Landscaping adds property value – tens of thousands of dollars – to the value of your property. It is one of the few home improvements you can make that not only adds value immediately, but also increases in value as the years go by. Although, it has to be said that any landscaping done needs to be done right the first time. Hiring a landscape designer is the first part of doing the process right.
According to BobVila.com, the website of the original host of TV’s “This Old House,” the biggest landscaping mistake that homeowners make is not having a coherent plan. They decide to put a tree in, and then a few years later add some flower beds, then maybe put in some shrubs and another tree. A landscape that’s assembled piecemeal looks disorganized, and that turns buyers off. Come up with a plan before you do any landscaping.
A review of research by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, found that a well-landscaped home had a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. That advantage ranged from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent.
Niemera’s research makes clear that there’s more to landscaping than sticking some flowers and a couple shrubs in the ground. The number-one thing that buyers are looking for in landscaping is a sophisticated design. Close behind is plant size and maturity. A lesser factor, but one still worth considering, is the diversity of plant life within the landscaping design.
A landscape full of large, mature plants is obviously one that has been carefully tended to over the years, and that sends a signal to buyers. According to real estate agent Tony Giacalone, in the “Boston Globe,” “that’s a good indication that they’ve taken care of the inside of the house as well.”
Having a long-term landscaping plan is great if you’re in the house for the long term. If you plan to sell within a year, you can take several immediate steps to dress up your landscape and boost your selling price. “Money” magazine suggests cutting fresh edges around your planting beds; having a sharp, well-defined edge between grass and mulch or dirt gives the landscape a professional look. Also begin regular fertilizer treatments on your lawn; you want potential buyers to see a lush carpet, not a patchwork quilt. And add splashes of color with flowers; pick up some colorful annuals, and be willing to invest in larger perennials and shrubs, so that your yard doesn’t look as if you just started working on it—even if you did.