Love at first sight in the real estate world starts with landscaping and it’s often seen as the best way to add value to your home with the least financial output. It’s also less risky than renovation the house itself, doesn’t require any compliance and showcases the whole property as opposed to just the house. It’s also easy to adapt, which is a major benefit for potential buyers.
Fencing or gates can be a relatively low-cost way to instantly add a sense of structure to an outdoor area.
“By adding a fence or gate to an area, you’re defining and bordering it, adding immediate appeal to a property before you’ve even walked inside,” Auckland-based Zones Landscaping Specialist Boyd Gillespie says.
“Putting in a basic timber paling fence and adding planting around it is a simple and quick way to immediately make a property look tidy and well kept. It will often appeal to those with children or pets too who need a fully fence area, and can also be a way to gain more privacy, security or to use as a noise barrier.”
Landscape Designer Nichola Vague agrees. “People always like definition. If you can create a sense of arrival around the entrance to the property with fencing, it’s always worth doing.”
“In the industry you often hear people saying for every $1.00 you spend on the outside of a property you get $2.00 back and I think that is pretty accurate,” Gillespie says.
Adding an outdoor area is akin to adding an extra room to the house; if it is partially enclosed, the transition between interior and exterior becomes seamless, the deck becoming an integral part of the home’s living spaces.
“Everyone wants a place to eat and socialise in outside and as a result, there are huge returns on investment for this sort of home feature.”
While a low maintenance garden is highly desirable, people are also looking for low maintenance decking, BiForm managing director Tau Aupaau says.
"People have very busy lives now, more so than ever before, and they don't want to be staining and painting their deck in the weekend. A lot of people are coming to us and putting in composite decking just before they sell to give their outside areas a fresh, modern look. The decking has attractive long runs and no nails and is a cost-effective low maintenance option if you're looking to add value to your home."
Swimming pools are a big investment and one that won’t always pay off, Boyd says. “Some people see pools as a hindrance because of the maintenance involved to keep them running. Pools generally provide a better return on an investment at the higher end of the market; at the lower end, adding a pool doesn’t always add value to a property.”
Having a well thought out and implemented landscape design can add huge value to a property.
“The most sought after gardens at the moment are low maintenance ones. If people see a tidy garden with appropriate planting and mulched areas, it is an instant benefit and can set the home apart from similar properties on the market.”
Outdoor kitchens, like interior kitchens, are one of the most expensive types of home features but in the right context can add immense value to a property. Like pools, the best return on investment for outdoor kitchens and fires is at the high end of the market.
At the mid-to-low-end of the market, it is unlikely to provide a good return so it is worth doing a bit of research before undertaking this sort of landscape design.
“A good thing to think about if you’re landscaping with the intention of selling is to create a space that is flexible and adaptable for the new owners. For example, they might already have a barbeque, so it may not be worth building one in. Instead, you could have a benchtop area, sink and space for a fridge,” Boyd says.
Outdoor fireplaces and pizza ovens are also popular and there are a huge variety of options to consider if you’re thinking of adding one. If you’re looking at creating appeal primarily while the property is on the market, portable fires that can be installed as a temporary measure are a good option.
If you’re in the market for a landscaping specialist, find out more about Zones Landscaping Specialists.
This article by Clare Chapman featured in Issue 019 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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