Posted by Ben Johnson on August 28, 2014
I am not a tree hugger, but boy do I love trees. Believe it or not, trees can make a big difference in home sales. Everyone has seen those unforgettable homes, those homes in old neighborhoods near a university campus or quaint town. They always have trees in front. Big trees.
Look closely and you will notice the homes in those settings are typically very simple, with purposeful details. It’s the landscaping that oftentimes makes the difference and creates that standout factor. Large mature trees providing shade and shadows against the home, well-grown hedges around the foundation, and green grass all play huge roles in our perception of a home.
When it comes to new construction and spec building alike, the landscaping budget is often marginalized. The landscaping comes at the very end of the project and if you are running tight with your budget, skimping is likely to occur. From the onset of the initial and final budgeting process, set aside a landscaping budget that will allow you to make the home feel like it belongs where it was built.
Sparse landscaping will make a home feel like it was forced upon the site. A clear-cut lot with just a few street trees and foundation screening is a turnoff for any home buyer. A well-landscaped home will stand out and attract more buyers, especially if your competition is across the street with minimal. Remember those old simple homes that look so good? It’s all in the trees.
When developing the landscape plan, remember, green is good. Dense green. Avoid plants like butterfly bushes that grow in a haphazard and scraggly manner that have a see-through quality. Also, don’t be afraid to leave some large boulders or rocks on site if they are present and not in the way.
We still need the home to be affordable, so shipping in a 20-year-old oak and planting ten Japanese maples is not what I am suggesting. Also, when clearing for the new home to be built, save as many trees as you can. Within reason.
Don’t leave hovering pine trees right next to the house, and scrappy underbrush should be removed. Do keep the nice dogwoods, specimen, and hardwood trees. This will not only reduce how much you will need to spend on landscaping, but help the home seem less placed on the property and more “grown in.” Some projects will have tight site restrictions that prevent saving many trees due to small setbacks and lot sizes. On these sites, be mindful in your plantings and focus on the areas that you do have space and really make them green.
Now that you have created a well-balanced plan that incorporates new trees with existing, it’s time to make it happen. At the start of the project and especially during site clearing, make sure tree protection barricade is up and well maintained throughout the project. That orange fencing is ugly, but it works and will keep those trees alive during and well after the construction. The key is to utilize what you already have on site to enhance the appearance of the home. Love those trees.