Backyard Investment

Get to know your backyard.  Get the most out of your private outdoor living space.

Realtors suggest spending 10% of your home value on your backyard.

Back Yard Investment

From the Washington Post:

While meeting with clients recently to discuss preparing their home to sell, the topic of landscaping came up.

They asked me:

• “What is the return on our investment for improving the landscaping around our house before listing the home for sale?”

• “Will we get more money for the house if we improve the yard and, if so, how much more will we get?”

• “How much should we spend on landscaping to maximize our return on investment?”

Of course, landscaping adds value to your home.  Who hasn’t heard about the value of curb appeal?  HGTV has pound that into our heads.

As a real estate agent, I have found that most homebuyers are more excited about touring a home that looks inviting on the outside than one that is sad and dreary, unless they were focused on buying a fixer-upper.

Similarly, you would probably run from a first date who showed up disheveled and wilted.  Hopefully, you wouldn’t be looking for a fixer-upper in this scenario.

Yet I struggled to quantify an exact return on investment for my clients.   So I set out to find a definitive answer.

“I have been asked about this multiple times,” said John Gidding, host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and Logo TV’s “Secret Guide to Fabulous” in response to my question about the return on investment of landscaping.

“I have always heard the number 150 percent,” Gidding said in a recent phone interview.  “But to me that is conservative.  On a ‘Curb Appeal’ project, I put in $20,000 and the sellers got $200,000 more than they had paid for the house just a year prior.  The return was astonishing.”

I certainly wasn’t going to guarantee my clients a 1,000 percent return on their investment in landscaping.

“I would not say that every $20,000 gets you $200,000,” Gidding agreed.  “It depends on if you are investing your money well.  The best strategy is to research the architectural style of your home and create a landscaping plan that matches.”

What if you don’t have $20,000 to invest in landscaping?

“In terms of dollar amount, the standard suggested is to invest 10 percent of the value of your home in landscaping.  That is a general guideline,” said Erik Shorb, co-owner along with his two brothers of American Plant, a Bethesda-based nursery and landscaping company.

“If you don’t have that kind of money to invest, at the minimum I would recommend adding color with annuals, perennials, or seasonal flowering shrubs; mulching; edging; removing weeds; and getting the grass as green and full as possible,” Shorb said.  “Those are the quick and inexpensive fixes.”

Shorb offered an even cheaper alternative.   “Hire a mow and blow guy for a few hundred dollars to do a full yard cleanup and plant a few flowering annuals.”

“If you only have a few hundred dollars, paint the front door and get new house numbers.  Improve whatever the eye will see from the street,” Gidding said.

A quick Web search resulted in a medley of statistics on the return on investment of landscaping.   I found numbers ranging from a 100 percent to 1,000 percent ROI on landscaping.  Other Web sites estimated an increase in value on your home from 5 percent to 20 percent.

“I would be throwing darts in the dark if I were to give you an exact return on your investment,” said Shorb.

“If you are looking for a specific number, good luck,” said Gidding.

Does spending more money translate into higher returns?

“Very extensive 
landscaping, while loved and valued by fellow gardeners, can be seen as a negative by buyers who are concerned about the extra maintenance cost and extra work involved,” said Cindy Moses, associate broker of Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland.  “That prize rose garden can be seen as a thorny problem by 
those lacking green thumbs.”

If you are getting your home ready to sell this spring, here are some tips for getting the yard in shape on a budget:

•  Keep the yard weed free – preferably without the use of chemicals. That means getting your hands dirty.

• Add some potted and planted flowering annuals near the front door.

• Mulch and edge the lawn for a clean and tidy appearance.

• Keep the lawn mowed and watered.

Despite not being able to pin down an exact ROI on landscaping, a positive first impression of a home can mean the difference between a buyer driving by or stopping to take a closer look.  Just like the importance of making a good first impression when meeting someone new, with a little attention to the landscaping of your home, you can increase your chances of a better outcome when selling your home.

Source: Jill Chodorov at the Washington Post

People Are Talking!

People are talking about Cleary Bros and here’s what they’re saying!

