Question: I’m curious what the effect of a native plant landscape would be versus a conventional turf grass and shrub landscape. Imagine that the native-centric landscape uses low-growing perennials such as sedge and yarrow as well as pavers in place of turf grass and that both yards have similar amounts of functional outdoor space. — BAM
Answer: From Los Angeles Realtor David Kean:
In my experience, it does not matter either way. A well-landscaped yard is just that. Some buyers may prefer native grasses and some may prefer rose bushes and a lawn. I’ve never had a buyer say: "I don’t want this house because I hate the plant choices."
But I like the question because many homeowners fail to recognize the value of landscaping, which has a major impact on creating curb appeal and a good first impression. In terms of native grasses versus turf, buyers do like the idea of low-maintenance landscaping. The trick is to make it beautiful and interesting, as well as functional and eco-friendly.
Popular features can include a fountain or pond, an arch or arbor, garden furniture such as a bench to relax on or a dining area. You may want to consult a landscape designer or architect. Or look through design magazines and find an overall look that appeals to you and try to replicate it.
But for greatest value, keep in mind that the hardscape should reflect the architecture of your house. You need to create a cohesive look. For instance, Mexican tile pavers would clash with an English-style cottage. In that case, you would go for brick pavers, slate, stone or gravel to tie in better.
Also, varying the heights of plants creates a layered look that is visually captivating. It can also help enhance privacy, which buyers will value. You will want to make sure that your irrigation system is right for the plantings, and that there is adequate drainage to minimize any water intrusion into your home.
Finally, I do think that the cost of most custom landscaping, as long as you do not overspend, will be reflected in the value of your home.
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Photo courtesy of Flower to the People