It is an indisputable fact that a well-planned garden can increase your property value and make an otherwise bland property stand out. A flower garden can attract tenants and even allow you to collect higher rent.
But, there are some factors to consider before you or your tenant decides to plant a flower or vegetable garden. Keep reading, as I outline some of the things to consider.
What Are The Local Laws?
Before you head to the front lawn, ready to start turning over the soil, you need to check with local ordinances. Some cities and communities have specific rules on where a garden can be planted, along with its size.
If the rental property is in a neighborhood with an HOA (a homeowners association), you will want to read the by-laws carefully. Along with the garden size and placement, there could be restrictions on what can be planted.
Violating HOA rules and regulations could result in fines. If these fines are not paid, the HOA can put a lien on the property.
This can end up costing you more money than the property may be worth after you’ve paid a lawyer, court fees, the HOA, and property valuers (such as property valuers in Melbourne if you happen to live in Australia.)
How Much Should You Spend On A Garden?
The answer to this question is fairly simple. There is a standard rule recommended by rental property experts. Rental property owners should expect to spend 50 percent of their monthly property income. This is equal to one percent of the property’s value, annually, on average. This does not only apply to the maintenance of the yard and garden, but also to repairs, taxes, and insurance.
This cost should be taken into consideration when you plan the garden. Consider how much you are willing to spend on labor if you are not planting the garden yourself.
Hiring a landscape designer can give you a beautiful garden, but this does come at a price. Landscapers can charge hourly or by the project.
The average cost of a landscaper for a small project can be between $500-$700, for a garden measuring less than 1,000 square feet. You also have to consider the cost of the plants, not included in the landscaper’s fee.
You might find that it is more cost-effective to plan and plant the garden yourself. You can easily hire day laborers at an hourly wage if you are not able to dig the garden yourself.
Deciding what to plant isn’t as difficult as you might think. Local garden centers can be an invaluable source of information and inspiration. Staff can help you choose plants that are hardy, need little maintenance, and grow well when planted together.
Don’t forget to ask about any sales the garden center might be having. Often, you’ll find that if you buy multiples of certain plants, there is a discount. Roses, flowering bulb plants, and green shrubbery are often included in these sales.
Cutting out the middleman, in this case, the professional landscaper, can save you hundreds of dollars and you will still get a stunning garden that adds curb appeal to your property. Here are some low-budget landscaping ideas for you to get inspired.
What About A Container Garden?
Have you ever considered a container garden? It is more time and cost-effective. You can find gorgeous pots in a variety of sizes and colors. When properly arranged, a container garden can create a stunning scene.
Container gardens are less expensive than planting a garden. However, there are a few downsides. The pots do need to be watered on a regular basis. Often this is the tenant’s responsibility, but you also have no control over when or if they water the pots.
If it is a stipulation in the lease, you do have some legal rights. You can attach a fine to the tenant’s rent, but you will still have to pay to replace the wilted or dead plants.
Another option is to hire someone to routinely stop by to take care of the pots. Over time, the cost of this can add up.
A container garden can be a cost-effective way to beautify the front or back of a home, but it will require more maintenance than a traditional garden.
Let The Leasee Plant A Garden
Rental property owners have another option if they are lucky enough to get the right tenant. Some tenants love to plant and maintain a garden. If you are fortunate enough to lease to a tenant that wants to garden, it can save you time and money.
There are a few things you will want to discuss with the tenant before you allowing any digging on the property.
Make sure that the tenant knows that they will be responsible for any and all garden maintenance. You might also want to have a list of plants that are approved. You don’t want to suddenly find that the garden has a large tree when it was only supposed to contain flowers and small shrubs.
Many tenants like to plant vegetable gardens, but these are best suited to a backyard. If the property does not have a backyard, you can ask the tenant to keep the vegetable plants in containers.
A vegetable garden in the front yard may not give the property the curb appeal you are looking for. It might also violate some HOA rules, resulting in fines for the property owner.
Gardening At A Rental Property
You probably don’t want or need to spend a lot of money on landscaping a rental property. It can increase your property value (whether you live in Melbourne or not), but you also don’t want the garden to add to the already high cost of owning a property.
Doing it yourself is cost-efficient. Local garden centers can help you pick the right plants — all you need to do is dig the garden. Instead of paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a professional, you can create a garden for a fraction of the cost.
Another option is to let the tenant plant one and keep it maintained. If you choose this option, make sure that the plants they purchase are not deducted from the rent and meet your requirements or rules.