Home Selling in 02143>Question Details

Dm, Home Buyer in Somerville, MA

Landscaping investment - is it worth it?

Asked by Dm, Somerville, MA Sat Aug 15, 2009

We've hired landscape architects to redesign our 3000 sq ft back yard at our new home in Somerville and the project will cost about $85K.

We purchased this property, a new construction of 3000 sq ft, last year for $669K and invested another $50K to put in hardwood floors throughout, and make some additional improvements.

My question for you is: do landscaping investments of this magnitude pay off at all, or should we consider this an indulgence we won't get back?

Help the community by answering this question:



In this market you probably will not get it back if you sell at this point. If you plan on staying there awhile you may. The key here is will the improvements over improve your home for the area. If the price of the house plus the improvements equal what other homes in the area are selling for then you are ok. If the improvements put your house higher than other homes in the area, then you will have over improved your home and may not recoupe when you go to sell.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
Some improvements you cannot evaluate for exact return, however, a beautifully landscaped property will get more interest, better buyers and better offers then a run down weedy dust bowl. Go ahead and put some money into the finishing touches.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 26, 2015
Hello Dm- Good comments below. I won't repeat any. But, a few things-
Architects, including landscape architects, always have a tendency to design things that are more expensive than they should or could be. Get a design/ build full service landscape company to analyze it all and you'll see what it really could be done for. You'll save money....
Great landscaping, even pools, patios, fire pits, outdoor kitchens etc are exactly what you say- a luxury. The appraisers know that and they do NOT give you even close to the value of what it cost you.
If I can be of any help, please let me know. Thanks, and good luck,

Ken L.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 18, 2009

The house is new construction so there really isn't anything to be done inside. Your point is well taken, though - by investing this much in the landscaping we would overimprove the property for the area.

I'm very curious what can be done for less money given our needs, so I'll definitely talk to Richard as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 17, 2009
It sounds like a lot of money, you would be surprised what a fraction of that will get you through the right person. I am in JP, I consult for free and have an extensive record of work. If you are about to commit to that level, let me reign you in with a realistic aproach.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 17, 2009
Review your priorities before commiting to this! ROI on landscaping is not relevant if you havent taken care of the kitchens, bathrooms and so on............... do you have parking spaces, this project will it give more livable space like a firepit and pergola or are we just talking plantings?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 17, 2009
Any a professional real estate consultant in your area can provide you that info. review entire area. Luxury homes usually have nice grounds.

I know I am converting my current resides to little no lawn mowing which reduces my cost just weed hacking nice landscaping I should save approx. $1K per year or more

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009
The price doesn't sound excessive when you add in all the elements you listed. But as others have said, you may not recoup your investment. My suggestion would be to use the design to reach the end result in stages. Then you can do part of it yourself. For example, I had a patio put in one spring and I did the planting around it myself. Another year I had a rock garden set up, and again, I did the planting. You may also change your mind about some of the design, as you use your yard. Or you may decide you aren't going to stay there.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009
Thank you all very much for your input. There are lots of line items in there and estimated individually the prices seem to make sense, but I agree it would be foolish to go with the architects' contractor without getting more bids.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009

Our recommendation is to consider getting multiple estimates on similar work. $85,000 is a number that is excessive for this type of work.

Generally speaking, if you over pay for anything it will be an uphill battle to recover the cost of your investment.

Keep looking......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009
I think the problem here sounds like the contractor. One of the MOST overlooked aspects of a home is the landscaping. I don't mean some red mulch and a shrub either. However, that is way too much money. I've been working on my Japanese garden for 5 years now - I bought a property that was covered in asphalt! I had to recycle all of that and recondition all of the soil before I even started thinking about the plan.

You should try calling Rich Gargiulo of Treeworks. 617-821-4701. He's the best. He'll handle your trees, contour your space and work with you to create the perfect space. He's a reall artist and he saved me a boatload of money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 16, 2009
Forgot to add it also includes a fence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
It is a hefty amount, and I am trying to justify this before we jump into it. It doesn't include a pool, but does include land leveling (it's on a slope), the removal of a large tree currently throwing the whole thing into shadow, a vegetable garden, an extension to the existing patio, a shed, custom children's playhouse, pavers, sprinklers, trees, shrubs, perennials, everything designed with a clear artistic vision.

It will most likely make our house the most expensive one on the block. There are others that are of historical significance and if renovated could cost well above ours, but in the current state, ours probably would be the most expensive.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
$85,000 is a pretty hefty amount. Does this include a pool and patio or is it just for plants and shrubs? If it does not include a pool and patio, I would scale it way down. You can make it look nice without over improving. Landscaping can improve the value of a home by increasing curb appeal, however, you don't want to be the most expensive house on the block.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
I am so glad I asked this question here, because curb appeal was not on our minds at all when we started this project. In fact, we were going for a modest look from the outside, but I realize now that this might be a mistake that will cost us down the line.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
When people purchase a home, there search criteria is typically: location, price, #of bedrooms, baths, garage, basement, lot size, waterfront, pool. I have never had someone ask me to include landscaping in a search ....however, this does add a tremendous amount of curb appeal, curb appeal does help a house sell in a big way, but not neccessarily for more money....

If the project includes spinklers, pavers, outdoor lighting, specimen trees and shrubs it is a big selling point, it just isn't asked for....it's a given.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
Thanks for your quick reply, Patrick!

We probably won't move from here for the next seven to nine years, depending on the kids' school situation (if schools here improve we would stay longer).

But you hit the nail on the head: homes in this area have been selling for a good bit less, although we haven't seen new construction of similar size, especially with as much land around it, so it's hard to compare.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
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