Landscaping for Curb Appeal in Northeast Florida’s Hot Real Estate Market
In what some consider a Florida real estate post-pandemic gold rush, landscaping for curb appeal in Northeast Florida’s hot real estate market is more critical than ever, benefiting both higher resale value and improved homeowner satisfaction. Earth Works Landscape Designer John Cacchione showcases landscape design elements that improve property value and customer satisfaction at a new estate build.
HOT REAL ESTATE MARKET
Jacksonville home values have increased by 21%, the highest year-over-year increase among the top 40 metro areas in the nation according to Realtor.com’s Market Hotness rankings. This has occurred while Jacksonville remains among the most affordable according to the Boston Real Estate Times.
St John’s County property values and surrounding coastal communities are likewise in high demand as values steadily increase and the average length of homeownership increases post-pandemic.
“Homes on the market are selling quickly in St. Johns County,” reported News4Jax.com. “There is high demand and low inventory. “With resale, those are going under contract often in 24 to 48 hours, multiple offers over list price,” said Karen Zander, 97Park Real Estate owner and broker. “No one knows how much to offer.”
IMPORTANCE OF CURB APPEAL
According to the National Association of Realtors, over 70 percent of prospective homeowners consider curb appeal crucial to their home buying experience according to bankrate.com. “That first impression is important,” says Frank J. Lucco, managing director of IRR-Residential Appraisers & Consultants in Houston. “If they don’t like the looks of the front of the house, which is mostly landscaping, often they won’t even go inside.”
ELEMENTS OF LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Personalizing your landscape design to suit your choice of plants and hardscaping materials if done right creates visual appeal. Whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional, the landscape design elements include considerations of color, form, lines, scale, and texture. Remote consultations do not impair the design process, for although client tastes vary, landscape design principles remain the same. Earth Works landscape designers consult with clients worldwide and often before their home construction is completed in Northeast Florida.
Cacchione’s client for this informal landscape design built a large single-story sprawling home on an expansive lot with a concrete driveway that could accommodate two traffic lanes. The flower bed in the middle of the circular driveway includes green, blue, orange, and red with an outer ring of 50 perennial Blue My Minds followed by a ring of Ixora, and orange birds of paradise, all on an incline leading up to the centerpiece triple trunk Roebelenii palm. All flower beds in the front yard include red mulch that compliments the rich colors of the home. Tan River rock form a border around the house. These rocks protect the black iron fencing around the backyard and line the generator and pool equipment pads and courtyard’s flagstone. Color is a crucial component of landscape design involving the choice of plantings, rocks, and mulch in relation to the house.
The size and growth rates of plant choices are as important as their current appearance. The collective selection of plants involves decisions of proportionality in size and spacing throughout the beds in relation to the home. “That’s something you have to think about while you are planting, doing your design,” said Cacchione. “This plant is small now, but in five years, what’s it going to look like?” On either side of the front door, small plants dominate the flower beds, including foxtail ferns and salvia. Cacchione creates focal points with gradual increases in scale from the flowers to several 10′ Mule palms.
The driveway’s curving lines create an informal design that Cacchione alters with straight lines of hardscaping along the walls of the house that serve a practical purpose and visual appeal. “We did this clean edge around the foundation, then the gravel against the stucco,” said Cacchione. “That’s important, especially with stucco. Stucco is a permeable surface that water will penetrate if it stays wet too long.” Layering with clean lines with a mix of plants, edging, rocks, mulch, and pottery provides lots of visual interest.
The concrete driveway forms a vast flower bed in front of the house leading around the side to a garage and courtyard. “The builder had this pergola existing on the design, and I felt like we needed a way to get from the driveway to the garage door,” said Cacchione. “So this was just a cool addition. And we were able to use some of the flagstones we used in the courtyard.” For color and interest in this area the plan included:
- A trellis of red bougainvillea.
- Orange birds of paradise.
- Foxtail ferns.
- A single trunk roebelenii by the window.
The four walls of the courtyard with doors and window viewing vantages needed a focal point. “We knew this little courtyard needed something special,” said Cacchione. “And just to create the sound of water in here is perfect.” What happens during periods of rain, though, considering the myriad of pitches of the roof? “This water feature collects all the water from the downspouts from the roof in here and are channeled into our reservoir,” said Cacchione. “Another thing in here where we are thinking about permeability. So the gravel and flagstone will allow the water to penetrate, and that also goes into the reservoir.” In the event of an overflow from storms, the water is being funneled out through installed drain pipes.
A portion of the backyard incorporating the swimming pool, patio, and pergola is enclosed by black metal fencing lined with edging and tan river rock. Cacchione centered a triple trunk Roebelenii behind the pool that can be viewed upon entry to the home through the front door. A rectangular flower bed connects the pool pad to the raised pergola sitting area. Texas sage line the bed behind the pool on both sides of the Roebelenii. Pringle’s podocarpus surrounds the pergola and the Bahia sod base will green up nicely as the weather warms up in the Spring and Summer.
As half of our days are shrouded in darkness, the landscaping’s beauty is revealed in new ways with a complete outdoor lighting package including blade lights on steps, path lights, large lights on palms, and wall wash lights. Whether planning to improve your landscaping for curb appeal in a new or existing home in Northeast Florida’s hot real estate market, contact Earth Works for a design consultation.
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And remember that for comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping need contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712.
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