How much would you spend on landscaping? Landscapers say a number of Kenyans want to spend zero budget on their outdoors even after building a house worth Sh10 million.
‘‘Some clients want beautiful designs from Pinterest and want to pay so little. Some use the shamba boy to do landscaping,’’ says David Karega, a landscape designer.
For many home owners, a huge investment in landscaping might not be on the cards until a later date.
But as a home owner, you should ask yourself what is the first thing people see when they visit? Is it a well maintained lawn with beautiful flowers that lure exotic birds chirping every morning or the contrary?
Landscaping gives your home some vigour, shape and colour. Many will agree that great landscaping offers the ambiance and serenity required to transform a house into a home, and this will increase the value of your home.
Currently, the value of a home comes down to location, price and condition. As a homeowner, you cannot do much about the location, but you can price your home correctly and make sure that it is in the best condition possible.
Most Kenyans put more emphasis indoors and forget the outdoors. Mr Karega says beautiful back and front yards add value of a house by more than 150 per cent.
And how much does landscaping cost? The cost depends on what the client wants, the type of soil, features present such as trees, void areas that need to be filled and if you want to block off your neighbour’s ugly fence.
“Budget for landscaping should be at least 10 per cent of the cost of your home. That means, if your house costs Sh1 million, then Sh100,000 should be set aside for landscaping,” says Mr Karega who runs Nairobi-based Zabibu Landscapers.
On bare minimum, Sh100,000 should give you a decent-looking outdoors. Mr Karega adds that it is important to have plants in every design.
Without form, a landscape can lack interest, unity and cohesion as there is little to tie everything together or create a backdrop or contrast.
Plants give your backyard or front yard form, they give it unity and proportion.
“The selection of plants is very important so that it does not stress the eye of a person that is interacting with the landscape. That informs plants that are selected in any landscape,” he adds.
A well-designed landscape creates outdoor spaces that extend indoor living spaces, and according to Mr Karega, the designs should focus on the optimum use of trees, shrubs, flowers and plants while considering elements like site analysis, hard and soft landscaping.
Also, one should be guided by the experts to identify the right plant for the right place, and execute the design while taking into consideration the climate, soil, drainage, existing plant materials and surrounding landscapes.
Likewise, it is important to understand the grass type, water requirements, irrigation and soil composition to keep a landscape space beautiful and healthy.
He says with the booming construction in the real estate sector, of late, they have seen more of clients asking about landscape maintenance.
Kenyans who want to sell their old homes are also spending more money on glamorous gardens to increase the value.