Many people start thinking about updating their backyard as warmer weather moves in. Ideas are endless and there are beautiful pictures in numerous magazines that entice people to look at renovating their backyard.
How much should I spend on my backyard? That question can be answered in two ways. Real estate agents and landscapers state homeowners should spend 10 percent of their home’s value on landscaping, including the front and back. Landscapers also said that landscaping can cost between $3,000 to $250,000 depending on the space and the features.
The article below tells you more about where to spend and what to cut to get the most for your money spent on backyard landscaping.
Landscaping Adds Value
A sad-looking yard that is landscaped to pass for “good” condition can raise your property’s value between 5 and 10 percent. Some landscape elements add more monetary value than others but overall curb appeal will improve the marketability of your home if you ever sell.
You will need to consider every element you want to add in terms of the cost of installation and maintenance versus the value it adds to your home. Part of your consideration is how long you plan to stay in the home.
For instance, adding an expensive item like a complete outdoor kitchen or an in-ground pool may not be a good return-on-investment if you only plan to stay in the home for two or three years. However, it may be worth it if you plan to stay 20 years.
Part of your evaluation is to decide what features you and your family will enjoy the most considering the cost and the ROI.
Take Stock of Your Yard
One of the first things anyone should do before embarking on a backyard renovation is looking around the yard. Amazingly, often people forget what they have in their yards.
Sometimes, they find nice surprises like a beautiful rose bush that can be displayed better. Other times, they find unwelcomed items like plants that are now on the invasive species list like ivy, kudzu, or Bradford pear springs.
It’s always good to start working with what you already have in your yard. Clean it up and start working on a plan to feature the best elements more distinctly. That can carry over to your landscape design.
To Hire or Not to Hire
Most home experts advise hiring a landscape designer to help plan your space. The theory is that a designer can save you money by helping you select plants that will thrive, develop ways to effectively deal with issues like drainage, and know the right people to do the work.
The downside of hiring a landscape designer is most start their fees at $170 an hour.
The decision of whether or not to hire a designer is yours. It depends on how much you know about landscaping and plants, how handy you are, your timetable for the project, and your budget. You may be okay planning and doing the work yourself if you have the knowledge, skills, time, and research ability.
You should talk to a landscape designer, or several, about your project to get an idea of cost and their thoughts. The first consults are usually free. You should also be upfront about your budget so they know if they are a good fit for your plans.
A list of priorities needs to be created before you move forward with a project. The list should contain one large feature that will serve you and your family the best. Be sure to include “foundational” upgrades such as installing an irrigation system, improving draining, and fixing issues like low spots where water pools.
Figure up those costs and then add things the budget allows. It could be other major features, some fun items like a hammock, or it could be more plants and grass fertilizing treatments.
The next item to consider is when to do the work. You may want to do all the work at once but many people find it easier on their stress levels and budgets to set phases to complete the jobs. That is a way to control costs because you can take a break between phases if there is an unexpected cost like a broken water line.
The Down and Dirty
Issues facing Americans, such as supply-chain issues, can’t be ignored. Many contractors and landscapers order products from places like Singapore and India. That means you are not just paying for the product but are also paying for shipping. You may also be stuck with your materials in a shipping container waiting for weeks to port in one of the U.S. harbors.
You can’t assume anything. Ask where your designer or contractor gets materials. Seek out American products to avoid costs and delays in shipping. There may be local businesses, like timber companies or farms, in your area where you can get products more easily and cheaply.
Be aware that the more customization you do, like stonework or concrete stamping, the more the cost will rise. It could also lower your ROI because buyers don’t like a lot of personalization.
Creating a plan and sticking to it will keep your cost on track. The most expensive costs come when you change your mind or add something to the plan. Following a blueprint means no surprises. Even so, you should hold back about 20 percent of your budget upfront in case there is a major surprise that must be addressed.
Where do I start to redesign my backyard?
Start small if you don’t know where to start. Invest in cheaper foundational things first, like improving your grass or adding mulch to flower beds. One of the easiest things to add is a patio. It is relatively cheap. You can do it yourself and it adds instant value to your home.
What can I do with my backyard on a budget?
You can spruce up your yard with a clean-up. That just involves some sweat equity. Fix anything that needs maintenance like broken concrete or a non-working irrigation system.
Get some colorful containers for some plants for your porch or patio. Create a vertical garden. Buy some pillows for your outdoor furniture.
You can also go by the thrift store to look for outdoor furniture. You can also re-repurpose things like old tires into flower containers and covered ottomans with just some paint and outdoor fabric.
What are some ideas on how to renovate a large backyard?
Most designers attack a large landscaping project by dividing the yard into zones with a purpose for each zone. It makes it easier to design each smaller space than the entire yard. You connect the zones with paths and greenspace.
How do you cover dirt when you are going to entertain?
You can use mulch, stone, ground cover, and crushed concrete. You can also cover it with a dance floor if you plan on dancing. Your decision should be based on whether you want a permanent or temporary solution.
What is the cheapest ground covering?
The cheapest ground covering is Creeping Periwinkle. It cost approximately $1.07 a plant and you don’t need that many for it to quickly spread.