While it might sound as a surprise to you, planting larger almost mature trees or almost mature shrubs is in the long run often cheaper than planting those 6 footers from Home Depot. I’m talking about a tree that is more than 20 feet tall or a shrub that is over 10 feet tall. You might spend $500 for the larger tree and another $500 to have it transported to your home and planted by a landscaper.
Now do the math. A large tree will add $1000 to $3000 value to the selling price for your home. The small trees add nothing. A mature looking landscape can represent 10% to over 25% of the value of your home. Mature looking landscaping makes your home more valuable. Since the average stay in one house these days is about 7 years, and it takes 20 years for that six foot tree to start adding value to your landscape, it makes more sense to go for the bigger plants.
Here is a strategy you might not have contemplated in finding large trees and shrubs for your landscape. Many nurseries that specialize in trees and shrubs will, from time to time, have a problem. They will have a few trees and/or shrubs that for no special reason have not sold for a number of years and just sit in their growing area getting bigger and bigger. As those plants get bigger, they are more difficult to sell. You can find some really fantastic bargains in large trees or shrubs if you are willing to pay for the digging, transport, and planting of these trees from the back of the nursery’s growing area. I know someone who paid only $50 for a 22 foot tall blue spruce that the nursery had been unable to sell. It cost about $1000 to get it from the nursery and planted in the yard, but that tree offered instant landscape value probably over $3000; not a bad investment.