“I just got a glowing ‘Thank you’ from the homeowner saying it looks great and thanking you that you got it taken care of so quickly.”

Property Manager at Stoneridge Townhouses

“Manuel was here. He turned on and checked the sprinkler system. He is wonderful and probably the best Lead Gardener we have. Please let his boss know that our flowers, shrubs and home owners appreciate his hard work!”

Thank you again for your attention.
Resident at Rinconada Hills

“Dan, thank you for the mulch by the pool.  I was down there this morning to check it all out before the official pool opening tomorrow, and the area around the small lawn and to the right of the gate has been mulched and looks really nice.  Thank you so much.

Also, in walking back to my unit I have to say that the 2 lawns in that common area below my deck are the nicest they’ve ever looked.  They are truly green and full and so well-manicured.  AND the ivy that I was worried about is so nice and full and healthy and growing beautifully all around the complex.”

Thanks for doing such a good job looking out after us.
Resident at Cobblestone Homeowners Association

“Your crews did a great job! I drove by and it looks great!
Please thank your crew for their hard work. Elias was very interested in doing a good job.”

City of Piedmont

Before and After Photos of California Drought


Lake before and after Lake Oroville Getty images
El Dorado Hills Getty Images
Before and After drought picture Getty Images

California looks a bit unfamiliar to residents these days: following historic rainfall, the state’s landscape has bloomed, bringing life to its formerly brown hills dogged by drought. On April 7, California Governor Jerry Brown officially lifted the state’s emergency water provisions, thus declaring an end to a record-breaking drought.

Brown, who’s been particularly critical of President Donald Trump’s climate policies, declared an end to the water restrictions he imposed in January of 2014. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Governor Brown’s statement read. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

Source: Before and After Photos of California Drought | POPSUGAR News

Home Owners Association Landscape Service for the Bay Area

Home Owners Association Landscape Service for the Bay Area

Serving large homeowners associations in the Bay Area since 1987.  Cleary Bros is the leader in HOA service.  Cleary Bros. will help you keep your property beautiful and valuable.  Cleary Bros will help you plan for improvements that work with your budget.  Cleary Bros ha a deep  understanding of the nature of the relationship between homeowner, Board of Directors, Property Manager, and contractor.  Cleary will take care of your communities biggest asset.


Hiring HR Rock Star

Cleary Bros employees

Cleary Bros Team


We are looking for a Spanish and English speaking HR Profesional to help keep our excellent 230 employees Safe, Motivated, and Productive.


Oversee and drive: Staffing, Training, and Accountability.  This non-exempt position is primarily responsible for coordinating the company’s benefits programs, administering policies and procedures, and providing human resources support as assigned; perform related work as required.


The examples of functions listed in this job description are representative, but not necessarily exhaustive, of any one position in this job classification.  Management may assign other functions not listed herein at its sole discretion.

Responsible for all staffing activities (e.g., establishes recruitment plans, develops relationships with recruitment sources, conducts screening and interview processes); serves as the benefits liaison between vendor and employees; ensures legal compliance with all federal, state, and local employment statutes; coordinates the Company safety program (e.g., workers’ compensation, claims, loss run reports, OSHA 300 log); oversees the performance management system (e.g., feedback, discipline, documentation); conducts New Employee Orientation sessions; leads training and development efforts; operates office equipment; addresses employee complaints, grievances, and morale issues; manages various organizational change initiatives; administers policies and procedures; conducts investigations as required; ensures proper entry, storage, and use of employee data (e.g., application, benefits, wages, vacation, sick time); tracks all legally required leaves of absence (e.g., FMLA, ADA); makes recommendations regarding human resources issues; supports the organizational culture that fosters positive employee relations, teamwork, and productivity; manages various budgets (e.g., human resources department, safety, uniforms); coordinates company recognition events; maintains legally-compliant file management procedures (e.g., storage, documentation, destruction); leads meetings; performs follow-up, consultation, and administrative back-up as needed; and provides excellent service (e.g., accurate, complete, and timely) to clients, vendors, and staff in a courteous and efficient manner.

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