Thursday, December 7, 2017

Landscaping Your Modular or Mobile Home

If you own a mobile or modular home, you know the advantages of buying and living in one.

They're affordable, energy efficient, and well-designed for today's lifestyle.

When it's time to sell, you'll face the same challenges owners of conventional homes face. Your home has to look good from the outside as well as the inside.

But landscaping around a home in a mobile home park is not like landscaping a site-built, two-story Colonial on a one-acre lot.

For one thing, the land under the home is probably leased -- not sold with the home -- and the lot is probably small. The park will likely have restrictions on what you can and cannot do on the property.

But if your single wide or doublewide is situated on a generously-sized lot you own instead of on common ground, you can take on landscaping projects with a larger scope. Either way, curb appeal is just as important as when a conventional home goes on the market.

The Appeal of Mobiles  

Because its underpinnings are concealed nicely and its landscape has matured, 
this mobile home looks more like a conventional house  Photo: MobileHomeLiving.com
People buy manufactured homes for different reasons. The most common one is economics. Single folks, young couples, retirees, and anyone tired of renting a house or apartment, are more able to become homeowners than if they went shopping for a conventionally constructed home. Mobiles are priced low because they are constructed in one-fifth the time and at half the cost of site-built homes. The builders don't have to hassle with weather delays and the entire building process is more efficient.

Some people buy mobiles when they learn that manufactured housing assembled in a controlled, factory environment uses fewer materials and generates 35% to 40% less waste than comparable site-built units. Yes, mobiles are "greener."

Unique Landscape Challenges

For a mobile home to look competitive in the real estate market, it needs to look, well, not too mobile. In other words, its wheels and axles, if they are still in place, need to be hidden. Make your skirting look as strong and straight as possible. The right skirting can make a manufactured home look more permanent and valuable.

If you plant shrubs near the skirting allow enough room so things like ductwork and plumbing can be reached. Sometimes maintenance people, or you, need to crawl under your house.

Another spot that needs cosmetics is the hitch. If it is not removable, can you conceal it with fencing, lattice, or a planting that covers it? Some people cluster a grouping of container plants or a raised bed built of blocks around the hitch.

Here is an example of a sidewalk extension using concrete pavers. You can make
an entrance garden wall from concrete blocks. The wall leads your eye
to the front door. Photo: MobileHomeLiving
Mobiles tend to look boxier than conventional homes. Having a porch, patio, deck or other "bump-out" helps to break up those boxy lines. But shrubs, either in the ground or in large planters, are another way to help soften the straight lines of your home and anchor it to the surrounding land.

If the space that surrounds your home is small, don't consider it a deal-breaker for buyers. Many will welcome a tiny lot for its low maintenance appeal. If privacy is an issue, lattice panels or 4- to 6-foot fencing might be your best option. It may not need to be a solid, continuous fence, since the illusion of privacy can be enough to create the sense of a private, outdoor space.

Make Your Entrance Important 

A common mistake homeowners make when they design their front landscape areas is to put all the interesting plants in the wrong location. When you're deciding what to grow where, add color and texture where you want people to look: your front entrance.   

Why? Because a well-designed front garden will make visitors and buyers feel welcome and curious about what's inside.

Your entrance area doesn't have to be large or extravagant. In fact, it should be simple but interesting. Incorporate some curved lines when you outline a bed. Aim for or a clean-looking border for a raised garden by using concrete blocks. Use an uncomplicated color scheme when you select shrubs and flowering plants.    


This retaining wall allowed the homeowner to hide skirting and give the look of a solid foundation. The gravel mulch,
mature shrubs, solar lights and colorful annuals are all easy to care for. Photo: MobileHomePartsStore.com

Containers are perfect for entrance gardens because you can easily maintain them while your home is for sale. If you have existing beds, you can add potted plants to these gardens to keep them looking colorful no matter what the season.

When you choose containers that match each other, they look cohesive.
Installation and upkeep are easier. And you can take "your garden"
with you when you move. Photo: MobileHomeLiving.com
"Often the idea of mixing containers into gardening is not even considered. If you have potted plants, chances are they're on your porch or patio, but blending those into the landscape design is quick, easy and makes landscaping on a budget simple," writes Kalley Y. on The Clayton Blog.

Typically, homeowners can get a 100% ROI on the money spent on a home's curb appeal. So it makes sense that any improvements you can make to your modular or mobile home's landscape is money well spent.

Install Hardscape

Statistics say that the landscaping industry is set to experience an estimated 5.9% annual growth through 2019.

If you are beautifying your yard to improve your home's value, adding hardscaping is one easy way to do it. When you add things like wide steps and a landing, or a deck, or a concrete path, or a patio to your outdoor space, it's as good as adding actual square footage in the eyes of most buyers.

Concrete pavers surrounded by natural rock give this
winding path its personality. Photo: StyleEstate
Hardscape has the advantage of being quick to install, whether it's DIY or a professional job. Hardscape looks good from Day 1. You don't have to wait for it to grow the way you would for a flower bed or tree!

Build An Entertainment Spot

Another type of outdoor home improvement that can bring in significant ROI is creating an entertainment space.

A fire pit is the perfect way to start any entertainment space, It also makes an ideal centerpiece in the landscape.

There are countless ways to construct your own fire pit, but consulting a professional can often produce luxurious results that yield a higher ROI.

Stage your entertainment spot with some matching outdoor chairs to make it look more inviting. If you have a view, capitalize on that by putting seating where people can enjoy it.

Unless security is a problem, an outdoor dining area can be staged with table, chairs, benches, plants, lighting, and an outdoor grill. When they are shopping for a new home, buyers like to envision how they will entertain.

Favorite Tips 

A  fire pit is a magnet to people touring your property. Make it even
more special by adding seating and colorful cushions. Photo: BHG
When you add paths, make them direct people around your property so they can appreciate it from every angle.

Try to have some unusual elements in your landscape, some surprises for visitors, like a small fountain, a collection of one kind of potted plant, a jumbo shrub in a half barrel planter, or a birdbath tucked into a corner of your lot. You don't want all the same plants and landscape features that all your neighbors have. 

Choose the plants that front your skirting to be ones that keep their leaves all year long. No bare branches allowed up close to your home!  

Plant what thrives in your region of the country. Don't try to grow desert-dwelling cactus in states with humid summers. Don't try to grow heat-loving tropicals in northern states with long winters. 

Add color in broad sweeps. Avoid the polka dot effect of spreading various flowering plants in beds scattered across your property. Help people focus on your home. That's  what you are selling. Also, a complicated landscape looks like hard work to buyers who don't enjoy yard work.  

Finally, leave some areas of your yard as places to rest the eye. You can count on mulch, gravel, groundcover plants, or whatever kind of grass does well where you live, to create areas that are restful and easy to keep looking good year 'round. 

It's true that manufactured homes are often harder to renovate inside, but landscaping is a sound investment and can work wonders to enhance the best features and aesthetics of your modular or mobile home.

If you are selling any kind of home, you can get more tips on staging it in my $4.99 eBooks. Download and start staging your way to a more profitable sale today.

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