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Landscaping for Landlords

By The Reno Kings

  • Landscape-01Landscaping for rental property is very different from landscaping for your home. You need to be hardnosed and unemotional in what you do and what you don’t do. It must be inexpensive, it must increase the rent or the value of the property.
  • If you can’t get the cost back in rent or added value you would have to question why you are doing it.

Plants, outdoor living areas, pools or spa’s – are these the essentials for adding value to your investment property?

Not necessarily.  


By following the few simple guidelines listed below, the landscaping of your investment property can be the final touch needed to make it perfect for potential renters.
 

Garden & Outdoor Features

  • To add privacy around your property, use hedges or climbers along the fence line.Landscape-02Landscape-03 Hardy plants in tall pots are also a great idea if you are after a neat, structured look.
  • Where possible install water tanks (especially in drought areas) in order to keep your garden looking luscious and colourful all year round.
  • Get great garden ideas from landscape designers or local nurseries.  Also take a look around open houses, display homes and don’t forget to rummage through the lifestyle magazines.
  • Design a garden that’s easy to maintain and drought resistant.  Any garden that needs extreme care can soon take on the look of a South American jungle.
  • Purchase appropriate plants from markets, discount nurseries and check with your local council for giveaways.
  • If the place is a jungle as they often are after years of neglect. Remove excess foliage. Open it up. Less is often more.

To Add or Not to Add?

  • Add a Fence:    Landscape-04
    Like a frame around the Mona Lisa, a fence around your investment can add that final touch.  Not only does it add street appeal and evoke a sense of security, it is also a drawcard for pet owners. Keep your side fences neighbour friendly a happy neighbour means no complaints about your tenants.

     
  • Add a Gazebo:  
    This is a cheap structure to erect which makes an attractive feature in your garden and can also be used as an outdoor entertaining area.
     
  • Landscape-05Add a Courtyard:  
    Make use of any little outdoor space you have.  Create a private nook by using screen fencing such as lattice and plants in pots.  Locate if possible near the kitchen for an outdoor dining experience.

     
  • Don’t Add a Pool:  Landscape-06
    Even though they may initially seem attractive to tenants, they can be your worst nightmare!
     
    • Maintenance: Any changes in the pool structure such as cracks or leaks can be a real problem to repair.
      As an owner you also need to consider that the sparkling beauty you left behind for your tenants may be returned to you as a smelly infested swamp once the tenants vacate

       
    • Insurance Risk: Let’s also not forget to mention your insurance costs if someone has an accident around the pool area – this could cost you your whole portfolio!

       
    • Cost: There is the initial cost of the pool. You could be looking at a minimum of $20,000 and up to $50,000 for a modest in-ground pool. You are very unlikely to recover that cost in increased rent. This also brings to the fore the extra costs needed to purchase tanks and pool covers.

       
    • Noise: And last but not least, we know that kids love pools.  But let’s not forget that kids make noise and this annoys the neighbours. We don’t want to annoy the neighbours!

       
  • Don’t Add a Pond:  
    Though attractive to the human eye, toads and mozzies are also attracted to this serene site.  Let’s not forget to mention the danger they pose to children and your insurance liability.
     

Reno Ideas

  • Decks:Landscape-07
    The indoor/outdoor lifestyle is so common in Australia, so don’t hesitate to add a deck where you can. Plan the deck so your entry to the deck from the house is through bifold or French doors for that indoor /outdoor flow.

    They are easy and inexpensive to build and tenants love them. Make sure the deck is large enough for 6 people minimum at a round table.

    Check with you local Council for their requirements.
  • Shade structures:Landscape-08
    Shade structures are always a great idea for our hot summers. Heavy duty shade cloths are cheap and easy to install and come in a range of colours to suit your décor.  Use shade structures for building inexpensive but great looking carports and outdoor living areas.

    As they are permeable they don’t require drains/downpipes and may not need building approval. Check with your local Council.
  • Ugly concrete areas:Landscape-09
    If your garden comes with a horrible grey concrete slab, why not paint it with appropriate paving paint or pave over it with inexpensive pavers.  By using the right colour you can create an illusion of space.

    For a completed look, border the area with stones or edging plants.

Summary:

  • Keep you landscaping costs to a minimum
  • If it doesn’t increase the rent or the value don’t do it
  • Get any free plants available from some Councils
  • Keep your plants low maintenance
  • Install tanks using the subsidies available
  • Courtyards and gazebos add value for tenants
  • Front fences for street appeal and neighbour friendly side fences
  • Avoid pools and ponds
  • Decks are great
  • Install shade structures
  • Change ugly areas with paving or paving paint

Profit from Property

As you can see there are so many ways to add value, avoid hidden costs and increase rents using tested strategies. If you would like to learn from the Reno Kings ... check out our Workshops