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A Great Return on Your Investment

by Cathy Carr, APLD

We're experiencing great changes in both our environmental and economic climates. As a concerned homeowner, cost-effective solutions to improving both of these areas can be achieved through maintaining and enhancing your landscaping. Some question whether investing in landscaping is a good idea at this time, but experts
agree that caring for your landscape should be a top priority - especially when home values appear to be falling. What are these experts saying? According to a Virginia Tech study, an attractive
landscape boosts property value by an average of 7.5% and reduces the time on the market by six weeks.

The Wall Street Journal reported in October 2008 that landscape investments are recovered fully, and sometimes doubled, by increased home value as a result of good landscaping, while kitchen remodeling brings a 75% to 125% recovery rate, and bathroom
remodeling a 20% to 120% recovery rate. According to the article, 20 Things That Can Alter the Value of Your Home, curb appeal made the top five. A good landscape was listed as number eight. Homes with excellent landscaping can expect a sale price about 6% to 7% higher than equivalent houses with good landscaping.

Improving landscaping from average to good can result in a 4% to 5% increase. Source: Clemson University. Whether you're selling your home or staying put, remember that plants always grow. To get the most out of your landscaping investment, include maintenance in your budget. I visit many gardens each year where overgrown, misshaped trees and shrubs need to be removed and replaced. If they had been properly maintained, original well-chosen plants could have performed for years or even decades longer. Structural pruning, proper fertilization, thorough weeding and proper applications of mulch keep plants growing healthfully and save you money in the long run.

Call your design consultant to assess your site and discuss with you some cost-effective ways to enhance your garden and keep your property looking its best. In addition to maintenance, exterior lighting and improvements to service/utility areas can upgrade the appearance and functionality of your property. Implementing a professional landscape design for, say, a new front entryway or backyard entertainment area will really increase the value of your home. As a bonus, landscaping changes provide daily personal leasure, and in these nerve-wracking times, who doesn't want to just feel good?

A lovely veranda

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