If you’re rehabbing a distressed property to turn it into an investment rental property, you know that you have some work ahead of you. After all, you want to attract really great tenants who’ll take care of the property, pay rent on time, and hopefully renew their lease at the end of its term so you can cut down on vacancy time. Of course, you don’t want to blow your budget on landscaping, but there are definitely a few things you can do that will help you save money, increase your rental rates, and attract better tenants – and you can do all of them in the front yard!
Take Out Unhealthy Trees and Shrubs
If the property already has trees and shrubs planted around the front yard, you’re going to have to decide whether they need to stay or go. As beautiful as a shade tree can be, it can also be a huge liability if you live in an area that gets a lot of wind and storms, especially if the tree isn’t in great shape and hasn’t been maintained over the years.
Likewise, while it’s great to have plants bordering the front of the house, you might want to think about spacing and how fast those shrubs are going to grow. If they’re already overgrown, you need to decide whether pruning them back is a good idea or if it would just be better to take them out and replace them with a different species of plant that won’t grow to be so big that it interferes with the house.
Planting Flowers? Go with Perennials
You want the property to continue to look appealing, year after year, even if your tenants do nothing but mow the lawn fairly regularly. So, if you’re planting flowers by the mailbox or along the front walk, you’ll have the best luck with perennials. These plants come back every year with the same blooms, so they don’t need to be replanted to give you years and years of curb appeal.
Some great perennial options that will keep you from having to come by and plant new flowers every spring include (but are definitely not limited to):
Add Some Hardcover
The fewer plants there are in a yard, the less maintenance it’s going to require over the years. I’m a big fan of going with tasteful hardcover whenever possible. A wide front walk, a brick or cement back patio, and other hardcover options mean less mowing for your tenants, and they add some class to the property, too.
Give Dirt Beds Some Nice Ground Cover
Speaking of decreasing the need for yard maintenance, I’m a big fan of planting beds of plants, flowers, and shrubs around the bases of trees or in islands around the yard. They look nice, and they cut down on the mowing. At the same time, though, if you leave those dirt beds bare, they’re going to attract a lot of weeds, and they’ll wash out pretty badly when it rains. Mulch and other ground cover options can be your best friend to keep your plants healthy and avoid getting overrun by weeds.
These are my favorite low-maintenance, money-saving landscaping tips for any rental property. I’ve talked to some landlords and property managers that swear by other tips like installing synthetic grass, but I’m not a fan of that stuff. Go with simple, natural solutions like these. You’ll save cash and energy, and your tenants will appreciate it, too.