Selling your home? How will your landscape help?

Landscaping for selling your house

In the search for buying a new home, the first visual impression can be a significant influence in the home buyer interest in a property. An appealing quality and condition of a landscape creates a positive attitude for a potential home buyer. Landscaping for selling your home can make a difference in how fast it will sell. A seller may be hesitant to invest in landscape work; however, studies show that this investment can assist in the sale of a property. A landscape designer can guide a seller on what landscape work will make an appealing visual impact. There are several approaches to creating a landscape that will attract a home buyer who is primarily interested in whether the landscape needs a lot of work.

The first approach is to perform fine gardening maintenance. This includes pruning shrubs and trees. Unless regularly pruned, deciduous shrubs and trees may develop “dead wood” or branches that are no longer producing any green leaves. Often shrubs and trees will develop irregular branching shape which needs to be pruned to maintain the plant’s desired shape and a neat look. Weeding, raking, edging, and mulching all garden beds enhance the initial visual impact of a well maintained property.

Another approach to landscaping for selling a home is to perform landscape renovation which is often advised for the home with a mature landscape that contains plant and tree material that has outgrown their space. An example of this is overgrown plant material obscuring the front of a home and which makes the home look smaller and neglected. Although a more costly investment than the fine gardening described in the first approach, removing these overgrown plants to expose the house produces a more welcoming entrance. A landscape designer can advise on which plants should be removed and how to economically design new plantings which will increase the visual appeal for the home buyer.

A third approach that works on its own or in combination with the preceding approaches is to add container planting. The container design and material should complement the house, and the selection of plants and their color should do the same. The goal of this approach is to generate a welcoming entrance to the home. Subtle plant color pallets can be very effective without overbearing color which may be too distracting.

A landscape designer can advise the seller on how to integrate one or more of these approaches and implement them within the seller’s budget. In all cases, a neat landscape implies that the homeowner has invested in maintaining the property and that may be incentive for a buyer to call the realtor for an appointment to see the home.

Consider lot coverage when designing your new home.

Consider lot coverage when planning your landscape

Your dream vacation or retirement home is near the ocean and perhaps in a town that has a shore land or similar zone that restricts the amount of developed square footage on your property. The developed square footage limits of these zones often include the building footprint, including overhangs, utilities such as generators and air conditioners, driveways, patios and walkways. The percentage of allowable lot coverage varies by town and by zone within a town. A common percentage is 20%.

If your house architect or builder designs a house that uses all of your allowable lot coverage, you may not have any available square footage remaining for hardscape such as patios, walkways, fire pits or garden shed buildings. Your driveway square footage may also be affected depending on the driveway material that you select. Some towns require driveway space for parking of two vehicles.

A meeting with your landscape designer, early on in the house design process, will help you address the lot coverage issue. This landscape oriented meeting will also assist in evaluating your functional spaces, such as locations of walkways and patios, which may impact the location of doorways.

The landscape designer can also advise if a survey should be performed.  Town approvals for building permits do not always require a survey. A surveyor will establish existing conditions in terms of square footage of the landscape, hardscape, driveway space. The surveyor will provide the exact total lot size in square feet, as well as total square footage of all areas that contribute to the lot coverage. By dividing these numbers, the lot coverage percentage is determined. It can happen that the survey may well establish an existing lot coverage that may be greater than the limit in your town. In these cases, a town may “grandfather” the lot coverage in existence, allowing a higher percentage than the town limit. This “grandfather” lot coverage is important when considering your available square footage for your landscape design.

Finally, when designing your new home, consider consulting your landscape design professional to ensure that your home satisfies both your interior and exterior living spaces.

Cancer Care Center

Sanford, Maine

CL Design & Landscape was the landscape designer for the woodland “Healing Garden”, dedicated in October 2010.


Healing Garden at the Cancer Care Center

Healing Garden at the Cancer Care Center

Supporting the Community

Garden fixtures at the Healing Garden



Spotlight – News from Cancer Care Center of York County

Cancer Care Newsletter Winter 2010

Download a PDF of the issue here.


Featured in Spotlight Newsletter

Winter 2010

In the fall of 2010, CL Design and Landscaping designed and installed a garden for the Cancer Care Center of York County. The space is now a peaceful refuge for the patients and staff.

Brickstore Museum

Kennebunk, Maine

Performed lawn remediation with 30% discount of In Kind gift.

Town of Kennebunk Community Garden Committee

Assistant Chair, 2010

Committee began first community garden in Kennebunk, serving residents with rental garden plots as well as providing garden space for vegetables to be donated to local food pantries.

Kennebec Community Gardens ribbon cutting

Kennebec Community Gardens

Volunteer Gardeners

Tips and insight for your landscape

Check back soon for my most recent posts on creating and maintaining your landscape!

Weekly Sentinel

Serving as the Vice Chair of the Kennebunk Community Garden Committee, Carol Laboissonniere attends the ribbon cutting ceremony.