While landscaping can be absolutley beautiful, it is one of my least favorite things when it comes to flipping houses. It’s times like this that I miss the Midwest where you could dig a hole, put a plant in it and it would grow! Here in Phoenix, that just won’t work… Irregation lines need to be put in and directed at each plant. Not only that, but if you’re going to do grass, there are two kinds: one for summer and one for winter. Not to mention, water is expensive in Arizona and it costs a lot (Plus it’s not really environmentally responisble) to water everything. In the photo below, we did it all… Rock, grass, plants, tile, irregation, sprinklers, a full BBQ and outdoor kitchen, boarders, and more. It was the first time that we did it all and due to it’s lakefront location, it helped sell the house.
When flipping a house, landscaping is an essential part of the project. I’ve tried getting away without doing it based on the concept that the new buyers have “the opportunity to make it their own” but learned the hard way that that doesn’t work. Landscaping costs thousands of dollars and for me personally, I get much more excited about the house itself then I do the yard. But buyers want it all, a house that’s beautiful inside and a yard that’s complete. Most people don’t seem to care whether it’s grass or gravel as long as it’s complete. Therefore in Phoenix I tend to do gravel because it’s less expensive then grass and more reliable too! Sometimes I’ll get lucky and buy a house that already has some landscaping such as the Coolidge house I wrote about yesterday where it needs some editing/trimming/removing but their is already some solid landscaping to work with. Othertimes, I’ll get a house that has nothing but dirt.
This was the case at 17th Ave. The house has one tree in the front yard and nothing in the back. Therefore, over the last few projects I’ve been trying to come up with solutions for makeing the most of the yard without breaking the bank. One of my new favorites is curbing! Yes… Think city sidewalk, but in your yard. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to create definied spaces that look finished and make a nice visual impact. Not only that, but you can do any layout or shape that you’d like and typically the more you do, the cheaper the price is. Below is a photo of 17th Ave’s curbing in progress. The circular area will become a firepit space just off of the crushed granite patio. The horizontal strip that’s adjacent will have a contrasting colored stone with stepping stones and drought tolerant desert plants. Adjacent to that area, you’ll notice part of a rectangle which will be the home of astroturff – Yes! Fake Grass!
Fake grass leads me into another one of my landscape solutions. It looks great and it can be fairly inexpensive when you buy it from the right place… I recommend All Turf Mats which are available at http://www.Amazon.com – They have so many different sizes and most ship for free. This is the one that I just purchased for 17th Ave above: http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Synthetic-Rubber-Backed-Drainage/dp/B00EJNCS22/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1408410567&sr=8-8&keywords=All+Turf+Mats Providing fake grass brings in a pop of green color which offers a great visual impact and compliments any plantings that you do. Not only that, but some buyers don’t like gravel because it doesn’t provide a place for their kids to play or pets to go potty… Those two things shouldn’t be happening in the same space anyway, but regardless, in Phoenix even doing a small 5′ x 10′ section of grass allows buyers to use it for either. Check out the photo below – Three small strips of fake grass were used as a visual detail and it looks real! Best part is… That you don’t have to mow it and you save money by not having to install irregation, plant seed, or waste money watering it!
MY FLIP TIP: There is a solution to everything so don’t give up. Just think creatively!