Mortgage Goals: Adding Value to Your Home with Landscaping

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/19/15 8:30 AM

Topics: Home Buying

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

Planting Trees

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.

Native Plants

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

Start Now

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.

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