Does Landscaping Increase Your Property Value?
by Cam Merritt, Demand Media
Landscaping can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your property. In fact, it is one of the few home improvements you can make that not only adds value immediately, but also increases in value as the years go by; while interior decor and design concepts regularly go out of style and mechanical systems wear down, plants grow fuller and more robust as the years go by.
A review of research by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, found that a well-landscaped home had a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. That advantage ranged from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.
Niemera’s research makes clear that there’s more to landscaping than sticking some flowers and a couple shrubs in the ground. The number-one thing that buyers are looking for in landscaping is a sophisticated design. Close behind is plant size and maturity. A lesser factor, but one still worth considering, is the diversity of plant life within the landscaping design.
According to BobVila.com, the website of the original host of TV’s “This Old House,” the biggest landscaping mistake that homeowners make is not having a coherent plan. They decide to put a tree in, and then a few years later add some flower beds, then maybe put in some shrubs and another tree. A landscape that’s assembled piecemeal looks disorganized, and that turns buyers off. Come up with a plan before you do any landscaping. Even if you don’t have–or won’t spend–the money to hire a landscape designer, at least draw up a master plan for your yard and stick to it. According to “Money” magazine, even an amateur can get a professional-looking landscape for $500 to $3,000 worth of plants and materials if she’s willing to do the work.
A landscape full of large, mature plants is obviously one that has been carefully tended to over the years, and that sends a signal to buyers. According to real estate agent Tony Giacalone, in the “Boston Globe,” “that’s a good indication that they’ve taken care of the inside of the house as well.”
Having a long-term landscaping plan is great if you’re in the house for the long term. If you plan to sell within a year, you can take several immediate steps to dress up your landscape and boost your selling price. “Money” magazine suggests cutting fresh edges around your planting beds; having a sharp, well-defined edge between grass and mulch or dirt gives the landscape a professional look. Also begin regular fertilizer treatments on your lawn; you want potential buyers to see a lush carpet, not a patchwork quilt. And add splashes of color with flowers; pick up some colorful annuals for a few dollars apiece, and be willing to invest a few hundred dollars in larger perennials and shrubs, so that your yard doesn’t look as if you just started working on it—even if you did.