Q: We moved into a new construction home last year. We received the basic landscaping package by the builder. It isn’t that great and we have been talking to a few landscape designers. Our house costs $350,000 and they are all telling us that our landscape budget should be $30,000 to $40,000. This seems high.
What are you seeing in the market? We want to increase the beauty and hopefully future value of our home.
A: I’ve heard 10 percent of the purchase price should be allotted to landscaping a newly-constructed house as well. However, if 10 percent goes to the kitchen, and 5 percent goes toward the master bath, and another 10 percent goes toward the basement — well, pretty soon you can see you’ll need about 200 percent of your budget to build the home.
What you should do is find a landscape contractor who is willing to develop a plan that you can implement in stages. For example, in year 1, you might plant trees or you might dig out and plant a flower bed. In year 2, you might add a fence. In year 3, you might plant the beds that run alongside the fence.
If you’re into gardening, it might make sense to pay someone to develop a plan for you, and then you can tackle various parts of the garden over the years as you have the funds and time available.
Forking over $30,000 to $40,000 to plant a garden might make your home’s exterior really pop. However, it’s unlikely you’ll recoup your investment within a year or two. If you had to sell suddenly, you’d probably lose money.
I’d rather see you take your time, live in the house, and decide slowly what kind of landscaping will make you happy.