There is little existing guidance or methods available to place a realistic value on a garden. Currently a value can be determined on the land; either by way of ‘comparative’ valuations by Estate Agents (a method of valuation that helped cause the current world economic problems), who should be adequately knowledgeable in deciding what could be added to the house value as a result of a landscaped garden, but lets be honest this judgement can be questionable to say the least - and as the House and the Garden are never separated into 2 distinct values, the true value of the garden is often hidden leading to decisions which actually devalue the garden considerably and lead to decisions of very poor and destructive land management or complete lack of management.
A more definitive valuation is by way of a chartered surveyor who can determine an actual cost of the land, but this cannot include the stock or design of the garden in question.
Consequently at present the financial value of a garden is often simply ‘guessed at’. This can be positive for some people as the householders themselves will be able to place their own personal value on the garden. However it is highly misleading, such valuation reflects taste and is unsupportable if it were necessary produce real figures for legal / insurance matters.
A landscaped garden will automatically include the costs of the design for future valuation, the cost of construction with both labour and materials. But largely ignores the growth of the plants used and in some cases with high quality hard landscaping, the value of this work as it increases in line with the cost of the house itself.
Most practitioners can comfortably value a garden: Any landscaper with experience would be able to add up several factors quickly and be able to turn it into a real financial value, but given the demise of
importance allocated to the profession – how justifiable would this be for
insurance and / or legal procedure?
It is evident that this is a modern phenomena, gardens were historically valued on a method that would determine the cost of plants as they grew, the landscaping that had been carried and the importance or knowledge of the professionals involved. Many existing gardens realised prior to 20th century, can still be valued easily by reference to their historical value. As such organisations such as the National Trust, Trebah, Heligan etc., would, in terms of insurance and sale be able to command high prices.
Another factor which is now a major factor for the discouragement of protecting or developing green space or gardens is the ‘maintenance issue’. The more maintenance required the lower the garden is valued by most people both within and outwith the industry.
I have once had to work out the value of a garden as a whole. But with little evidence of historic importance, there was at the time only one route. The garden was large and highly visible from the shoreline of a town
with a population of over 15,000. It also contained a lot of healthy mature ornamental tree specimens – so I used D.R Helliwells 2000 tree valuation method in landscape terms, (which has been accused of producing too low a value), together with costs of recent work. The result was staggering and the garden was valued at £243,100. I would suggest that including the initial landscaping which was formal and of a high quality, the true worth of that garden would be approaching £400,000. The house (including the garden) had been sold two years earlier for £1,600,000.00.
If you take a standard sized suburban plot – say 100m², imagine it was a simple garden:
4 trees of about 15 years age,
40m² of turf.
40m² of patio / decking.
20m² of beds, including 15 shrubs over 5 years old.
(And it is important to ignore the house price)
The value may be as follows, (costs have been taken from LJN links & threads):
To replace the trees and shrubs with equivalent wholesale nursery stock including planting - £3500.00
To replace the turf - £1500.00
To rebuild the patio or decking - £3800.00
Replace existing plants in beds - £1200.00
Now add on a landscape value (as per Helliwell or similar) - £8500.00, (assuming the tree canopies are visible from other properties and public space).
Now add on the land cost – based on average prices in the UK, at time of writing a good comparative cost of land, (without planning permission) would amount to approximately £21000.00
A total of £39500.00
Include a value based on environmental factors, the sustainable factor, (health of garden for growing etc.) its ecological value and other factors, (including holistic – your favourite dog may be buried in the garden and historic value, the garden may actually have been designed by a well known garden designer) the actual cost of your garden increases dramatically.
This value should be added to house values not subtracted from comparative house valuation, but with hugely inflated house prices this would be difficult to sell to potential home buyers, particularly at this moment in
It would be great to hear from others on the LJN as to their thoughts or experience in this and thus actually produce a more detailed and realistic valuation system for gardens.
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