Even though the real estate market is booming and home prices are already at record highs, it can’t hurt to maximize the value of your property, especially if you’re considering putting it up for sale. One way to add value to your home is by investing in a well-chosen landscaping project. Choose an update that will impress potential buyers and entice them to pay a little more to close the deal.
“When it comes to getting the best price for your home, the power of landscaping to increase your home’s value cannot be overlooked,” says Beatrice de Jong, broker and consumer trends expert for Opendoor. “First impressions are everything, and curb appeal is what potential buyers notice first…It will signal to buyers that they can expect the same from the interior and bones of the house.”
Additionally, data repeatedly shows that curb appeal, in the form of attractive landscaping, goes a long way. Sellers can get anywhere from 5% to 12% more value for their home (depending on where the property is located) with a well-maintained landscape, adds de Jong. Here are 10 landscaping projects that industry experts say are worth the investment to increase your home’s value.
1. Plant trees.
One word: trees. Planting trees is the one landscaping project that almost every expert recommends to increase a home’s value.
“Trees can add up to $9,000 to your home’s value, but you should grow them some distance from the septic system, driveways and the house itself to prevent any potential interference,” suggests Bryan McKenzie, co-founder of Bumper Crop Times. “Otherwise, the value of your home could be reduced as buyers can expect expensive problems.”
Tree placement is key due to potential root damage to the home’s foundation, falling branches or other issues. However, wisely placed trees have consistently proven to be a smart investment, says Dan Beaulieu, realtor, contractor and founder of Burlington House Buyers.
“Almost everything you buy falls. The exception is trees,” explains Beaulieu. “Trees that are mature increase the value of a home. The mere presence of large trees increases real estate prices in an area by 4% to 20%.”
2. Spruce up the front walkway.
Your walkway is part of a potential buyer’s first impression. So spend some time getting your walkway and entrance looking perfect. “If the walkway is well laid out, it instantly sets the mood for the house,” says Dawn Templeton, owner and realtor with Templeton Real Estate Group, based in Idaho. “Plant flowers on both sides of the walkway and keep the walkways properly lit. It will create dramatic beauty.”
3. Invest in a well-maintained lawn.
Another important element of curb appeal you should never underestimate is the power of a well-manicured lawn or front yard. A well-maintained front garden is of great importance to the overall desirability of your home.
“My general rule for landscaping is that the home should look at least as nice as the neighboring homes,” says de Jong. “At the very least, home sellers should have the lawn mowed, trees trimmed, weeds pulled and the yard decked out with some colorful seasonal flowers because curb appeal is critical to selling a home.”
An unmaintained lawn, on the other hand, isn’t just a curb appeal deterrent; it also sends a red flag to potential buyers that the home was not taken care of, adds de Jong.
The good news when it comes to lawn maintenance? It’s not a budget killer, says Dino DiNenna, a realtor and owner of South Carolina-based Hilton Head Realty. “Lawn maintenance is quick, relatively inexpensive, and gives you most of your investment back. A well-maintained lawn pleases buyers,” explains DiNenna. “A lawn is also a place of relaxation for the adults and a playground for the children.”
The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Landscape Professionals estimate that applying mulch annually, mowing about 2,800 square feet of lawn, trimming shrubs and planting about 60 annuals or perennials costs about $3,000—but has a 100% return on investment.
“Neglecting your lawn is like leaving money on the table. My team and I always suggest to our clients who want landscaping tips to increase their home value that basic landscaping services are the best project to tackle before they sell, ” adds DiNenna.
4. Install landscape lighting.
Attractive landscape lighting not only increases the security around your home, it also increases the value of your property.
“A well-lit yard automatically improves the overall appearance of the house, thereby increasing its value,” says Beaulieu of Burlington House Buyers. “Solar-powered and LED lighting solutions have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional wired lighting in recent years. They illuminate your lawn at night, silhouette your trees, prevent tripping and deter robbers.” Many potential buyers are attracted to LED lighting, which can increase the value of your property by 1% to 3%, says Beaulieu.
Matt Ward, real estate agent and team leader for Tennessee-based The Matt Ward Group, says lighting also helps maximize your property’s curb appeal and ensures that all the landscaping work you’ve invested in can actually be seen at any time of day. “Lighting fixtures are still one of the popular ideas for homeowners to increase their home value by a good step,” explains Ward. “Lighting has quickly become one of the most desired outdoor landscaping features for home buyers.”
Lighting has quickly become one of the most desired outdoor landscape features for home buyers.”
