Last week I was speaking with some friends about selling their home.  Based on the fact that we are all rabid HGTV watchers, they wanted to know how they could make some investments in their home and get the maximum return upon selling.  The many shows on television make it look so easy.  You spend $30,000 on a renovation and suddenly your home is worth $50,000 more and sells in one week.  Well, most of us know that it does not really work that way. 

Sophisticated and mature landscape beds can improve home values significantly.

I am always amazed that these shows mostly focus on interior renovations.  Studies have shown the return to be less than the investment spent.  The best interior renovation investment has been reported to be a kitchen renovation, returning, on average, $0.94 for every $1.00 spent.  Little, if any, time is given to the one investment that has been proven to return $1.09 for every dollar spent…Landscaping!  

Home improvements can add significant value to a property, but may not always yield a 100% return on the money invested, with the exception of landscaping…
— Journal of Environmental Horticulture 29(2):96–103. June 2011

In 2011, there was a wonderful article published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture by researchers at Texas A&M.  In this paper, the researchers did an exhaustive review of all scientific publications concerning the benefits of landscaping and green industry products.  These included not only economic benefits but also the environmental and health and well-being attributes. Needless to say, the list was lengthy. For this article, I am going to focus on resale value:

Landscaping is one of the most important factors in curb appeal 

I often laugh that there are certain houses that just need accenting and others that need to be covered up.  The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said: “A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”  Whichever the case, landscaping can help make a pleasing first impression.  A national study was performed to measure consumer opinion and actions.  Several landscape designs were drawn around the same sample home.  When compared to basic foundation shrubs the perceived value of the home increased with more sophisticated designs in all cases.  

Buyers value the sophistication of a landscape design over other factors

Buyers in the above study were asked what enhanced the value of the landscape the most.  They rated sophistication of the design as highest, with plant size and diversity being next in importance.  This study indicated that just adding two island beds in the lawn and curvilinear bed edges, increased perceived value by 2%.  

Landscaping is one of the only improvements that increases in value over time

Properly maintained landscapes get better with time.  A mature landscape is far more valuable than it was when initially installed; the development of a sophisticated design, over time, can increase perceived value up to 8.6%.  

Adding some color from perennials or annuals can yield a large return

Research has shown that adding $250 worth of color from annuals and perennials yields a $1000 perceived value.  That’s a 400% return on investment.   

Clearly the value of landscaping is more than just “it’s pretty” and that is just from the investment value.  If we were to consider other attributes of outdoor living spaces on personal health, family enjoyment, and interacting with nature as the ultimate sedative, it is no wonder that many of our clients view landscape additions as a ‘staycation’ that never ends.

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Written by Hunter Stubbs, Co-Owner, BB Barns Landscape.

BB Barns Landscape provides full-service landscape design, installation, and maintenance in Asheville, NC and the surrounding areas in Western NC.