There are many reasons to maintain a clean, neat, and attractive landscape on an investment property. When a unit is vacant, it helps to attract good tenancy. While occupied, it helps maintain neighbor relations and reflects the tenants care. Later, when it is time to sell, the property looks well kept instead of the local derelict.
So why do many properties turn into eyesores?
While residents want to rent a nice looking home, they often have no interest, time, or knowledge on how to maintain the property. They may agree to landscape maintenance in the rental contract but it can be difficult for a property manager or owner to enforce. The owner can charge the tenant for maintenance or include landscape maintenance but it is not always practical to increase the rent with the full cost, particularly if the landscaping on the property is extensive.
In addition, water is a key element to this issue. Many properties that are eyesores do not have an irrigation system. If it is a very dry climate, water can simply be the issue. Even wet climates can suffer a drought. If a tenant is not diligent in watering, landscape suffers or dies. It is even more difficult to maintain watering when a property is vacant.
Neither tenant nor owner wants a high water bill. When the property is vacant, the owner will want to minimize the cost to maintain the property and yet keep it looking its best. When occupied the tenant may reduce usage to avoid a bill and cause stress to the landscape. Drought conditions can incur penalties from the utility company for too much water usage.
What can help solve this issue?
A good alternative is to install a low maintenance landscape whenever possible. Then either the tenants can easily maintain the property while renting or it can lower the cost of providing landscape service to them. Additionally, it will help when a property is vacant.
How can you provide an "attractive" low maintenance landscape? The key word here is "attractive" so that it does not create a dull appearance that could also pass as a neighborhood eyesore or discourage any possible renters. It does take thought and planning. Here are some tips for an attractive low maintenance landscape. Here are some tips for a low maintenance garden:
- Plan and install an irrigation system that is appropriate for the landscape and the native area.
- Be sure the watering system has a programmable timer system so it can be set to water automatically and adjust to the seasons and water needs of the landscape.
- Plan a natural landscape instead of a formal one. This will require less trimming and pruning.
- Use plants indigenous to the area and when possible, use those that require very little water or maintenance. Succulents can often be a good choice.
- Use shrubs, small ornamental trees, and perennials for color instead of flowers. When possible, plan for color in different seasons.
- Plant ground covers to reduce weeds or eliminate grass areas.
- Avoid plants that need major pruning or extensive deadheading.
- Avoid plants that can cause serious allergies and cause difficulties with tenants.
- Consult with area nurseries for practical suggestions or hire a company who knows how to plan and install a low maintenance landscape.
Planning and installing a low maintenance landscape requires a monetary investment but the return on your investment can only be positive.