A good investment for your home is one that significantly increases home value and guarantees a substantial return on your financial stake. Proper landscaping is one of the few home improvements that not only add values immediately but appreciates over time and will help a listed home sell faster.
Landscaping can increase your property value by up to 12.7 percent, according to a study by Virginia Tech horticulturalist Alex Niemiera. Good landscaping can also cut a listed home's time on the market by 10 to 15 percent.
Niemiera's study concluded that the number-one item buyers look for in landscaping is a sophisticated design, followed by plant size and maturity and diversity of plant life. Proper landscaping can:
- Increase your home's curb appeal, enticing buyers to check out the inside of your home
- Add functionality to your backyard
- Showcase your home among others in your neighborhood
- Create a low-maintenance, functional outdoor living space to enjoy
Here are some tips to keep in mind in order to create the optimal landscaped yard.
Create a Plan
According to This Old House, the biggest landscaping mistake homeowners make is not having a coherent plan. Good landscaping is meant to have plants, trees and accessories with systematic, reasoned placement. Even if you don't have the means to hire a landscape professional, draw up a plan and stick to it. Knowing what you need and what you're going to do with it will help you avoid wasting money. A well-planned landscape includes more than just plants and trees. Make sure you factor in:
- Functional, decorative lighting
- Outdoor entertainment areas such as a patio or fire pit
- Convenient, decorative walkways between outdoor areas
- Shade and privacy solutions
- Attractive driveway and home entrance
A landscape with large, mature plants and trees indicates a home that has been well-tended. If planting trees is on your landscape to-do list, visit the National Tree Benefit Calculator, which examines how a tree species in a particular zip code affects property values, energy savings, air quality and carbon dioxide reduction.
If you're introducing plants or shrubs, go native to your area. Indigenous plants are more cost-effective and likely to thrive without extra TLC, a plus for you as a homeowner and any potential homebuyers down the road.
Keep an Area of Open Lawn
Don't get over zealous with your foliage. Homebuyers still desire an open area of flat, un-landscaped lawn to cater to personal use whether it be for a swing set, vegetable garden, above-ground pool, etc.
Light Your Landscape
According to the National Association of Home Builders, outdoor lighting is a consistent wanted outdoor feature; 41 percent of homebuyers rate it "essential" while 49 percent rate it "desirable". Use outdoor lighting to:
- Highlight your landscape focal points
- Protect against slips and falls
- Create a deterrent for intruders
- Encompass a homier feel
A long-term landscaping plan is great if you plan to be in the home long-term, but if you're sprucing up your curb appeal to sell within a year, there are still immediate steps you can take to boost your landscape and selling price:
- Cut fresh edges around your planting bed. Well-defined, sharp edges between grass and mulch, dire or rock gives a professional landscaped look.
- Begin regular fertilizer treatments for a lush, weed-less lawn
- Add splashes of color with flowers
- Invest a few hundred dollars in larger perennials and shrubs to give the appearance of a matured landscape
For more ideas on landscaping and inspiration for your home, follow us on Pinterest. For more information on home buying and financing, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for all things regarding homebuying.