In real estate, curb appeal is everything. How attractive a home looks in the first moments a potential buyer sees the property can make or break a sale. According to Suzette Peoples, Owner and Broker of Peoples Properties, “When buyers see the outside taken care of, they have a better attitude that the inside will be just as nice! First impressions make lasting impressions.”
Further, a recent study published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Alabama showed the importance of curb appeal.
The researchers determined that a home with excellent curb appeal sold on average for 7 per cent more than a similar home in the same neighborhood with less curb appeal.
In slow real estate markets where the buyers were choosier, homes with high curb appeal sold for as much as 14 per cent more.
Increase Your Curb Appeal
What can you do to increase your home’s curb appeal? Successful real estate agents suggest the following:
- Clean, repaint, or replace the front door. Replace dated door handles. Upgrade house numbers. Get a new outside doormat.
- Clean up the driveway and sidewalks. Power wash, remove weeds, park cars elsewhere, put away garbage cans, recycling bins, and kids’ toys. If the driveway’s stained or cracked, fix it.
- Clean the home’s exterior. Wash the windows inside and out. Power wash, repaint or replace the siding or brick.
- Update your roof. Replace missing shingles or flashing. If needed, replace the roof.
- Upgrade lighting fixtures in the entrance.
- Make the porch inviting. Paint, re-stain, or seal. Remove clutter, add potted plants and comfortable seating.
- Do some landscaping. Plant trees and colorful flowers. Replace the brick or concrete borders on flower beds. Weed the garden and mow the lawn. Edge the lawn along driveways, sidewalks, and garden beds. Replace mulch.
Real estate agents agree that well-kept lawns and carefully-planned landscaping can add 10 to 15 percent to a home’s value in a hot market. In slower markets, it can be the deciding factor for many buyers. And it can help sell your home up to 6 weeks faster.
At the same time, home buyers want a yard that isn’t too hard to maintain. They don’t want to stand with a hose on a regular basis for the length of time it takes to properly water plants. And they don’t want to go on vacations worrying about coming home to a yellow lawn and dying flowers.
Fortunately, there’s an automated solution for landscape maintenance that also protects the investment in a beautiful lawn and garden and increases property value — an irrigation system.
Irrigation systems remove the guesswork of how much and when to water lawns, gardens, and trees. They’re convenient, save time, reduce water bills, and conserve water. Here in Texas water conservation is extremely important, with each municipality determining water restrictions.
It’s the law in Texas that you must hire a licensed professional to install an irrigation system. A professional is trained in design, proper sprinkler layout, and the watering needs of various plants. A well-designed, properly installed irrigation system constructed with professional-quality parts will increase property value. In contrast, a poorly designed, poorly installed system constructed with discount parts can lower the property value significantly, according to many appraisers.
To increase property value, it’s best to install an irrigation system with a smart weather-based controller. This controller automatically changes watering amounts and schedules based on local weather conditions and needs very little attention when correctly programmed.
Types of Irrigation Systems for Your Landscape
- Lawn sprinkler system. Sprinklers are good for large areas where the plants are the same kind, such as grass. Gear-driven rotors, rotary nozzles, and spray-type sprinklers, all pop-ups, are common sprinklers for watering the lawn. The choice depends on lawn size and soil type.
All of these have nonpop-up models that can be mounted above ground on a vertical pipe to water over the top of tall, dense shrubs. These are referred to as shrub-type sprinklers.
- Drip irrigation is a good choice for a garden with a variety of plants, such as flower beds, vegetable gardens, and beds with trees and ornamentals. It uses a network of long mini-hoses that stretch the length of a flower bed, or wind around inside. Attached emitters carry a slow, steady trickle of water to plants, where it sinks into the soil to the root system. Special emitters allow more water for specific plants.
Drip irrigation is highly efficient in its water use compared to conventional sprinkler systems, and as a result is often exempt from watering restrictions.
Soaker hoses are another form of drip irrigation. They’re easily wound through gardens or shifted from place to place. Soaker hoses are either made of canvas to allow water to leak through, or of plastic with tiny holes spaced at regular intervals. They work best in small gardens and raised planting beds on level ground where the plants are close together. Because soaker hoses don’t have any pressure regulation, elevated areas and areas at the end of the hose won’t discharge as much water.
Subsurface drip irrigation is low-pressure irrigation that uses buried plastic tubing containing embedded emitters spaced at regular intervals. The tubes are usually buried 4 to 6 inches deep. Subsurface irrigation is used for groundcover, shrub areas, and lawns difficult to water due to unusual shapes, narrow strips, or steep slopes.
Bubblers. Basically, bubblers are small irrigation heads that bubble over and flood the ground around newly planted trees. The water sinks down deep into the soil around the trees, forcing the roots to go deeper in search for water as the soil dries on top. They’re also good for watering larger plants, such as roses and shrubs.
Micro sprays have higher flow rates than drip emitters. They’re available with nozzles in 1/4, 1/2, and full circle patterns, with a radius ranging from 18 inches to 12 feet.
Micro sprays are connected to the irrigation tubing through a connector and spaghetti tubing, then attached to fixed or pop-up risers. They emit large droplets or fine streams of water, suited for irrigating large flower beds, containers, newly planted trees or shrubs, ground covers, or garden plants with higher water needs than others.
Landscape Plants for Texas
Native and adapted plants are the best choice in Texas to create a beautiful landscape, and to save money on utilities and maintenance. They’re drought-tolerant, require very little fertilizer, are naturally resistant to insects and diseases common to the area, need less water once established, and thrive better in local conditions than imported varieties.
Native plants to a specific region are those that have developed naturally for many years without human assistance. Adapted plants originated in other areas of Texas, the United States, or the world, but are able to thrive in the local climate and soil conditions without being harmful to existing native plants.
Hire a professional irrigator to match the watering needs of your landscape with the right sprinkler system.
Call the pros at Smart Earth Sprinklers at (512) 694-1147 for your sprinkler system design, installation, repair and maintenance needs.