Author Topic: Professional landscaping  (Read 2496 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Professional landscaping
« on: July 13, 2014, 12:23:43 PM »
Hi all,
We are trying to turn our weedy backyard (that is not level and has bald patches) into a low maintenance edible garden with perennial/ annual edibles, drought tolerant plants, and fruit trees...
We both have only lived in apartments before and we are quite overwhelmed by all the decisions to make and things to do (we don't have a truck or heavy duty equipments (we do have some hand tools like shovel and a lopper, weed-wacker etc.) Because my dh is super busy with work and not as excited as I am in gardening... making trips to nurseries and hauling dirt etc. so i am the primary person handling the gardening stuff.

So we do live in area where many houses (not all, but many do) have professional landscaping done. We don't think we are having much hardscaping, we already have a deck... mainly it would be, designing the space, planting fruit trees, grading the yard, replace existing weedy, patchy lawn with lower maintenance clover lawn or other more drought tolerant grass, creating area for planting native plants / mixed with perennials/ annuals edibles, flagstones paths, trellises and, change some of the existing irrigation to accommodate new landscape, tool shed area and other design decisions)

hopefully we can get the project under $8,000 (hopefully less) if we hire someone to design and install the landscaping. We paid $537,000 for our house last year and intend to stay here another 10 years minimum.( we are in the Bay Area, so real estate prices are crazy, this is considered affordable compare to SF). I notice that when people fix up their houses to sell, landscaping is one of things that is done to fetch higher prices. We figure, if we have to do it when we sell the house in the future anyway, why not do it early so we at least get to enjoy it?

So my question is, let's say if we spend $8,000 on landscaping, how much of that can we recoup when we sell in 10 years? We are making more money this year so this is within our budget. Our goal is to save $30K each year, and this year we should be able to save and invest $40,000. and can still spend $8,000 for a home project. Still this is quite a bit of money, but if this adds value to our property value, it is easier to stomach. Is landscaping considered home improvement or maintenance if no new structure is created (we aren't adding an outdoor living room)

We do enjoy being outside a lot, and I like gardening, so I intend to do most garden maintenance myself once this is set up.

My worry about DIY is if it will end up taking years instead of days to get it done, and if we don't do something right, we end up having to redo it or still have a professional come work on it, then we end spending more in both time and money.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Professional landscaping
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 01:11:07 PM »
I'm in the Bay Area too and am doing some landscaping as well.  Landscaping around here is very expensive, so given your 8k amount, it sounds like you're being heroically cost-conscious with your yard.  (In comparison, my budget is 50k, yeesh!)

But calculating a return on home improvements is always tricky, especially in our crazy market.  Also, given your 10 year timeframe and small investment amount, it may be impossible to predict it that far out or even calculate what effect it had even during time of sale.

Given you're in the Bay Area, the return you get on your home will be dominated by external market forces rather than some landscaping that was done 10 years ago.

My opinion: if you really want to do more landscaping, are comfortable with your budget, and it'll add to your enjoyment of home life, then do it.  But, if you're going to regret spending the money, don't do it.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Professional landscaping
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 02:08:12 PM »
I do a tremendous amount of gardening, and it's all time-consuming.  It's great to think about it and want to do, but make sure you have the time to put into it.  If I were working outside the home, it would never get done--and I'm very behind on it now.  Several years ago when an appraiser came out to appraise the house, I asked about landscaping adding value.  The person told me it makes no difference when it comes to the value of the property. 

I have not found fruit trees to be low maintenance.  Whenever you are putting plants, vegetables, etc., into the ground, there's a lot of work to maintain it.  There's a lot of weeding to be done.  I've only found rock to be somewhat low maintenance, but still a lot of work in weeding and clearing leaves. 

With that being said, your idea sounds great, and should you decide to go forward, do it because of the love of gardening and the beauty it will provide, but don't expect your property value to increase because your yard looks nice.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Professional landscaping
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 02:23:47 PM »
I understand spending on the landscaping because you will use and enjoy it over the years. and I understand spending on landscaping just before a sale in markets like ours, where you will recoup the costs and then some.

but I highly doubt that your project 10 years later will still look that nice and really impact the selling price. Maybe I'm not being imaginative enough about how far $8k will go and how well you can keep it up in the years that follow.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Professional landscaping
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2014, 04:39:06 PM »
WRT time consuming landscaping, I suggest looking at native plants, which should require very little maintenance.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Professional landscaping
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 08:01:19 AM »
Landscaping does not add much if any value to your property (look at an appraisal and see whether landscaping is even mentioned), but it definitely affects how quickly it will sell for market value.  It is a curb appeal item.  It will get buyers in the door, but ultimately the things that affect value most are square footage and number of bedrooms, etc.   Is it possible in your area to get a professional landscaper to draw up a comprehensive plan for you?  That is what we did, then we followed the plan but did it in small manageable portions and took advantage of sales when we found them.  It looked far better than what I would have done on my own, but cost a fraction of hiring someone to do the work.  Our nursery had a deal where their landscaping expert did the plan for free if you bought some plants from them.  If this is not available, then another option is to find a college student who is majoring in landscape design and offer to pay them to draw up a plan for you.  They work cheap and may put in a lot of effort since they could then use you as a reference after they graduate.