Posts Tagged "ROI"

Placing a Value on Design

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Placing a Value on Design

Design fundamentally has two elements – Form and Function. Function is the tangible aspects. What is it? What can I do with it? It’s easy to compare apples to oranges, see what is demanded across a population, and then ultimately put a price tag on what people are willing to pay for it. A deck for a deck, a shade structure for a shade structure, etc… Form, however, is much more intangible. It’s a subjective feeling about the creation. Is it beautiful? How do I feel in it? When a Landscape Designer puts a price on their work, they are putting a valuation on their own time and projecting that out as a fixed bid estimate of their total expected time expenditure. But how do we account for the value of the form, not just the function? For that, we look to secondhand sales to find out.

In 1999, a study conducted by Clemson University looked to quantify the effect of different quality landscaping improvements on the ultimate home sale price. They studied the effect that different properties in a wide variety of locations and conditions sold for using landscape quality as the variable. Consequently, what they found was that with all other variables accounted for, an excellently landscaped property could fetch up to 14 to 17% more at sale then one with landscaping rated as poor. In Denver today, that’s equivalent to $70,000 more for the average home!

Turn those drive-bys into walk-throughs, get more bids, and sell for more.

There is a cost to the investment of labor and materials to make the jump from poor to excellent, but the benefits will still far outweigh the costs. Rarely do our residential landscaping projects in Denver cost even 10% of the value of the home. Numbers crunched, that’s up to a $29,000 instant profit with the sale of your average Denver home.

When looking at your outdoor spaces don’t be afraid of the price tag. The money is being invested as equity into the home with a buffer of profit to dream big and create a space you will love. Regardless, he best way to maximize the value of landscape designing is to plan ahead. Significantly, moving into a new place is the perfect time to start planning your outdoor spaces. Undoubtedly, a more established landscape is worth more to the property and you get to thoroughly enjoy it while you live there.

Outdoor lighting, good yard maintenance, and well-placed trees will always pay for themselves in the end. Designing for varietal leisure spaces, noise reduction, visual barriers, creating a cohesive aesthetic with the architecture, crafting a clean outdoor look that makes the house feel cared for – these are some of the more subtle design challenges that people will subconsciously pay top dollar for.

Sustainable Design

None of this, however, accounts for the added benefit energy and water savings that a sustainably designed plan provides for the home. Not only do you create a curb appeal that makes you proud of where you live and an outdoor space that makes your home feel bigger and more versatile, but everyday utility and maintenance costs can be drastically reduced ultimately paying for the improvements themselves.

Tannenbaum Design Group, for these reasons, is proud to announce a new collaboration with GreenSpot Real Estate. As a landscape designer, we are now offering FREE customized designs with any Buyers or Sellers Agency Listing agreement with the purchase or sale of any home. We want to reinvent the way the home sale industry works by adding more value back into your homes than is paid in the commission. As a seller you profit! As a buyer you get to buy a house you like and turn it into a home you love, for free! What is your sister’s college roommate’s broker friend giving you for the cost of that commission? If you do the math, it makes no sense to go anywhere else.

Tannenbaum Design Group | Landscape Architecture and Outdoor Design | Placing a Value on Design

Date: Jul 23, 2018
AUTHOR: tbaumdesign
Comments: 1

The Green Roof Initiative

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The Green Roof Initiative


Obviously as designers of green roofs, we are very happy about the Green Roof Initiative being passed this week. But more so, the environmental and energy efficiency benefits of green roofs make for a no-brainer. For those who do not know, the Green Roof Initiative (Ordinance 300) mandates, “every building, building addition, and any roof replacement of a building, with a gross floor area of 25,000 square feet or greater, constructed after January 1, 2018, shall include a green roof or combination of green roof and solar energy collection.” Specifically, the total coverage of rooftop requirements increases 10 percent every 50,000 square feet. This eventually caps at buildings of 200,000 square feet or more with 60 percent of the roof requiring coverage by gardens or solar panels.


So, let’s discuss the benefits of green roofs, first, from an environmental perspective. Green roofs provide air quality benefits to the city by filtering particulates from the air in the same manner all green space does. They help to mitigate the effects of urbanization on water quality, often dramatically. Green roofs can do this by filtering, absorbing and retaining rainfall. And ultimately, from a nonhuman-centric mindset, the green roofs restore biodiversity to the urban environment. This is done by returning green space habitats to the local ecosystem.

Economic Impacts

So now let’s discuss the benefits from an economic perspective. Denver’s status, noted in a 2014 study by Climate Central, found the city has the third-greatest urban heat island effect of any American city. An effect partially produced by the radiating of heat off rooftops and pavements. The only American cities that ranked higher are Las Vegas, Nevada and Albuquerque, New Mexico. (The urban heat island effect is the raising of the temperature in the urban environment in comparison to the surrounding areas).

Impacts on Energy Consumption

In the summers, by implementing green roofs on the macro level, we can significantly reduce the overall heat index and our energy consumption used to cool buildings. Urban heat islands are also affected by the reflection of the sun’s rays off the sides of buildings, particularly glass buildings. The effect can be so intense that it can actually scorch trees and grass. A problem ultimately, solvable with more use of green walls. But we’ll leave that initiative for another day, as we wait for green wall innovation to catch up and make more economic sense.

On the micro, per building level, green roofs also work to insulate structures. They’re able to do so by reducing the amount of heat entering a structure in the summers. They can then hold on to artificial heat from the inside in the winters. In addition, the green roof protects the top of the structure from hail damage and wear from the intensity of the sun. This ultimately reduces repair and maintenance costs of the roof when compared to a standard roof. From an energy perspective alone, green roofs have been found to provide a return on investment. Usually within five or six years in many cases.

And finally, from a social and psychological level, green roofs and green spaces in general, provide a mental health benefit. This is called Biophillia. Those who get to enjoy the new view of nature have been shown to experience therapeutic benefits.


A green roof has a vast range of functional opportunity as well though. Green roofs can be made into community gardens, social spaces, recreational areas, and even meeting spaces in an outdoor setting. The initiative doesn’t have to be looked at solely as a dysfunctional space at higher cost. But rather an opportunity, with the required addition of the structural integrity, to turn the roof into a usable space.

Unlike many environmental initiatives, this benefit doesn’t come from taxes at all. This is because the cost is up to the building owner who, in the end, is saved money by energy savings. The only people who don’t benefit from this proposal are large scale developers who simply want to build as much, as quickly, and as cheaply as possible to sell. That’s a mindset that hardly represents the best interest of the people of Denver, the ultimate consumer.


Tannenbaum Design Group | Landscape Architecture and Outdoor Design | The Green Roof Initiative

Date: Nov 14, 2017
AUTHOR: tbaumdesign
Comments: 2