Fact: Landscaping is a great investment.
It’s well established that a nicely designed and landscaped yard does wonders for the market value of your home. In one study that surveyed seven states, less than $250 in “flower color” added nearly $1,000 to the perceived value of a home. Wow! And that’s just some plants.
Feel like getting outside? Even if you don’t have much of a yard at all, there are ways to use your exterior space to raise the value of your home. Here are tips to get started:
1. Curb appeal
Anything that makes your home more attractive from the street is a big plus for market value, so the front yard is a good place to begin your efforts.
2. Low maintenance
We’re all busy, right? Landscaping that even looks high-maintenance could give future buyers pause about the effort and cost it’ll entail.
What does this mean for your yard? Choose perennials over annuals, avoiding types that need to be divided frequently to keep from turning into flowerless clumps of roots. Consider an irrigation system for easy watering, or better yet, especially if you’re in a dry zone, xeriscaping.
Meanwhile, choose durable materials for patios and other structures. Think hard before putting in a pool — you won’t get your investment back, and some buyers will see it as a liability.
3. Less lawn
See No. 2. Mowing takes time. It also adds to your carbon footprint. Go for ground covers and turf-like no-mow grasses. Put in wide planting beds and extend them even farther with mulched borders.
Almost everything you add to your home starts depreciating on day one, but not trees. Trees appreciate over time. (Be thoughtful about fruit trees, though. The home-grown food they provide can be a big plus, but they do require more care.)
Even trees near your property increase its value. Years of studies show that leafy neighborhoods have higher property values and lower crime rates. Trees are infrastructure! If your neighborhood is short on trees, inquire with the city about planting street trees, or launch an initiative with your neighbors.
Keep in mind that some trees (even some popular species) don’t work well in the typical yard. It pays to do some research.
5. Living space
Outdoor living space is high on the list of equity-building projects. Keep a patio or deck close to the kitchen for al fresco dining. You also want to keep it in proportion to your yard: A small patio in a large yard might look like an afterthought, while a huge one in a small yard will leave you without green space. Make sure there’s some privacy from neighbors (for your sake and theirs). This brings us to No. 6 …