– Matt Ward
Stylish outdoor lights that are properly installed have an ROI of 50%-60%. Good lighting can increase the value of your property by up to 20%. We estimate that it would cost about $5,000 to install a standard 600w transformer and 20 LED lights. You would recover about 50% of this value during your home sale. Alternatively, you can opt for low-voltage lighting, which would cost you around $49 per watt. armature.
5. Construct a fire pit.
Fire pits rose in popularity during the COVID pandemic while we were all stuck at home, and they continue to be a great outdoor landscape attraction that increases property value. “A fire pit is arguably a universally loved home feature, perfect for families, young couples and anyone who loves to host and entertain guests,” says de Jong.
The average cost to build a fire pit is around $700, according to HomeAdvisor by Angi, and if you keep a budget on this type of project, it’s possible to earn a significant return on investment.
“When built with less expensive materials…homeowners can increase the ROI of a fire pit to more than 80% and recoup 78% of the cost,” adds de Jong.
6. Create privacy.
Offering a sense of privacy is generally a key selling factor for homes. Thoughtfully designed landscaping is one way to achieve this desirable goal.
“Houses that have large windows are among the most popular houses because the windows keep the interior well lit,” says Templeton, of the Templeton Real Estate Group. “But larger windows mean that people can see into the house from the outside. If the house has large windows, planting shrubs or hedges will complement the house and at the same time [provide] privacy.”
7. Add a water feature.
Adding a backyard pond or other type of water feature can also help increase the market value of your home, says Liz Hutz, co-owner of North Carolina-based Cash Home Buyers NC. “It creates a positive image in the buyer’s mind when they make a decision. A backyard pond adds a unique touch to your home,” explains Lutz.
When adding a pond or other water feature, be sure to think about where it’s located on the property, its size and how it’s laid out, Lutz continues. “My tip would be to incorporate accent lighting at each end of the pond to help increase its aesthetic appeal,” adds Lutz, who estimates that an average six-foot-by-eight-foot backyard pond can cost about $9,000.
8. Install an irrigation system.
Most people love the look of landscaping, but few want to spend the time on the necessary watering. This is where an irrigation system comes in, which can be a great value add for potential buyers.
“If you’re busy with your daily activities, you might want to continue tending your garden without the hassle. The same goes for your potential buyers; some of them might be too tired to spend an hour a day watering plants,” says Edward Jones, managing editor and founder of home improvement and gardening publication HomeCareHow. “Install an automatic irrigation system that will water your plants when needed. There’s no guessing how much water your lawn will need. It’s an effective way to manage and protect your investment.”
As an added bonus, automatic irrigation systems can significantly reduce lawn irrigation bills and expenses, says McKenzie of Bumper Crop times. “It has an ROI of around 85%, making it a very good project to increase your house value,” adds McKenzie.
9. Spread fresh soil.
Perhaps one of the easiest landscaping projects you can undertake is laying down fresh mulch. This can help give a dull yard a new, eye-catching appeal while making landscaping more economical, says Nicholas McMillan, founder and owner of Hire Realty LLC, a New York-based real estate firm specializing in residential and commercial properties. sales.
“Incorporating fresh mulch around shrubs and plants helps reduce evaporation, prevent weed growth, moderate soil temperature and inhibit erosion,” says McMillan. “Organic matter as well as aerating soil can improve the soil’s ability to hold sufficient water.” McMillan adds that you can expect a lot more than your investment on these types of simple projects.
10. Convert to eco-friendly landscaping.
In California and other western states, there is a huge demand for drought tolerant yards or xeriscaping. These types of landscapes often eliminate the need for irrigation, which is a definite attraction at a time when the price of water is skyrocketing. In addition to saving homeowners money on water bills, this type of landscape requires far less daily maintenance.
“Drought-friendly landscaping is a cost-effective and sustainable way to add greenery to your home,” says de Jong. “If you’re based in a warm-weather region, consider native plants that adapt well to the environment and require less maintenance, like pest control and fertilizer.”
Drought-friendly landscaping is a cost-effective and sustainable way to add greenery to your home.
— Beatrice de Jong
The average cost to make your entire farm drought tolerant is an average of $15,600 for a 1,200 square foot farm.
“Many homebuyers are looking to buy soil-friendly properties. However, that doesn’t mean they would forego a decent farm. In fact, the past few years have seen an increase in demand for drought-tolerant properties.” says Jones of HomeCareHow. “Get water-smart landscaping features for your lawn. Plant shrubs and feature rocks instead of grass. Choose cacti and succulents instead of flowering plants. Create a garden that requires less maintenance and reduces water costs, and you’ll start attracting green-conscious buyers in no time.”