How and Why Landscaping Increases your Home Value
It’s more than just a nice patch of grass here—or a rock pathway there. The landscaping around your home is about aesthetics, curb appeal, ambiance. Ultimately, it’s about the value of the home itself.
That’s right: landscaping your home can increase its resale value tremendously. But why does this happen, and if so, how can you boost the value of your own home through landscaping? Here’s exactly what you’ll need to know:
Let’s start by defining landscaping. In essence, landscaping is the practice of molding your environment in an aesthetically pleasing way. Landscaping is the difference between a wild lawn and a mowed lawn. The difference between an undefined pathway and a stone path leading to your door. If your home is the steak, the landscaping can often be the sizzle.
But landscaping is also more than that. According to Turf Magazine, a $150,000 home with no landscaping can be worth some $8,000-$16,000 less than a home with landscaping. That’s over a 10% increase in resale value—in some areas, as high as 12%.
Don’t leave that kind of resale value on the table. Pay attention to your landscaping to boost the value of your home—not to mention your enjoyment while you still live in it.
Step One: The Overall Aesthetic of Your Landscaping
In the research quoted by Turf Magazine, it was found that even tidy, minimalistic landscaping could sometimes not have the boosting effects of truly great landscaping. That means it’s important to pay attention to the overall aesthetic of your landscaping and what it means for your home’s overall “curb appeal.” Here are a few variables to consider:
- Outdoor living areas. Gardens, decks, and outdoor gathering areas can be considered part of your home’s overall landscape. Do you have them? Or is your home essentially a box planted in the middle of a field? Cultivating outdoor living areas will boost the perceived “living space” of a home, which in turn increases its value.
- Big-time features. A well-groomed lawn is a great thing. But is it everything? Curb appeal is all about that “wow” factor, and let’s face it—it’s not always easy to accomplish. But having exquisitely curated landscaping with evergreen plants and fantastic features can do a lot to change the perceived value of a house.
- Harmony and beauty. It’s great to have lots of big-time features in a landscape. But do they fit together? Does the overall area flow the way the land should? Do the right colors “pop,” or do they clash? Does the environment cover up the quality of the house? While a great landscape should stand out, it should also complement what’s going on with the home itself if you’re ever going to increase the resale value of that house.
Step Two: Design
Effective design is at the center of what makes a landscape work. It’s important to get a sense of what your land is like, including the surrounding areas and the context of the neighborhood. After that, you might want to consult a professional who can give you mockups and even blueprints for how your landscaping should look.
Sound too expensive? There are always affordable alternatives here. Even trying a risk-free phone call with a landscaping company can give you an idea of the kind of services they offer. You should also weigh whether you want a complete redesign or want your home’s landscaping maintained until you decide what to do with it. If you’re not selling your home right away, there’s no rush—you can always change the landscaping ahead of a sale to get the most possible value out of it.
Here are a few other questions to ask while you consider designs:
- What natural parts of your landscape are the most important to keep?
- What are the logistical barriers that block many of your ambitions when it comes to trying something new, such as an outdoor living area? How much might it cost to remove those barriers?
- What kind of costs can you expect to see if you take on a major project rather than a moderately ambitious landscaping plan? Is it worth shopping around or do you want the very best landscapers for the dollar?
Step Three: Setting the Foundation
What’s the foundation for a landscape that increases your home’s value? It needs to go beyond basic mowing and maintenance. You have to ask what makes your landscape unique—and how it adds to the overall experience of living in your home. Your answer will be your landscape’s natural strength. You’ll want to highlight this in the landscaping itself.
How do you do it? Set the foundation the right way. Think about what you want to see in your landscape, including:
- Pathways, bridges, and pond settings
- Garden areas
- Outdoor kitchens
- Outdoor fire pits and living areas
- Barbecue pits
You don’t have to have all of these bells and whistles to increase the resale value of your home. But it is important to acknowledge that these investments can not only improve your home life while you live in that house, but can ultimately add up to increased resale when it comes time to move. And that takes us to our final step:
Step Four: Perform the Cost Analysis
It may seem like a lot of money to invest in landscaping. That’s especially true if you invest in an outdoor living area or an outdoor kitchen. But when you can improve the resale value of a $300,000 home by potentially up to 12%, you can also view your efforts to improve your home landscaping as an investment.
True: landscaping is sometimes more of an art than a science. There’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup every penny of the investment you make in your landscaping. But if you have a good idea that an addition to your home can be tremendously valuable—and it means a lot to you while you live there—then that’s the kind of investment that you can enjoy every single day.