After spending numerous meetings with this client trying to find out their final expectations one of them said to me, ” We have a 1/2 million dollar home with a million dollar view and a 50 cent landscape. Fix it.” That gave us the direction we needed.
I understand this is an unusual property, but that does not change the process of creating a design that last a life time. I realize a landscape is always changing and we need to always look to see what is working and what is not. I’m sorry, but I’m going to share my frustrations with most landscapes. I feel most landscapes are disposable landscapes. They last about 10, maybe 15 years and then they look awful. I am a firm believer that age should increase the value of well designed landscape. I realize most people don’t landscape their home for resale value, but their is no reason why it shouldn’t increase in value. Does anyone want a buyer to pull up to their home and their first thought is wondering how much they have to spend to fix up the landscape?
Their are two basic things that can ruin the long term value of a landscape. First is the quality of the construction. The products you choose and the installation procedures can play a large role in how long your hardscape elements last. Most hardscape elements will have some level of failure over enough time. I suggest you look hard with your designer at the pros and cons of your hardscape options. More expensive does not always mean longer lasting.
The design can also play a major role in whether your property will increases or decreases in value over time. I always wonder why people install a shrub that grows 8-10 feet and then try to maintain it at 4 feet. Did they ever think maybe there is a better plant choice? I will confess I have done this from time to time. I try to only do this if there is a long discussion with the client. There are times when everyone understands a plant could require more maintenance to achieve a certain look. This should not be taken for granted.
This project has only been in since 2002. I believe it will take a few more years to prove this project has passed the test of time. Almost any project can have great before and after photos. I am most proud how this project keeps getting better each year. The rooms and the views get more defined as time goes by. There is no reason why you can’t have landscapes that looks good when and continues to look better with time. That is a growing investment.