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January 21, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Why the Garden is Now your Home’s Best Selling Point in San Diego – Landscaping Tips

Why is it that the house down the block from your house sold in only a month and your San Diego home has been on the market for almost a year? Your house is the exact same model and was listed for the same price as your neighbor’s house. Other than the difference in the shade of tan on the exterior of the two homes, they are identical. When you ask your real estate agent what is the problem, he responds with a two word answer – your garden.


In the competitive San Diego real estate market, it has become increasingly important to maintain the property upon which your house is situated. Front and back yards make a big impression on home buyers. If you have a beautifully landscaped yard that can be the difference between whether a couple shopping for their first home buys your home or the home down the block. Today’s home buyers are paying almost as much attention to the outside of a home as they are to the inside of a home.

When trying to find the perfect home for their client, a San Diego real estate agent will still search for the normal requests like a home with an open floor plan, a modern kitchen and plenty of closet space. Some clients will want a home with a pool and some may want to be close to the beach. For most home buyers, especially families with children, a prerequisite for buying a San Diego home is a nice front and back yard.


A clear trend in landscaping these days is to create a balance between functionality and form. You are seeking an outdoor space where you can relax and drink your morning coffee and also have plenty of room so the kids can play. You do not want to overwhelm people with a garden that outshines the house. Before you show your house to prospective buyers, make any changes that could turn buyers off before they even step inside.

Don’t scare away potential buyers

A bad first impression will scare away buyers. If your front yard has not been mowed in three months, bushes are growing over your windows, and you left a broken washing machine by the side of your house, who will want to look inside? The exterior of your home speaks volumes for the way you maintain your home. If you were house-hunting, would you stop, or would you just keep on driving to the next house?

Landscaping in San Diego - Cactus Garden

While you may not have a formal English Garden in front of your home, you can make it look presentable. You should get rid of any garbage cans, old washing machines or any other debris. Make sure your lawn is mowed and trim your bushes. You can add a little color by planting some flowers or getting a few large potted plants to spruce up the entrance to your home.

Landscaping Trends

The trend today is to the natural look. While it might have been the style in the 1970s to round-off your junipers and square-off your boxwood hedges, that no longer is the style. Leave the topiary to the landscape artists at Disneyland. Use plants that are native to San Diego and the Southern California area. Trees should be strategically placed and selected on the basis of how they will look when mature. Avoid trees that become a nuisance. Climbing vines and spreading bamboo can become a major problem over time.

Lawn ornaments, gnomes and statues

A concrete angel with wings spread can enhance a patio area. You can have a statue as part of a water feature. Just be careful not to go overboard. You do not want your yard dominated by plastic gnomes, fake birds and ceramic frogs. While you may find your decorative characters delightful, others may not share your opinion, and dare say, think it tacky.

Modern backyard

Low-maintenance yards

When people look for San Diego real estate, they pay attention to the landscaping. It is one thing to admire a beautifully manicured area around a patio and it is another when you have to do the work to maintain it. While you may love to spend your weekends tending to your vegetables and herbs, most buyers do not have the time or inclination to prune, fertilize and work in the yard every week. Instead, use plants that require very little maintenance. Use perennials that bloom for longer periods of time as opposed to annuals that have a short bloom period. Pick out some native plants that produce colorful flowers around the year. Use green ground cover interspersed with some low-maintenance plants that do not require too much water.
Also you should read  “How To Reduce Your Landscaping Costs” from Forbes.

Don’t go crazy

While there has been a trend toward extending the interior space with livable outdoor space, not everybody will value an outdoor kitchen, fire pit and extensive stonework with custom seating areas. If you spend $100,000 to upgrade your outdoor space, don’t expect to get all of that money back when you sell your house.

It is fine to create a nice patio area surrounded by some trees, flowers, and maybe some outdoor lighting, but keep the amount you spend proportional to the value of your house. In other words, if your house is worth $300,000, don’t spend more than about 10 percent to fix up your outdoor space.

Appeal to a large audience

Your yard, gardens and other outdoor space should appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Just like painting your walls in a light, neutral color will appeal to home buyers more than having rooms painted bright red or purple, keep your yard simple and fairly easy to maintain. Field stone and stone work can add a beautiful touch, but it also needs to be pressure washed at least once or twice a year. Then again, having a large green lawn can be great for playing Frisbee, but it also means more time cutting the grass.


When you plant a garden, you follow a plan. You may set taller plants toward the back and shorter ones up front. The idea is to achieve a symmetry and balance. That is true of your front yard and your back yard. The best gardens are appealing to the eye without being too pretentious.

Article Copyright ©2013/2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon

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One Comment

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  1. San Diego Landscape / Feb 16 2014 4:12 pm

    Wow! Those are really beautiful garden landscaping designs you have there. Awesome!

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