Good Landscaping Adds Value

Hello everyone,

Today I want to talk about landscaping your property, and how to do it so that there are real benefits for the money and effort that you put in.

If you ask anyone involved in real estate or property valuations, they will confirm that good effective plant landscaping can add a lot of value to a property in two ways: monetary and aesthetic value. Many times I have seen properties where home owners have spent a lot of time and money on their landscaping, and it has added no value at all - in fact, in some cases it has resulted in decreased value of the property. This can happen where some planting has been done, and the plants chosen were completely inappropriate for the site, and didn't have any rhyme nor reason with regard to the style and layout. In a few years after planting, the garden has turned into a very big messy jungle of nothing looking good.

You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a nice looking garden. It is the combination of plants used and the style that will determine the end result.

It's very soul destroying to see plants and trees get planted on a property, only to see them in 5 years time being pulled out because they got too big, or to see new plants that have died because they were just not put in the right place in the first place.

Putting plants too close together in the garden, leading to overcrowding is a common problem, especially in the Waikato region, because we have such a great climate for growth. There are not too many months in the Waikato where we don't get some sort of rainfall, and overall we have pretty mild temeratures (even in the winter) so plants and trees tend to get bigger than we expect them to. This inevidently leads to some plants having to be chopped out, just so a bit of style remains in the garden.

I tell my landscape clients that the three most important areas that will add aesthetic and monetary value to their property are privacy, hiding wooden fences, and making sure the garden is easy to care for.

  • Privacy: Everyone loves to be able to wonder around their own garden, without feeling like the neighbours or the world is watching them. Strategic planting can certainly help create the privacy we are after. By planting hedges or a mixed border of shrubs and trees that will eventually all grow together, will quickly achieve this
  • Wooden Fences: If you live in a new urban subdivision, then you will definitely know what I am talking about. I do understand why in all new subdivisions, straight away everyone puts up a solid wooden fence, because it instantly gives them some sort of privacy from their immediate neighbour, but gosh, these fences are quite ugly. I think its because they are all the same style, height and look very unattractive. There is a number of ways we can very easily fix the problem- by nailing some netting onto the fence and growing a lovely climber on the wall. I did exactly this, on a clients fence, we planted Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and in two years the wooden fence was completely transformed into a living wall, where you could no longer see any of the original timber fence, and all you had was the most beautiful white starry fragrant flowers all summer-. The only maintenance the client had to do was a yearly trim each winter with a pair of hedgeclippers, and a 2 x yearly feed with fertiliser. Also another option is a nicely clipped hedge in front of, and hiding the wooden fence. There are many good hedges avaliable these days, that require very little maintenance, and they look very attractive all year round.
  • Easy Care: I see lots of new landscape clients every month, and without fail they all tell me that they want a nice garden that needs minimal care. This is generally because they already lead such a hectic life, and the last thing they want is a garden that needs constant attention to look any good. Everyone is time-poor these days, either running around after children, or in their later years, there are so many more interesting things like travelling, and going to the beach. For a lot of people, continually pulling weeds and trying to keep some sort of normality to the garden can be just too hard. I often see properties in the paper for sale, where the home owner is struggling to find a new owner. The reason is not that the house isn't ideal, it is simply that the garden is scaring off potential buyers, because it wasnt designed to be low maintenance and just looks like it needs a full time gardener to keep it in shape. This is exactly the kind of landscaping that I was talking about earlier in this article, where the property may be worth more if there was nothing planted. So all the money and effort from the previous owners has added no aesthetic or monetory value to the property at all.

People tell me there is no such thing as a low maintenance garden, but I disagree. You can certainly have a garden that requires very minimal maintenance - simply select plants that are proven performers (some plants are definitely much easier to look after than others), and make sure the garden preparation is done properly in the first place, so that weeding and watering over the summer months is not really an issue. This can be by mulching, and selecting plants that are going to thrive in that particular site. If your existing garden requires a large amount of work, or is taking up more time than you want, then I suggest you do something about it. If you have a brand new property where the garden hasnt yet gone in, then you need to make very sure that whatever gardens you are intending to create, that you make them "easy care"

Happy Gardening with Graeme

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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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