4 ways hardscapes can add value to your home

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(BPT) - Outdoor hardscape projects add resale value to a home as well as bring extra enjoyment to homeowners while they are living in the home, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features” by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

The report confirms that investing in landscaping and hardscaping is a win-win, whether you plan to stay in your home or prepare it for market.

“This report validates that outdoor remodeling and landscaping improvements are a necessity when it comes to improving your home’s resale value,” said Missy Henriksen, NALP vice president of public affairs. “Homeowners working with a landscape professional to embark on renovations — whether that means enhancing their turf and growing a lush lawn, overhauling their entire landscape, or incorporating new features like patios or exterior fireplaces — can rest assured that they are making a smart, worthwhile investment.”

Curb appeal

Real estate agents suggest that a home’s first impression is paramount when preparing it for sale. Simple updates such as adding retaining wall units or paving stone edging around gardens add value and curb appeal. More ambitious projects like a front paving stone entrance with patio and a seat wall or two add major curb appeal plus the enjoyment factor from adding a beautiful, functional front yard.

Varying hardscape colors and textures in the front outdoor living space lends maximum visual appeal. Hardscapes also can make routine maintenance easier, such as creating a tree ring from retaining wall units and surrounding it with pavers to reduce the need for trimming after mowing.

Making unusable space usable

A family in Maple Grove, Minnesota, had a hill behind their home that sloped down to a pond. They knew that excavating would be required and contacted Villa Landscapes in St. Paul to help them decide how best to make use of the space.

“The Versa-Lok Standard retaining wall system was perfect for retaining the soil behind the garage when we excavated to create their outdoor living space,” said Lonny Sekeres, a designer with Villa Landscapes. “There are no voids in the units to backfill, and the top-down pinning system made the installation easy. By back-splitting the retaining wall units, we easily created matching freestanding seat walls around the fire feature area too. Plus, the same unit was used to create columns that provide a base for a pergola while giving a nice definition to the outdoor living space.”

Prevent erosion

Damage to your property can devalue a home plus create major headaches. Retaining wall systems are essential in preventing erosion, controlling grade changes in a yard, and preventing damage to the landscape, and in certain environments, even damage to your home.

One homeowner in Apple Valley, Minnesota, had a steep, unusable backyard that sloped toward the home’s foundation. Over the years, water damage to the foundation occurred.

“The negative flow caused water damage, a leaky foundation and the accumulation of dirt that had been eroding down the slope for years,” said Paul Devine, owner and principal of Devine Design Hardscapes in Rosemount, Minnesota. “There was no flat, usable area at the base of the hill, and the client had never been able to grow grass because of constant erosion. The Versa-Lok wall design created a positive flow away from the home's foundation, steps to the top of the hill, and a flat, usable area for a backyard."

Devine created a tiered retaining wall design with ample space for perennials and a staggered staircase with landings that feature seat walls for resting.

Safety and privacy

Seat walls can add a measure of privacy and protection against the elements, and energy-efficient landscape lighting can be installed along patios, paver walkways and under retaining wall caps for nighttime ambiance and functionality. Landscape professionals can suggest how adding these and other hardscape elements can increase value and offer measures of safety and privacy.

In the end, investing in your home’s landscape with hardscapes is a long-term win-win, no matter how long you stay in your home or if you are preparing it for sale. Says Henriksen: “Further, that investment is coupled with the immediate happiness received by beautiful landscaping and the long-term enjoyment of outdoor living spaces, which are priceless.”