First lets talk about the value of a water feature. The true value can be very difficult to quantify as it’s similar to other forms of art. The value is not the sum of the individual components (cost of the canvas and paint), it’s in how you use the materials to create an emotional experience to connect with viewers. But not everyone feels this way and they want to see numbers, data or reports on how their investment will appreciate over time. So, lets get into some opinions from third parties (this is important because they have no financial tie to water feature design, installation or maintenance).
Will a water feature add to the value of your home?
Possibly not, says John Bredemeyer, spokesman for The Appraisal Institute, an organization of industry professionals. In higher-end neighborhoods it could boost your home’s value to the top price range, since expensive or elaborate landscaping is the norm.. But at the lower end of the market, some buyers may see a water feature as extra work or an added expense due to maintenance. Or they may prefer using the outdoor space for a large play set for their children, or a big lawn.
This completely makes sense. We’ve seen this firsthand for years, but children (people in generally really) are drawn to water, splashing in the bath, running through the sprinkler, swimming in pools, kids love water! Think about your childhood…didn’t you always want to go over to your friends house that had a pool? Exactly.
A pond can provide a space for learning how to snorkel (with fish too) and it can also be the starting place for kids to understand and appreciate nature and the environment. In our opinion, a water feature is a much better investment than a swimming pool, especially in Michigan, since our summer is limited.
Speaking of swimming pools…swimming pools are one of those features that can be both functional and aesthetic and can add value — or detract — depending on the type of pool and type of home buyer or owner.
A 2004 National Association of Realtors’ study of home sales in the Philadelphia area from 1996 to 2003 found in-ground pools added 8% to the sales price of home. However, for a pool to add value to a property, it has to be custom-made and not a prefabricated pool that can be found in any backyard. A basic customized concrete pool can cost $60,000 to $80,000. Throw in a hot tub and water feature, such as a waterfall, and you could spend well into the six digits. The problem is that some home buyers want nothing to do with a pool and will steer clear of houses with one — regardless of whether it is custom-made or prefabricated. So a pool actually could lower the value of your property in some people’s eyes. What’s interesting is that pool sales are still strong. They’ve seen a dip like everything else in recent years but overall pools are still being installed despite the information that they can detract potential buyers. Why?
Because the customers value them and the price of the pool is irrelevant compared to the experience and the years of enjoyment and memories that the family will have from their own backyard resort.
For the do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner, it can be confusing to know where to start. Homeowners should consider the following questions: What remodeling project will give you the most value impact for prospective buyers? What is the price range for remodeling and addition projects?
According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value Report 2007,” the national mid-range average for a deck addition was more than $10,300; a mid-range kitchen remodel (major) was more than $55,500; and a sun room addition was nearly $70,000.
A much less expensive alternative is to add a water feature to enhance your backyard landscape. Water features not only add aesthetics to a yard and home but also provide a calming, serene and eco-friendly environment that everyone can enjoy.
“Landscaping and the appearance of your yard is a critical point to making your home stand out in today’s market,” said Mark Munley, vice president of sales and marketing for Firestone Specialty Products. “You don’t have to be discouraged by today’s high remodeling costs because something simple, such as installing a backyard water feature, is easy, cost efficient, and can provide you with a higher resale value.”
This is great information! The installation of a small water feature will help your home stand out in front of the competition. Backyard water features, like ponds and waterfalls, go a long way toward adding monetary value to your home. But there’s an added benefit: homeowners who spend time enjoying these man-made pieces of nature can boost their mental health, too. Imagine returning to your home from a long day at work and relaxing in your nature-inspired backyard, complete with a rippling stream that flows into a pond. Sounds peaceful, doesn’t it? Well, it can add more than value and aesthetics to your yard.
According to a recent study on “green exercise,” spending as little as five minutes in the presence of nature, can improve self-esteem and mood. Destinations with water offer even greater benefits. The study by Jo Barton and Jules Pretty analyzed data on 1,252 people from 10 prior British studies. Green exercise is the combination of physical activity and nature. Taking a walk, practicing yoga, or gardening near a fish or wildlife pond are among the activities that can influence feelings of happiness, appreciating the moment and coping with stressful situations, researchers noted.
Forget about the return on your investment. We all need a break from the day to day grind; this is priceless. So if you want to increase the value of your home, or create a serene environment that will increase the quality of your life, a water feature is the answer.