This may seem extreme, but this is definitely possible.

I have worked for several clients who desire to increase the value of their home by adding more Curb Appeal to the exterior landscape.  One small project we completed in Mount Joy, PA is featured in the picture above.  Before, all we had a were a few yew bushes and a blank space to work with.  Because this home owner used us for their design and installation, they received high quality materials, year-round interest/curb appeal and appropriate plant material for long-termaesthetics!

We also completed a small project in Adams County, PA earlier this fall.  This was a house that was being “flipped” and re-sold for a higher price shortly after purchasing.  All we had was grass and plenty of weeds including invasive trees and shrubs (already remove before this picture).

The left side of the house, along the driveway. This creates an extra side of the house that will be viewed from the road, sidewalk and driveway.

All we need to do for this job is add some new shutters, remove any weedy trees/shrubs, create new beds and remove weeds, and install the new trees, shrubs and perennials.  After those tasks are complete, we mulch!

After. We added (1) Cornus kousa dogwood tree in the yard as a small to medium sized tree for interest.

(1) Amelanchier canadensis, some Buxus ‘Winter Jem’ boxwood and (2) Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ hollies, cultivated by Longwood Gardens!

Although the boxwoods are small, they are an average-fast growing variety and will fill the space within a few years.  With a larger budget, I would prefer to install ones about 18-24″ in height, instead.

While this planting was mostly symmetrical, I usually like to make one side slightly different than the other. On the left side I added a Weigelia ‘Wine & Roses” purple-leafed weigelia with pink flowers in the early summer. On the corner I added a Cercis canadensis ‘Hearts Of Gold’ golden leaf redbud tree.

Around the left side, after. Nothing much to be seen this time of year, but in the growing season adding some herbaceous perennials would really spice up this bed!

Adding a few Ilex glabra ‘Shamrock’ inkberry hollies will add a light, evergreen barrier between the driveway and the existing concrete patio slab. Providing a buffer and some privacy in the warmer months.

While this is a very basic installation, these additions drastically helped the aesthetics, value and Curb Appeal of this home.  You can always go BIGGER and BETTER with these improvements.  Adding larger trees, shrubs or more plants will always improve the quality.  However, no matter what size the plants are or what value is desired, we will NEVER attempt to add plants that will out-grow the space, interfere with the functionality of the home or get too crowded over time.  This is why we provide professional designs before all projects.  To ensure you know exactly what you’re getting and what it should look like 5-10+ years down the road.

Even though you can’t see the herbaceous perennial plants during the winter months, things will definitely brighten up this house in the spring, summer and fall months.  Especially when the plants begin to mature a bit (including the boxwood, flowering trees and flowering perennials).  I would suggest that the seller provide a detailed design and description of the materials and services provided to improve the home.  While the perennials cannot be seen at this time of year, they will certainly add interest in the appropriate season and should certainly hold value as well.

Some more statistics to get you Digging…

  • A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000. Source: Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers.
  • Landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200% at selling time. Kitchen remodeling brings a 75 to 125% recovery rate, bathroom remodeling a 20 to 120% recovery rate, and addition of a swimming pool a 20 to 50% recovery rate. Source: Smart Money Magazine.
  • Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading and insulating the windows and walls of a home. Source: American Public Power Association.

A home within a development, right after planting. Getting more creative with the use of yard space by creating unusual, yet attractive bed shapes and plant placement.

A mature landscape with plenty of color and curb appeal!

Imagine this business entrance with only turfgrass. This adds curb appeal and enhances the first impression and value of this business location in Middletown, PA.

The front walkway leading to the door. It’s nice having a seating wall and bench space to rest on.

We have still be doing projects throughout this winter, regardless of the cold weather.  As Andy Beck used to say,”A plant will do better in the ground than it will sitting in a pot!”.

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