Today’s consumer has an incredibly wide variety of investments choices…stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, REIT’s… the list goes on and on, Many of these an be great investments, but while it is true that owning shares in a solidly performing mutual fund can provide a quiet sense of satisfaction, it isn’t nearly as much fun as actually sitting in and soaking up the atmosphere in another great investment…a newly renovated landscape.
Overhauling an unattractive landscape or simply adding or updating features to an existing landscape offers several important advantages for both your investment portfolio and your quality of life. On the portfolio side, your home is one of the largest investments you’re likely to make during your lifetime and maintaining its value should be a keystone in any financial plan. According to one recent study, a well-designed and well-maintained landscape can increase the value of your property by up to 15%, and Money Magazine and the Wall Street Journal report that a good landscape has an investment recovery rate of between 100-200% at sale time. This compares to 75-125% for kitchen remodeling, 20-120% for bathroom remodeling, and 20-50% for the addition of a swimming pool. Also, according to realtors, a home with an attractive landscape brings more prospective buyers through the front door and may decrease a home’s time on the market by five to six weeks. And finally, it’s important to remember that landscapes continue to increase in value as trees and other plants mature.
On the quality-of -life side of the investment ledger it’s difficult to beat the ability, after a stressful day, to relax with your family for dinner on a secluded stone patio, hemmed on one side by loose evergreens and on another by roses in full bloom, swaths of lawn flowing between trees and the cool, shaded beds of foliage that surround them, or the pride that comes with greeting friends at the front door as they stroll through an elegant setting and into a spacious outdoor entry foyer lit softly by hidden fixtures, and complete with a teakwood bench nestled beneath the arching branches of a flowering crabapple surrounded by pools of annual color.
A landscape like this that is well-designed and tailored to a family’s desires and lifestyle goes far beyond the all-too-typical role of decorating the foundation of a house. It creates spaces in which families can actually LIVE… patios and decks for relaxing and for dining or entertaining, living screens for privacy, lawn areas for recreation, pools for reflection or bathing, gardens for bird or butterfly-watching or for culinary herbs, contouring and color for year-round drama and interest, and much more. Good landscaping actually increases a home’s usable square footage through the creation of “outdoor rooms”, and if it’s done well they become a natural, flowing extension of the living spaces inside. All of these aspects contribute to an improved quality of life for individuals, couples or entire families, and make landscaping a great investment for more than just financial reasons.
By far, though, the single greatest benefit to adding a landscape renovation to your investment portfolio is immediate payoff. Again, it’s comforting to own shares in something that may pay off down the road, but a landscape renovation is a wise investment that you can actually enjoy TODAY and for years to come, and that is still likely to yield financial rewards at sale time.
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