The Price of Nature: What Is A Green View Worth?

Right up there with the San Diego Padres, the biggest talk in town this spring is the real estate market. Prices have always been at a premium due to San Diego’s location and weather. But now, they seem completely out of control.

Real estate is one of the few things you can buy that doesn’t drop in value. One of the most important things you can do to increase the value is landscaping. It’s among the few home improvements you can make with a nearly immediate return on investment – and it only gets better as your landscaping matures.

Think about the bathroom or kitchen you remodeled 10 or 15 years ago. It doesn’t look so fresh and exciting anymore, does it?

Your average street or landscaping tree won’t grow to the size of these Giant Sequoias, but they will still provide shade, habitat, oxygen, and fight global warming.

Now walk outside and look at a tree planted the same 10 or 15 years ago, chances are good the eight-foot-tall tree in the 15-gallon pot you bought for $150 might now be 30 or 40 feet tall, and it’s not an exaggeration to consider it priceless. Trying to plant a mature tree from scratch is nearly as complicated as building the house itself, requiring heavy machinery and a lot of planning.

Trees are green in more ways than one

Imagine how bleak and hot this neighborhood would be without the mature street trees. Photo: Jay Mandri/Pixabay

According to the University of Washington, the presence of street trees in a neighborhood increases property values in the entire area up to 15%. The same study looked at the impact of nature in our urban environment in several other ways.

  • Homes near naturalistic parks and open spaces are valued up to 20% higher than similar homes without any proximity (considered more than a half-mile away).
  • Commercial office spaces rent for up to 7% more when they feature high-quality landscapes and plants.
  • Shoppers say in surveys they will spend 9% to 12% more for goods and services in business districts with a high-quality tree canopy.
  • Shoppers also claim they’ll drive further away to shop somewhere with lots of trees and nice landscaping and will spend more time there.

It makes sense if people love having trees and nature around their homes, they’d also want trees and nature around the places they work and shop. With our world just now coming back to life after the coronavirus pandemic turned everything upside down, getting people back into their offices and out in social settings like shopping and entertainment is nearly as big a discussion as San Diego’s crazy home prices.

Take a plant to work

Isn’t this the type of office you feel completely comfortable working in? Photo: Courtesy International WELL Building Institute

Every survey I’ve read about the return-to-work challenge shows most office employees want to spend some or all of their time working from home, including (shameless plug!) our own white paper, The Nature of the Post-Pandemic Workplace. With everything we know about the value of having nature around us, why haven’t more people connected the dots and considered adding more nature in the form of plants in workspaces? In nice climates like San Diego, moving work areas outdoors to pretty patios with plants is also an option.

Good Earth Plant Company hears from more large employers every day about making their offices more appealing to encourage employees to return. They prioritize collaborative workspaces and understand their workspaces need to compete now with home offices in homes with real windows that open, backyard or park views, and the comfort of indoor plants making their environment more comfortable.

Views of nature and plants increase property values and work and at home. These days, sometimes work, and home are the same place! Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pixabay

An additional benefit of plants that doesn’t get mentioned as often as it should is the noise-reduction quality. According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, exterior landscaping can reduce noise levels up to 30%. Moss walls are even better at sound dampening and confer many of the same benefits as living walls and plants in areas not well suited to living plants.

If you cannot plant bushes and trees in the ground, you can get the same effect from smaller trees and evergreen plants in containers. You can use them on patios, decks, along walkways, or nearly anywhere with a solid, safe surface. This is a popular approach among many of Good Earth Plant Company’s clients – and we create beautiful patio spaces if we do say so ourselves.

Our most recent moss wall project. Moss walls and green roofs both provide impressive sound dampening. Photo: Good Earth Plant Company

Our most recent moss wall project. Moss walls and green roofs both provide impressive sound dampening. Photo: Good Earth Plant Company

PS – If you really want to go big with noise reduction, a green roof can dampen noise significantly. We know this firsthand. The green roof on top of the Good Earth Plant Company World Headquarters prevents us from hearing a constant stream of aircraft from our location under the Montgomery Field municipal airport flight path.

Nature’s economic value is undeniable. Whether it’s priceless street trees or beautiful container plants improving indoor workspaces, the benefits are many. Talk to us at Good Earth Plant Company about how we can bring value to the places you live, work, and play! Here’s how to get in touch.