Lovely landscaping around your rental property can help you win more attention from prospective renters. As the owner or manager of a rental with great outdoor areas, you can afford to be more selective in the kind of tenants you accept. Many renters will be happy to pay more to live in a home or work in the building if it has a well-kept yard.
But after you have gotten tenants into the property, who will be responsible for looking after the landscaping? A nice yard is that way because someone is putting a lot of work into it. Are tenants expected to maintain the landscaping, and can you trust them to do a good job? Or will you make landscape maintenance one of your responsibilities?
These are questions you want to answer before designing the landscaping or accepting any tenants into the property. Failing to address this issue up front could result in consequences that would set your business back. You may lose valuable tenants or end up hurting the property’s curb appeal and market value.
To make sure your rental property’s landscaping does not become a burden to you or your tenants, here are things to consider when planning landscaping maintenance for the property.
Who is responsible for landscaping maintenance in your rental?
The most important aspects of landscape maintenance include mowing, weed control, pest extermination, fertilization, trimming trees and shrubs, mulching, irrigation, and maintaining irrigation systems. Most tenants do not have the expertise or desire to do these tasks. At the same time, there are landscaping tasks for the tenants.
The key to good yard maintenance is finding a balance between what tenants should do and what the landlord/manager must do. There are no hard-and-fast rules for reaching this balance. You can work out an acceptable solution by talking with your tenants. But for most rental property operators, there are four options for maintaining a rental’s landscaping:
The Landlord Does everything:
From a financial point of view, this is the costliest option for tenants. That is because they would have to pay more in rent. But it gives the landlord or manager maximum control, and there is no chance of tenants ruining the yard. Tenants who want the opportunity to do some gardening will not like this option.
The tenant maintains landscaping:
This is the most affordable option for the tenant, but not necessarily for the owner or manager. A tenant will naturally want to limit their spending to the bare necessities, and they may not have the required skills to look after the yard. This option is also hard to implement in a multi-family property, and especially in a commercial property.
Hire a landscaping company:
This option will also cost a tenant more. But tenants may prefer it to the landlord/manager handling landscaping maintenance. That is because they may have more room to participate in decisions on the landscaping’s management. Moreover, most tenants would rather deal with a neutral third party than the owner. Plus, this option is the best for commercial buildings and multi-family homes.
The best option for tenants and landlords is to share the maintenance responsibilities. Tenants can take care of mowing and trimming and leave the rest of the work to the owner/manager. This model gives tenants with a green thumb the chance to indulge their desires. Landlords can also make sure their landscaping is maintained as expected.
Tips to make rental property landscaping maintenance easier
Regardless of which model you choose for your rental, the property can benefit from the following landscaping ideas. The tips below will help you minimize the effort, and therefore the cost of maintaining your rental’s landscaping.
1. Minimize lawn size
Less grass means less mowing work. A smaller lawn also means you use less water for irrigation. Cutting down on labor and the cost of landscaping maintenance can make the property more attractive to potential renters.
2. Use native plants
Native plants have an adaptation to the climate of your area. They are also resistant to endemic pests and diseases. With native plants, you spend less on pesticides and fertilizers. Therefore, the cost of landscaping maintenance will be lower.
3. Plant perennials and evergreens
With perennials in the yard, you don’t have to grow new plants every year; perennials stay alive year after year. Also, plant some evergreens; these are trees and shrubs that don’t shed their leaves seasonally. The majority of them are drought-resistant.
4. Integrate hardscaping features
Hardscapes are the nonliving elements of the yard. They include features like paved walkways, patios, retaining walls, rock gardens, etc. They give character to the yard, expand the number of ways outdoors areas can be used, and make maintenance easier.
5. Control weeds with a barrier cloth
Whatever you do to prevent weeds in the yard will make the work of looking after the landscaping easier for you and the tenants. There are a few ways to do this; weed fabric and organic barrier cloth. You may also want to use mulch for this purpose.