In many locations, the rental market is highly competitive with many people choosing to become landlords, investing in properties to rent. Of course, vacant properties don’t translate to income, so the landlord’s goal is to avoid vacancies.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to attract tenants to your property over other choices … landscaping the gardens. A beautifully landscaped piece of land will make your property desirable, giving it ideal curb appeal enabling you to maintain your rent price at a reasonable rate, so you don’t miss rental opportunities over the months. And, the great news is that it’s possible to landscape affordably!
This article will cover the four main ways you can landscape your rental property, that will bring the most value to your investment without breaking the bank. Plus, we know how valuable your time is, so these options will require minimal maintenance, and will stay looking great for years to come.
Landscaping Option One – Covering Ground Space
One of the things that can detract from the overall appeal of a property is a wasteland of bare earth surrounding it, especially if junk has accumulated there. It is essential to clear any rubbish from around your rental property – hopefully that goes without saying!
Empty ground space can be covered in a number of ways, and the landscaping suggestions below are easy to maintain, affordable and attractive:
- Ground can be covered with upcycled paving stones, which can be placed in a mosaic, irregular or systematic pattern, depending on what you have available and the look you would like to achieve.
- Seams between the pavers can be filled with moss, to give the space a finished look.
- Gravel is an inexpensive way to fill an empty space of ground to give it a more finished look. You can choose various colors to suit your style.
- If you prefer the look of planted ground, lawn is generally not the most cost effective choice, as it can be expensive and requires a lot of water to maintain as well as maintenance requirements to keep weeds under control.
- Try thyme or lamium instead of grass, as they are inexpensive to purchase, spread quickly and look great … thyme smells wonderful, too.
- If you’re opting for a planted space, add a layer of mulch to save money over time. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture, plus it cuts down on weeds and requires less watering.
Landscaping Option Two – Choosing Plants, Trees and Shrubs
Annuals vs Perennials
When choosing plants to include in the landscaping of your rental property, it makes sense to look for perennials, which return to flower every year, without any additional time, money or work from the tenant (or landlord!). They are generally more expensive initially, but over time, this investment pays for itself.
Many landlords also choose to include annuals in their landscaping, as this reduces the initial expenditure and you can, therefore, create a lush garden full of color for less. If you decide to incorporate annual plants in the garden of your rental property, why not look for those that drop seeds which will potentially provide you with more plants the following year, with no effort! Ideas include poppies and sweet peas.
Trees and Shrubs
If you would like to include trees or shrubs in the garden of your investment property, start with younger, slow growing varieties, which are far cheaper than established options. It makes sense to include trees, as they can add value to your property, beyond the aesthetic appeal.
“One of the non-aesthetic ways a tree can improve the quality of life on your property is by saving you money. A good “shade tree” can dramatically impact a home’s air conditioning requirements by blocking direct sunlight in the summer. The American Power Association estimates that effective landscaping can reduce a home cooling bill by up to 50%. Then, in the winter, your trees (especially Evergreens) can help block the wind, saving those precious BTUs.
American Forests claims that trees placed appropriately around one’s house can reduce the need for heating by 20% to 50%. Other benefits of a tree-lined property include their ability to keep erosion in check by virtue of their extensive roots, although you’re unlikely to appreciate the value of this service like you might from the energy savings. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide, converting it to sweet, sweet oxygen. Two mature trees alone put out more oxygen than one human being consumes.” [source]
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing plants and trees, is to look for native species, which are naturally more suited to your climate, and will require less care. If you would like to install a watering system to protect your investment in plants, consider installing a soaker hose which will keep your garden watered with ease. Plus, they use less water than watering cans or sprinklers.
Finally, be sure to shop around when looking for plants, as different nurseries will offer different prices and you may be able to save a considerable amount of money through negotiation, especially towards the end of the season. However, make sure you plant your purchases at the right time to give them the best possible chance of thriving.
Landscaping Option Three – Creating Additional Living Space
A superb way to add value to your rental property via landscaping is to create additional living space, bringing the outdoors, indoors. This can transform a home for a tenant, and keep your property highly desirable.
Robust seating areas with a fire pit are one option, otherwise dining spaces with outdoor tables and chairs are also useful, if your climate allows for it. These extra touches will provide tenants with an idea of the type lifestyle they can enjoy on your property. If there is already a porch, a pool or a patio, be sure to make the most of that.
Landscaping Option Four – Adding A Designer Touch
You can also transform the outdoor spaces of your rental properties easily – adding touches that can look as though a designer has come along and waved their magic wand. Enhancements can be done for far less money than you might imagine and can look highly effective. Here are our top three designer touches that you can include in your landscaping to add value to your investment property, keeping tenants knocking at your door:
Choose One Color
Sticking with one color, or a limited palette throughout the design of your investment property landscaping is an easy way to create a designer effect. The color can be echoed throughout the planting, gravel, pavers, planters, edging and so on … the only limit is your imagination. This can look absolutely fantastic, and costs no more than choosing multicolored options.
Make Unique Planters
Planters can look great in a garden, and are useful to manage the spread of certain plants, and are the only option in some limited spaces. The problem is that planters can be quite costly and are generally all the same kind of style. However, with a little creativity, many discarded items can be upcycled to make great looking planters. Wine barrels, tires and pallets are just three options that can be sourced cheaply from reclaim yards. The following instructions from Crafty Little Gnome show just how simple it can be to create beautiful planters from tires.
- Old tires
- Paint (optional)
- Potting soil
1) Get several tires. If you don’t have any old tires lying around, try Craigslist. People will be begging you to take their old tires or you could call auto shops. They will probably have tires they can give you, too .
2) Take your tire and cut away the inner part of the rubber. Use the natural grooves in the rubber as a guide. If you ever bought one of those fancy Ginsu knives that claim to cut everything from steak to slabs of marble, now is the time to dust if off and put it to good use. Please be careful. Nothing ruins a fun DIY project faster than a trip to the emergency room!
3) Now, you are going to flip your tire inside out. This is more difficult on tires without rims. Use your feet for support and pull the trimmed edge up. Consider calling a friend with big muscles over to help. The older the tires are, the easier this will be.
4) Tires with rims are slightly easier. Flip the tire upside down so the trimmed side is face down. Sit in the middle and pull the sides up with all your might.
5) Now that your tires are inside our give them a good spray down with the hose and clean off all the gunk.
6) If you want to paint your tires, now is the time to do so. Make sure they are very clean and dry before painting. I like my tires rather plain which is why I left them au naturale. A Google search will bring up numerous ideas for inspiration for bright, fun colored tires that look like flowers and such.
7) Place your tires where they will have a permanent home. The tires without rims won’t have bottoms, so they will not be easily moved. Tires with rims have a bottom, so the dirt won’t spill out completely. They will however, be quite heavy.
8) Fill your tire planters with potting soil and add your favorite plants.
Plant Ornamental Grasses
Ornamental grasses are an inexpensive and modern way to bring a designer touch to areas that would benefit from planting. Blue oatgrass, flax or zoysia are all beautiful choices that are very easy to maintain.
With increasing competition in the rental market, one way you can increase the curb appeal of your investment property is with attractive landscaping. This is yet another role for you to play as landlord, but it can be easier than you think!
With these simple ideas to fill empty space, choose affordable plants, create additional living space and add designer touches and you will find that you are never left with a vacant property. Plus, our suggestions are low-maintenance, so your investment in time and money will pay dividends over the years.