Landscaping can be a great way to make your property instantly more attractive, both for its place in the neighborhood and for future tenants. With a beautiful lawn of grass, colorful flower beds, and some trees to provide shade and privacy, more people are going to be interested in your property and you could possibly justify a higher rent price.
However, before you get too crazy with your landscaping plans, there are some important things you’ll need to keep in mind.
What You Should Know Before Landscaping a Rental Property
These truths should help guide your rental property landscaping strategy.
1. This is a rental.
First, remember that this is a rental property. If you’re landscaping a home for yourself and your family, you’ll want everything customized to perfection. You’ll be willing to spend more money, you’ll splurge for extra luxuries, and you’ll fine-tune all your choices to be as beautiful as possible, according to your personal standards. But there are a few problems with applying this framework to a rental property.
If you take this approach, you’ll probably end up spending too much money. Quality landscaping does afford you a return on your investment, but there’s a limit to this; even if you invest $50,000 into the best-quality, most impressive landscaping you can afford, you’re still only going to be able to increase rent by a slight amount after making these changes.
Additionally, your preferences in landscaping don’t necessarily align with the preferences of your tenants. Your job is to appeal to people who will be interested in renting the property; not to create a landscape for your personal enjoyment.
2. Certain laws and ordinances may apply.
Depending on where you live, your property may be subject to certain laws and ordinances regarding landscaping. Before you even start contacting landscaping contractors, it’s important to review those laws and ordinances. Talk to your lawyer to see if there are any city approvals you need to get for certain projects, and consult with your homeowners’ association (HOA) if applicable. You may be surprised to learn some of the things you’re not allowed to do.
3. Your choice of contractors matters.
This may not be news to you, but your choice of contractors matters. You shouldn’t go with the first landscaper you find, in part because you could end up spending too much money and in part because you simply don’t know what else is out there. You should also be wary of choosing a contractor just because they offer cheap services. It’s true that you can have landscaping done for a relative pittance, but the end result might not look very pretty.
4. Low maintenance is ideal.
When making decisions about your landscaping, always prioritize items that are low maintenance. If you’re the one taking care of the maintenance, you want to make life easy on yourself. If your tenant is the one taking care of the maintenance, you need to incentivize them to keep renting this property. Either way, low maintenance plants and additions are going to be much more valuable than additions that require significant upkeep.
5. Rely on native species.
When choosing plants for your yard and gardens, prioritize native species over their non-native counterparts. Native plant species have many advantages. Most notably, they are some of the easiest plants to grow and maintain, since they evolved to this specific climate. Natural conditions, with little to no human intervention, should be plenty for them to thrive.
Native species also tend to be more abundant and less expensive than their exotic counterparts. And as an added bonus, native species are good for supporting local pollinators and can therefore be considered good for the environment.
6. Perennials are better than annuals.
If you’re torn between different plant species to include in your flower beds, consider choosing perennials over annuals. Perennials are plants that come back year after year, while annuals only last a season. This makes perennials not only easier, but less expensive to manage over time.
7. Curb appeal counts.
One of your biggest goals when landscaping a rental property should be maximizing curb appeal. In other words, you want to make your property look as attractive as possible to someone looking at it from the curb. It’s a great way to generate interest in your property and secure new prospective tenants. It’s also fantastic for maximizing tenant retention, since most people want to live somewhere they can feel proud of.
8. Simple and neutral plans perform better.
Don’t go overboard when it comes to planning your landscaping project, and this is especially important if you’re going to manage multiple rental properties, since each property in your portfolio is going to increase your total expenditure. For the most part, simple and neutral plans work better. They’re less expensive, they’re easier to manage, and they appeal to broader audiences.
9. Pet accommodations can boost appeal.
Are you open to having tenants with pets? There are pros and cons to this decision. But if you choose to accept pets, consider incorporating some pet-friendly additions into your landscaping to increase appeal to tenants who have them.
10. Natural light and shade are important considerations.
Finally, make sure to fully consider natural light and shade. Some plants thrive in full sunlight conditions, while others need a bit of shade to stay healthy. Plus, most people like yards that have at least some shady spots to enjoy.
Creating a Maintenance Plan
When planning for your landscaping project, keep a maintenance plan in the back of your mind. Who will be responsible for maintaining this yard? What will they have to do to keep it healthy and beautiful?
One of the best ways to make landscaping and maintenance easier on you is by working with a property management company. Your property manager can help you decide on the best landscaping features to include coordinate connections to landscapers, and even handle all maintenance on your behalf. If you want all these advantages and more, contact Green Residential for a free consultation today!