Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is unfortunate because anytime you even sneeze at a tree in your yard, it’s basically going to cost money. The cost of managing the trees around your home or in your yard depends on factors that you may not even realize—such as the type of tree or where it’s located on your property. The cost can also depend on whether you hire an arborist or a tree specialist, and the kind of equipment they need to use. The good news is, most places offer a free, on-site estimate. Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect.
Removing a Tree
The most expensive situation is going to be removing a tree. It means cutting it down one piece at a time, hauling it all away and the extra cost of grinding down or removing the stump. Depending on the tree, it’s height, and where it’s located, you would pay between a few hundred or over a thousand dollars.
Worst case scenario, you have a tall, hardwood tree growing close to a house or a hard to reach place or near power lines, and it needs to come down. You are looking at the top end of price.
After the tree is brought down, it can be hauled away, chipped, or cut for firewood, although sometimes at an extra cost.
Pruning a Tree
Sometimes a tree can be pruned instead of being removed. This option definitely costs less, but is still dependent on the same factors as removal. A hardwood tree, for example, is always more expensive to touch and even just pruning a tall oak, for example, will run around $500.
If your troubled tree is touching the power lines you will need to contact your utilities provider, but in this instance, they will trim the tree for free.
Surprise! The removal of the stump is not included! Even in cases of full removal, the stump will need ground down or dug out and it is an additional cost. Is often an extra $50 to $400 depending on its depth and solidity.
Fallen or Dead Trees
Finally, it gets cheaper. If your tree is dead or already fallen (hopefully not on anything important), it will be easier to haul away. Expect this service to run between $75 and $150.
If you feel like you can tackle your tree on your own, you can get an extendable pruner for $30 and go to town. At your local hardware center, you could also rent a pruner, or a stump grinder. If you decide to do it on your own, make sure to schedule it in late fall or winter to minimize the impact on the growing cycle of the tree.
As with every service you hire, make sure the company is reputable, licensed and knowledgeable. Always check references. When dealing with trees, you will also want to make sure to have someone come out and give you a quote in writing. If you only get a quote over the phone or verbally, the price will be subject to change—sometimes drastically. But in the case of trees, money spent managing prevents more money spent on disasters.
It’s not the outside appearance, it’s the inside that counts. Except when it comes to your house. Even if you’ve got Italian carrera marble bathrooms and a custom-built kitchen upgrade, potential buyers see an ugly façade and won’t manage to click on the inside photos. Even if your home isn’t on the market, you’re that house, the one with the cringe moniker or the butt of neighborhood jokes. Or even. . . dum dum dum dum . . the one bringing all the property values down.
For everything you’ve done on the inside, it’s time to take a few steps back and look at the outside. No matter your budget, there are things you can do to improve the curb appeal of your home and make another house on your street the butt of all the neighborhood jokes.
The first step in any budget is to give your yard a great trim—weed eat, mow, and freshen any beds with flowers, perennials or even just a fresh layer of mulch. For one afternoon and under a hundred dollars you can make your yard and exterior fresh and neat. A little more time and planning, and you can highlight architectural features of your exterior with window-boxes or hanging ferns. Nothing is more appealing than a front porch with lush ferns. Another cheap option to freshen up your exterior is to paint your front door. Pick a bold color that complements the rest of your exterior. For about the same amount of money you can replace your mailbox and house numbers. Other cheap ways to freshen up your exterior are by adding a wreath, power-washing your driveway and siding, or change out your door handles.
Once you decide to put some money and time into your exterior, there’s a wide range of options—both DIY and professional. You can start investing in your landscaping—professional landscaping design, sprinkler maintenance, new plants or simply hiring consistent lawn care. A couple hundred dollars will also replace your lighting, paint trim and shutters, freshen gutters and add a porch swing or furniture, reseal your driveway, add slate tile in small concrete areas in the front, fence in the garbage cans or any visible AC units.
It’s always easy to think a renovation becomes easier with more money, but with more options comes more decisions. Even on the most expansive budgets, it’s important to focus on what brings the most value—whether that value is joy or ROI. For a larger budget there are all sorts of options—retaining walls, patios, more complicated landscaping and lighting schemes. You can also invest in changing the entire exterior of the home, whether by painting, replacing siding or adding stone veneer. New porches, decks, garage doors, and windows are also options, as well as adding decorative architectural pieces that fit with the overall design of your home. Really the sky is the limit. You can spend thousands in irrigation, sod, water features, or privacy fencing.
Just remember, whomever you decide to work with, at whatever budget, make sure you check insurance, licenses and references to ensure you are working with a reputable company and don’t come up short in the end. With a little time and planning, at whatever budget, you can make changes to benefit the curb appeal of your home.