The Appraisal Institute, America’s leading association of real estate appraisers, advises homeowners that improving their property’s landscaping can significantly increase their return on investment when selling their home. However, not all landscaping choices are created equal. Some features help home value, while some hurt it. So when you have a limited budget for enhancing the look of your exterior and want to get the most back for your back, which features do you select?
A reputable landscape design contractor shares below a number of lawn and landscape items that can affect your property value — for better or worse.
Landscape Features That Increase Home Value
1. A well-maintained lawn.
A cared-for lawn leads the list of exterior improvements that increase home value. According to real estate agents, a beautiful and unspoiled expanse of turf pleases potential buyers. It improves a residence’s architectural design, offers a play area for children, and gives adults a sense of peace and relaxation. A recent study estimates that a basic lawn care service of approximately $268 adds around $1,200 in value. The same study found that roughly 91 percent of real estate agents recommend tackling yard maintenance before putting a home on the market.
2. Mature trees.
Mature trees can boost the value of your home. According to the University of Washington, the presence of tall trees improves property values throughout a neighborhood by three to 15 percent. If you are looking for a tree that already has some built, but can still be carried in the back of a truck, go for a 15-gallon pot. It will hold a tree about eight feet tall and for a reasonable price, depending on the variety.
3. Good lighting.
Buyers appreciate that a well-illuminated yard can bring forth a sense of security. On the market, numerous options for outdoor lighting are available and within the range of any homeowner’s budget. Hardware for outdoor living has prospered in recent years, with LED and solar-powered products providing alternatives to conventional hardwired lighting. Good lighting can showcase the beauty of your garden at nighttime hours, outline the shape of tall overarching trees, keep the residents safe from trip-and-fall accidents, and fend off potential intruders.
4. An outdoor kitchen.
A built-in deck for entertainment and cooking is one of the most sought-after and expensive items you can add to your outdoor space. It extends the usable square footage of your home and returns an estimated 83 percent of the amount spent. An outdoor kitchen puts your property high on the shortlist of an expanding group of residential buyers. Adequately finish and weatherproof the surface for the local climate so it can last for many years to come. Homes in cold climates can make good use of installing fire pits, whereas homes in warmer ones must have sufficient shade and airflow.
For smaller houses, a well-designed all-season outdoor space can contribute to 10 to 15 percent of a property’s value. SmartMoney.com estimates that a dining area, dry-laid patio, or an above-grade deck can raise the value of a home by 12.4 percent.
5. A sports court.
Recent studies show that in addition to a well-landscaped backyard, a sports court provides a 12 percent increase in value among home improvements. If your property is located in a family-oriented development, an outdoor living space with a sports court is appealing to prospective buyers. It can also help the community foster engagements and provide an area for your family to bond and be active and fit at the same time.
6. Professional landscape design.
A professionally designed landscape will help your property’s home value in tremendous ways. Local landscape companies can prepare a detailed plan and do the building as well. They will consider the site, plant requirements, spacing, wildlife, seasonal changes, and your vision, and turn your ideas into reality.
Landscape Features That Hurt Home Value
1. Artificial grass.
When it comes to minimal maintenance, artificial grass offers the ultimate. You can lay it down once and completely forget about it until it starts wearing out. Most times, however, it leaves potential buyers in the cold, particularly families with children who want an outdoor area to play. With an average replacement cost of $3.50 per square foot, many buyers tend to avoid it. An estimate found that sellers could be looking at a five percent reduction in resale value if a yard has synthetic grass.
2. An unkempt garden.
Gardens should be cultivated, vibrant, and pleasing to the eye. When your garden has not been attended to for a long time, it can knock one to two percent off your asking price. According to a survey conducted by the Virginia Extension, a large-scale and garish landscape has the most potential for return on investment, while a view of scraggly trees and scrubby tufts of grass hurts home value. An unkempt garden will likely turn off first-time buyers and young families who do not want to do much makeover work.
3. A big concrete patio.
A concrete patio is less prone to insects and mud than grass, but it comes with a couple of potential downsides. A broad expanse of concrete appears industrial rather than home-like and creates a parking-lot type of outdoor space where rain collects in puddles. In regions with frigid winters, the risk of slipping on a patio is heightened by thin slabs of ice on the concrete. It can also be prone to unsightly cracks as extreme weather changes cause frequent shrinkage and expansion. Fortunately, you can minimize the chances of cracks by letting a professional install the concrete patio.
4. Old-fashioned garden furniture.
An old wooden picnic table perishing in the backyard landscape can put a splinter in your property’s resale value. Usually, it costs about $4,000 to restore out-of-style garden decor and patio furniture, and there is a low chance you will recoup the cost at the time of sale. Pieces of outdoor furniture, such as benches, chairs, and coffee tables, are exposed to the onslaught of severe weather and can fall into despair more quickly than the furniture located comfortably inside the home. To spruce up your garden furniture, consider giving the fabric coverings a thorough washdown and adding a fresh coat of paint or stain to wooden surfaces.
5. A swimming pool or hot tub.
You may think that when a home buyer sees your outdoor pool, solely moments of sluggish afternoons, splashing children, and restful summer months will spring to their mind. The reality is that many buyers think of maintenance headaches, additional insurance requirements, and constant worry about safety. Overall, the return on swimming pools is relatively low at 43 percent. The scenario is quite the opposite for upscale homes that sit on large properties, however. So do homes in certain areas of the country, like Florida and California, where outdoor pools or hot tubs are an expected amenity.
Let’s Transform Your Outdoor Living Space!
Let Backyard Reflections make your landscaping dreams come true. As a family-owned and family-operated full-service landscape design and build contractor in Minnesota, we create innovative and skilled landscaping solutions, such as patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, gardens, lighting, and more, and deliver superior customer service to our clients. Schedule a no-obligation consultation by calling (320) 640-2626 in Annandale, (218) 220-2785 in Nisswa, or fill out our convenient contact form.
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