Last week, I alerted my readers to a Wall Street Journal article about the downside of outdoor living and the serious problems that sometimes accompany big outdoor projects. So this week, let's look at the upside: and the upside is called money.
According to the June issue of Money Magazine, a recent survey by Michigan State University found that high-quality landscaping adds five to 11 percent to a home's value, depending on where the house is located. In the Washington DC metropolitan area, where the median home price is now over $400,000, a respectable garden project could add $22,000 to $50,000 to a home's price. The magazine reports that landscaping also appreciates over time, so if you're not planning to move in the next several years, improving the outdoors could boost your property value even more when it comes time to sell.
Money also has some guidelines on what typical landscape projects might cost:
a flagstone patio runs about $30 per square foot, about three times higher than a patio constructed with cement pavers. A stainless steel gas grill runs about $500, an outdoor kitchen with granite counter tops and luxury grill and appliances could run $100,000.
If you're selling your house in a year or less, Money recommends edging the garden beds, spiffing up the lawn with fertilizer, and spending a few hundred dollars on flowering annuals to add color throughout the growing season. If you're improving for the long term, hire a landscape designer or a landscape architect and get to work. It could be the best investment you've made in years.