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Adding value to your property with a little curb appeal fit for a B & B

Fri, Apr 16th, 2010
Posted in Home & Garden

Does your home attract the right kind of attention?

Heath Mensink, owner of Mensink Landscaping out of Preston, Minn., feels that "the curb appeal" makes a difference.

With over 20 years of experience, Heath has encountered a number of opportunities to increase property values. Realtors often comment on the difference, whether focusing on the maintenance and care of a thick, green and robust lawn, or creating a recreation area for entertaining family and friends, landscape enhancements can perpetuate increased housing values.

According to Heath, the typical investment for homeowners with a landscaping project varies in range from $3,000 to $12,000.

The cost of a typical perimeter of shrubs and rock or mulch can range $3,000 to $4,000. Retaining walls can also add curb appeal, but costs do vary with the volume of materials and labor involved in the project.

When homeowners look at investments in recreations areas such as patios, fire pits and outdoor kitchens, the costs can range from $8,000 to $12,000.

While some homeowners may be concerned with cost, a beautifully landscaped home can be a deal-maker with prospective buyers.

Heath certainly keeps busy with Mensink Landscaping providing a wide range of services, such as lawn fertilization and weed control, pruning and trimming, and a long list of landscaping design and installation options.

What most contractors appreciate about their work is the opportunity to have people see the end result and comment on a job well done.

Heath is particularly proud of one of the most involved landscaping projects he has managed in the past few years.

Taking a road trip down Highway 16, travelers will want to keep their eyes open for a blue highway sign that says "Inn and Sacred Clay Farm." Following the signs down winding roads just past the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fish hatchery, up in the hills and bluffs surrounding the Root River, stands "a graceful four-story post-and-beam structure in a stunning, yet peaceful, country" as noted in tourism advertisements promoting the impressive gargantuan Bed & Breakfast.

While Lanesboro has been recognized as the "Bed & Breakfast Capital of Minnesota," there is one other title that could easily accompany any of these tranquil masterpieces.

If "Landscape Capital of Minnesota" were a notable distinction, the Bed & Breakfast community of Lanesboro would rank among the best.

Homeowners looking for ideas can simply do some "Sunday driving" and take a window tour of these weekend getaways, taking note of what can dramatically increase property values.

On the outskirts of Lanesboro, the Inn and Sacred Clay Farm stands alone in many ways, including the "wow factor" of their landscaping.

Starting back in 2004, Fred and Sandy Kiel contracted Mensink Landscaping to begin a project that would span over two years, involving a massive amount of materials and sub-contracted talents from all spectrums.

With over 24 weeks involving upwards of 1,500 man hours dedicated to installing 453 tons of limestone boulders, 34 tons of sand, 635 years of fill dirt, 45 yards of hardwood bark, 2,600 square feet of brick pavers, 24 deciduous trees, seven evergreen trees, nine ornamental treets, 67 deciduous shrubs, 42 evergreen shrubs, 225 perennials, 163 ground covers and 45 vines, it's no wonder this massive undertaking totaled in excess of $150,000.

According to Sandy Kiel, owner of the Inn and Sacred Clay Farm, they have hosted a few small weddings in this picturesque piece of rural Lanesboro.

Standing on the second level of the wrap-around porch of the four-story home, guests of the famous B & B have commented on the view, especially admiring the landscaped surroundings.

With tens of thousands of tourists visiting the historic Lanesboro community throughout the year, man-made landscape creations compliment an already majestic natural beauty.

Heath indicated it is important for homeowners to be aware of climate zones, shading, sunlight, pruning, and amount of water needed for proper care of shrubs, trees and plants selected and installed in any landscape design.

While a variety of home improvement television programs highlight ways to increase real estate property values, homeowners in Fillmore County can take a stroll by almost any Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Bluff Country and discover ways to make the most of their "curb appeal."

See more photos on page 6 of this section.

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