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Landscaping is a win–win proposition. Tidying and greening around your home increases property value, is great for the environment and has been shown to improve your health!
Trees increase value: Perth-based research* found that a broad-leafed tree located on a street verge in front of a home increases the median property price by about $16,889.
Choose a leafy street: The economic value of greenspace* case study, put together by Brisbane City Council, found “leafy streets, with 50 per cent or more tree cover, added up to $29,000 (5.4 per cent) above the median house sale price”.
Landscaping achieves high-value returns: A Michigan University study* found that homeowners achieved a 109 per cent return on every landscaping dollar spent – higher than any other home improvement.
Good landscape design increases value: The same Michigan University research found good landscape design – as judged by plant type, size and design sophistication – increased perceived home value by 5–11 per cent.
We spoke with experienced horticulturist, Nursery & Garden Industry Australia representative and creator of online gardening resources Hortiman and Hortipedia, Matthew Carroll, to find out his top garden tips for improving your home’s value.
1. Define lawn edges
At the very least mow and edge your lawn. Edging your lawn makes a garden (or yard) look restrained and tamed, which gives it the appearance of lower maintenance – a popular selling point. Creating an edge is easy and can be as simple as using a sharp spade to cut a neat separation between your lawn and garden bed, path or fence. Alternatively, you can use a physical barrier such as timber, steel, brick or stone.
2. Solve problems with plants
Address your property’s shortfalls such as overlooking neighbours or busy roads by planting-out your gardens. While the plants may not initially create a full visual barrier, or any real sound improvement, the perceived improvement from a buyer’s point of view will be worth it.
Talk to your local garden centre about your garden’s particular environment (shade, light, soil and proximity to the coast). And remember, if you are selling, your nursery can order in mature hedging for an immediate result.
3. Mulch and weed
Weeding and mulching your plant beds will help your garden appear low-maintenance and well kept. Choose a utility mulch such as pine bark or forest fines, rather than typical ‘gardener-preferred’ options such as lucerne and sugarcane. Utility mulches look neater, and when you’re selling it’s less about function and more about appearance. Avoid mulches that are too “out there”, such as dyed woodchip, Carroll warns, as these can put off home buyers.
4. Limit the number of plant species
Minimising the number of plant species in your garden will make your garden appear easier to maintain and give it a more uniform look. However, don’t be too dogmatic about restricting your choices. In general, Carroll encourages some plant diversity as it encourages biodiversity, is good for the local ecology, reduces pest impact, extends flowering times and generally looks more interesting!
5. Lay new lawn
A lush lawn will make any home sparkle. If you are covering a large area and want a cost-effective option, try Kikuyu. It is about 50 per cent cheaper than Buffalo grass. For example, replacing 100 square metres of lawn in Sydney using Premium Buffalo (Sir Walter or Kings Pride varieties, for instance) will cost approximately $8.50 per square metre, while Kikuyu will cost $4.50 per square metre.
If your lawn is looking a bit patchy or has browned-off over winter (this often happens with couch grass) you could oversow with a lawn seed blend typically made up primarily of fescue and rye grasses. This will thicken up and green the lawn.
6. Add colour and form
Add welcoming planters to entranceways featuring clipped topiary, and fill any other pots in garden areas with bright flowering annuals or perennials to give your garden an immediate lift. If you are selling, you can always take the potted plants with you for your new garden.
7. Prune conservatively
The aim is to make your home look well-maintained and cared for, and pruning or tidying up plants and trees will achieve great results. That said, Carroll strongly recommends restraint. “Don’t get carried away,” he says. “You don’t want your garden to look hacked bare!”