First impressions matter, and this is particularly true in real estate. Whether you’re looking for ways to increase the value of your home, or just looking for a fun home project, consider upgrading your landscaping.
Multiple sources attest to the draw that a beautifully landscaped yard has on potential home buyers. Martin Eiden, a top broker with Compass in New York City, claims that good landscaping can increase a home’s value by 10 to 15% at the most. Similarly, a study by Michigan State University found that potential home buyers perceived the value of a home with good landscaping to be 11% higher than a home without it. In addition, a survey done by the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 84% of Americans said that landscaping would impact their decision to buy a home.
With spring weather here to stay, now is the perfect time to make an investment in your home by improving your landscaping. It may sound like an overwhelming project. Where do you start?
Here are some helpful tips to consider as you embark on this project.
1. Think Outside the Green Box
A green lawn has become a staple of the American yard, but there are many quick and easy ways to add on to that to create more interest. To add a pop of color here and there, use potted flowers. Refresh the look of your lawn with new mulch around bushes and in plant beds. Add some outdoor furniture or lawn ornaments
2. Match Your Yard to Your Home
Make sure the style of your landscaping matches the style of your home. If you have a classic style of home, choose landscaping that reflects that style, don’t go for a bold, contemporary statement.
3. Opt for Sophistication
A green rectangle is uninspired. Employing more sophisticated design elements like curved lines for plant beds and an island of plants in the middle of a lawn is much more interesting, and can even result in a higher sale price, according to a survey by Turf magazine. The same survey also found that yards with a mix of large trees and colorful annual plants also sold better.
4. Plan for Each Season
Plan your landscaping so that it will look good all year round. This is especially important for home-owners in a four-season climate. A blog post by HouseCall describes what plants to choose for each season, “blooming bulbs for spring, annual beds around the house during the summer, shrubs with brightly colored leaves in the fall, and evergreens for the winter”.
5. Trees are Awesome
Trees not only increase the value of your property, they also clean the air, provide fruit, provide privacy, and can reduce your heating and cooling bills. What a powerhouse plant! In addition, they are relatively inexpensive to plant.
A study by Landscape and Urban Planning found that homes with trees in the front yard in Portland, Oregon, sold for $8,870 more and also sold 1.7 days faster than those homes without them. A single hardwood tree can remove 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air in a year. The U.S. Department of Energy found that strategically planted trees can reduce a home’s energy use by 25%, since they can provide shade in the summer and block wind in the winter. The Tree Benefit Calculator can give homeowners an estimate of how much benefit a given tree can give the neighborhood.
While trees are generally awesome, if you are planting new ones, it’s important to choose their location carefully, making sure they aren’t too close to the driveway or home. Once matured, a badly placed tree can get in the way of power lines or septic system drain fields, a definite detractor for potential buyers.
6. Invest in an Automatic Irrigation System
If you are going to put the time, effort, and money into upgrading your yard, you may want to protect that investment, and reduce your daily time spent maintaining the landscaping, with an automatic irrigation system.
7. Keep it Low Maintenance
While a well-landscaped yard is a definite asset, for most homeowners it’s best to create a yard that is also relatively low-maintenance. Unless gardening is your passion, you’ll get the most economic benefit from a yard that’s easy to maintain.
If you live in an area that’s dry, like California or the southwestern states, consider water-smart landscaping, which features artfully placed rocks with bushes and shrubs that don’t require much water.
In general, plants that are native to the area you live in will be hardier and easier to maintain. They won’t need as much water, fertilizer, or hands on care to thrive in their native environment as something exotic would.
8. Create a welcoming pathway
Visitors and anyone interested in buying your home will encounter the front yard first and enter through the front door. Make a good first impression by designing a pathway to the front door that creates interest. “Ideally, have it winding with plants or a small hedge on each side,” says New York City broker Martin Eiden.
9. Install Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting not only shows off your beautiful landscaping at night, it also provides added safety for anyone coming and going at night, and can ward off burglars. Outdoor lights can now be LED or solar-powered, saving money and electricity. There are a wide range of outdoor lights available, so you can pick up a simple DIY kit at a hardware store, or invest in a professional to design and install a lighting scheme.
10. Edge the Lawn
Since you have put the time, effort, and finances into improving your landscaping, why not finish the job with a nice clean edge around your lawn? This is especially important for home sellers. It will add clean lines and a sense of organization to your yard, overall. This sends a signal to potential buyers that you have kept the property in tip-top condition. For tips on how to edge your lawn, click here.