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Seed Capital: Assessing the Real Value of Landscape Design

Seed Capital: Assessing the Real Value of Landscape Design

How much can great landscaping add in terms of actual value? Between 7.5% and 13% if executed correctly, says garden design guru Barry Burrows…

These days we demand a lot from our home; it needs to be functional and comfortable, reflecting our personality and not just the inside. Successful, thoughtful landscaping extends clever yet practical interior design to link it to the outside space. When it works it fuses a property’s inner space with the outer space seamlessly. The point is to create both a private sanctuary and a pleasing public display resulting in a garden to be enjoyed and used 365 days a ear.

Achieving this comes at a price and should be considered early on in any development or a private residence, particularly as more often than not first impressions count for everything. It’s all about impact on arrival, not to mention the lifestyle being portrayed. Whilst potential buyers may admire the beautifully manicured landscape, they may also be mentally considering the maintenance implications including the cost of having to bring in the required expertise to keep up appearances.

There is no question that any property is more attractive with outdoor space than without and within urban locations, this tends to be rarer and adds a premium to every square metre. That said, sometimes inheriting a neglected garden can prove to be advantageous, bringing an element of maturity, in particular large feature trees or established shrubs.

The most successful designs are those where there has been no over-doing of a specific style. My advice would always be to try and opt for a relatively blank canvas including the essential touchstones such an adequate patio area, entertaining space, healthy verdant lawns with dense lush planting. This then allows any potential buyer the opportunity of ‘re-stamping’ so to speak, literally by the placement of their own style of furniture,
until such time as they wish to develop the areas further. Always try to bear in mind that exterior spaces have become similar to interior design and without both design parties being in close consultation, the opportunity for synergy will be missed.

The leading question when it comes to landscaping is what is this all going to cost? How much will I have to spend? Aside from being determined by the size of the area, is more often than not dependent on many other aspects – material choices, complexity and layout of the site, lighting, technology and water features. In a relatively quiet property market an increase in socialising at home results in sales on luxury items such as hot tubs ranging from £8000 to £15,000, built-in kitchens, barbecues and pizza ovens coming in at a palatable £10,000 to £15,000.

Take heed though, this doesn’t equate to a few pretty flowers within a border

Ultimately, great landscaping can add between 7.5% up to around 13% in terms of value added; therefore based on a spend of £500,000 at 10% this reflects a £50,000 like minus your installation costs. Take heed though, this doesn’t equate to a few pretty flowers within a border, as buyers these days are looking for a far more sophisticated design. The execution must be beautifully played out.

When it comes to ‘added value’, it’s logical to assume that a smart well designed garden will add more than a bland featureless space. A stylish space will suggest investment in labour, time and expenditure. It pays however, to be mindful and avoid making any space over-fussy. Too intricate and over-worked a design can prove not only expensive in the making but expensive to maintain and costly to change. Investing in expert guidance from a landscape designer to agree a grand master plan should avoid too many differing ideas and styles creating confusion that will put off potential buyers, and achieve a design built on cohesion and harmony.

Space carries a premium, so whatever the size, the range of uses a garden can have and the extent of the features made available cannot only increase the value of a property, but can also create extended vistas, increase the feeling of space and generate a wonderful atmosphere. The real fulfilment for us is generally to produce something that exceeds all expectations however large or small an area.

When assessing the financial outlay for a professionally designed and landscaped garden with the wow factor, my advice is to revert to personal value. By this I mean evaluate the amount of pleasure it adds to your own and your family life. Unless you have immediate plans to sell up and move on, this should be the primary reason when considering landscaping your garden. Should you decide to stay put and budget be a leading factor, bear in mind that as long as you have a master plan, the works can always be phased over a period of time. Ultimately you will end up with not just a beautiful functional garden, but also a growing long term investment.

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