Every homeowner wants to have a home and yard that is appealing to the eye, functional for the family and valuable financially. One way to achieve all three with your outdoor living space is with professional landscaping.
Landscapers typically categorize the design and installation they do into two types, softcaping and hardscaping. While both types add to the overall value of your home, we’ll concentrate on hardscaping in this post.
Return on investment
One of the biggest concerns about hardscaping is how much it will cost and if the investment is worth it.
When clients decide to make changes or additions to expand their outdoor living spaces, there’s going to be a cost, and adding hardscapes is no exception. The important thing to keep in mind is that installing hardscapes will have a positive effect on the value of the home in the future. The investment customers make in hardscaping today will pay off in the long run by increasing the resale value of the home.
When they’ve decided they want to enhance their outdoor living space with hardscapes, like a fireplace, outdoor kitchen or patio, they then have to make several choices about the design and the construction of the projects. Where will the hardscape feature be installed? What’s the quality of the ground there? What type of material will be used? What will the design of the structure entail?
The answers to these questions will impact the overall cost of the hardscaping. They will also affect the value customers get from their investment.
Location – Where the hardscape feature is going to be installed and the quality of the soil can affect the cost of the job. For example, having a patio installed in an area that is sloped will require more work to prepare the ground than an area that is already essentially flat. More labor equals a higher cost. Additionally, the quality of the soil has to be considered to determine if more or different dirt needs to be brought in to prepare the area. It’s important to remember that the location and how it’s prepped before installation will have an impact on future repairs and maintenance. Any added expense to improve the site of the structure will reduce the money and time that has to be spent on maintenance over time.
Materials – There are many different types of materials that can be used for hardscapes. Wood, concrete and stone are just a few customers might be considering. The cost of these various materials can range widely, having a significant effect on the cost of the project. Keep in mind that some materials that are more expensive (like natural stone) on the front end can be more attractive aesthetically and require far less maintenance and repair in the future.
Design – How complex or intricate the design of your project is can affect the cost to install it. If the design involves complicated or curvy patterns, it may cost more because the installation will be more work. While your customer’s budget for hardscaping must be a consideration, it’s also important to remind them that the investment they’re making now will increase the home’s overall value. For many homebuyers, hardscapes and how they are designed and constructed are a major factor when they decide which home to buy. So, whether they plan to sell the home or live in it forever, it’s worth the investment to add quality and long-lasting hardscapes.
Hardscapes that boost a home’s value
There are many ways that hardscapes can be incorporated into your landscaping and adding any of them will enhance your outdoor living space. However, there are some types of hardscapes that will boost the value of your home more than others. According to the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, by the National Association of Realtors, the following hardscapes are the most likely to add to home value and are the features that buyers are looking for:
- Patio – Probably the most popular type of hardscape, the patio is very much the desired element. A patio adds to the living space of a home, increasing the resale value. It’s a great place for friends and family to gather and spend time together, especially when it includes seating, flower beds or other planters, a water or fire feature or some other design elements.
- Fire feature – A fire feature can be as simple as a stone fire pit or as opulent as an intricately designed fireplace. These are highly desirable amenities for many homebuyers. Well- constructed fire features can last for years and will provide enjoyment in cooler months of the year.
- Outdoor kitchen – One of the most appealing and valuable hardscapes that modern homebuyers look for is the outdoor kitchen. Because these kitchens often include built-in grills, seating and dining areas, you are truly able to expand your living area to the outdoors. An outdoor kitchen makes it easy to host gatherings because the guests aren’t separated from hosts as meals are being prepared.
- Water feature – Hardscape water features can include fountains or ponds that will add tranquility to any outdoor area. These features, like the others listed, can be designed and constructed as simple or as intricate as your customer would like. Even the simplest of fountains will provide the calming sounds of trickling water. Intricate water features may have columns, lights, fish or complicated tile patterns or stonework.
Final thoughts about investing in hardscaping
To wrap it up, talk to your customers about how investing in their home’s landscaping using hardscapes is worth doing. Adding these types of features will provide them with additional living space and functionality that they and their family can enjoy for years to come. If they decide to sell the home in the future, they’ll know that they have added to the curb appeal and overall value. Hardscaping is a win-win investment that customers can enjoy now and still benefit from later.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Steve Ambrose. Ambrose is the founder of Ambrose Landscapes, a rain-capture expert and lead landscaping contractor who has been getting his hands dirty since 1993. Steve also spends his time in classes and helping area non-profits with his skills. Why is it important to him? To show his family he’s making the world a better place.