The success of any landscaping project depends on having a plan and sticking to it.
Landscaping is one of the surest ways to pump up the value of your property. According to research by Virginia Cooperative Extension, going from a plain lawn and a concrete driveway to a well-landscaped lot raises a home’s perceived value by 12.7%. The opposite is also true: A “minimal” landscaping job — a thoughtless smattering of scraggly plants — actually detracts from home value.
How much should you invest in upgrading your landscape? Professionals recommend budgeting 10% of your home’s value. But the important thing to remember is that success doesn’t depend on how much you spend. “Landscaping doesn’t have to be expensive, just well planned,” says Carl Heldmann, author of “Be Your Own House Contractor.” Here’s how to get started on a landscape plan of your own.
First, Consult a Pro
To figure out how to allocate your landscape dollars, start by picking the brain of a pro. Even if you have a naturally green thumb, a trained professional can save you from wasting money on wrongheaded ideas and open your eyes to possibilities you haven’t considered. There are various types of landscape pros:
Certified landscape architect. A good choice if your yard has major issues or you have grand ambitions. He can design a comprehensive plan that includes such things as irrigation, lighting, architectural features, soil conditioning, and, of course, the growing stuff. A verbal consultation costs about $100-$150; a detailed plan can run from $300 to $2,500. The American Society of Landscape Architects offers a state-by-state “firm finder” on its website.