Your home's landscaping can be a big selling point for your on-the-market home, and even if you're not selling right away, the trees, bushes and bulbs you plant now can make your home more valuable months or years from now.
According to the Appraisal Institute, attractive landscaping all around a home can increase curb appeal and entice buyers to attend your open house or schedule a tour of your home. (Buyers' mindsets may be that if you, as the homeowner, take such great care of the outside of your home, you may be likelier to do upkeep and design the inside of your home, as well.) The Appraisal Institute also found that proper landscaping will make your home stand out among other homes in your neighborhood, and low-maintenance plants are also desirable among buyers. Lovely landscaping in your backyard lets buyers envision the entertaining they'll do in that space, a big selling point, as well.
A study from Virginia Tech found that home landscaping is valued at about 15 percent of your home's value, and that landscape aspects can add even more value to your home. This study breaks down the particular home value boosts at 42 percent for your landscape design, 36 percent for plant size and 22 percent for diversity of plants. This last statistic is an important one to build into your landscape plans; if you plant only vincas or impatiens all around your landscaping for curb appeal, that's not going to impress buyers as much as if you planted a half-dozen or more different kinds of flowers or plants, such as would be seen in an English garden, with lots of colors, textures and flower types.
*What Buyers Like to See in Your Landscaping
In addition to plant diversity, as well as a range of plant and flower sizes, here are some particularly appealing aspects of landscape design you could incorporate into your yard:
--Landscaping all around your home. If your front yard is bursting with plants and a bright green manicured lawn, but your side and backyards are unfinished or even devoid of plantings, the effect is less impressive. Plant all around your property, including the front corners of your property, to add extra pops of color and texture there.
--A variety of healthy trees. A half-dead tree will hurt your home's value when potential buyers predict pricy tree-trimming service work ahead. Healthy trees boost home value, and you can add more value to your home by having your real estate agent attach a description of your trees -- and their values -- to your home listing. Did you know that the different trees on your property create increased value for your home? Use the National Tree Benefit Calculator to assess your tree types' benefits to carbon reduction, energy savings, storm water runoff and property values. A list of these benefits on your home listing can impress potential buyers tremendously. And just three properly placed trees could save you between $100 and $250 a year in energy costs, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Planting windbreaks and shade trees can reduce winter heating bills by 15 percent and air conditioning bills by 75 percent.
--Plants that provide foliage and color in all seasons. Those spring flowers have an expiration date, but evergreens will provide beauty all year long. A smart mix of trees, bushes and flowers creates an attractive overlapping of landscape effects throughout all seasons.
--Well-maintained gardens. Trim trees and shape bushes. Deadhead roses and pull weeds to enhance your curb appeal.
--Modern hardscaping. Your plants will look even better with a modern stone or paver terrace and walkways throughout your property. Old, cracked stones from decades ago will hurt the look of your pretty plants. Rock walls, retaining walls, stone garden benches and well-placed lighting effects in your landscaping add even more beauty and value to your home's appearance.
While it is possible to do your own landscaping to improve the value of your home, hiring a professional landscaper is most advised, since an expert will be able to advise you on the best tree and plant choices for your home's layout and potential energy savings, native plants that bring the most value to your home, proper pruning of your existing trees and bushes to make them look newer and more valuable, lawn seeding and weed treatment, and more. An expert brings great advantage to your landscaping investment, and isn't it better to have their team climb trees to prune and do all the heavy lifting of new trees and rock wall materials than to do it yourself?
What should you spend? The American Society of Landscape Architects recommends that homeowners invest 10 percent of the home's value in landscaping, including hardscaping, lighting, fire pits, ponds and even swimming pools, all to boost their home's appearance and value.
David Beaulieu, About.com's landscaping expert, advises sifting through landscaping ideas online to find inspiration on current and emerging trends, since "You are essentially landscaping for other people's tastes," not your own. Still, landscaping looks that call to you will often match the style and feel of your home, so do trust your instincts as you design a landscaping plan that can help sell your home more quickly and for more money.