Does Landscaping Increase Your House Value?

How Perfect Landscaping Adds Value to Your Home

Sure, the outside of the home should look clean and well-maintained, but does it invite people in? Does your home’s outdoor space make visitors feel welcome and relaxed? If you have a green thumb, landscaping your yard should be a no-brainer. Your yard offers a big canvas for lots of creativity and usually for a fraction of the cost of interior renovations.

The big question is: How much value will any landscaping add to your property? To answer that question, first check the current value of your property. Next, bring on the green-leafed bling. Once your landscaping project is finished, there’ll be a noticeable bump in your net worth along with an increase in your home’s value. While all of that sounded easy, it’s time to dig in and get our hands dirty with the nitty gritty details of landscaping, do-it-yourself style.

Softscaping: The Au Naturel Look, for Yards

While a nicely landscaped yard looks great, it does come at some costs. There’s watering, fertilizing, replanting, and irrigation layout and extensions. Of course, there will be regular maintenance as well. After all, outside of you garden gnomes, most everything in the yard is living and will need constant TLC.This type of landscaping is called softscaping because it consists largely of living things.

The desert climates of Arizona and Utah, as you’ve likely noticed, aren’t especially wet. You might want to rethink that plush, green, Garden of Eden kind of yard. Sure, it will look great, but only if you feed it a constant supply of water. Also, during periods of drought municipalities will implement  water rationing making it difficult to maintain that lush oasis.This could put some high-cost plants in jeopardy.

Hardscaping: For Those Who Can’t Stand Yard Work

There’s another interesting landscaping category called, go figure, hardscaping. No, hardscaping doesn’t mean you pour concrete throughout your yard. Instead, it means there are more nonliving elements in the yard. For example:

  •          Patios
  •          Wider walkways
  •          Retaining walls
  •          Drought resistant plants
  •          More areas covered with small rocks
  •          Large rock features
  •          Small pools/ponds
  •          Fountains

A hardscaped yard is for someone who doesn’t have a green thumb or the time it takes to maintain a yard; it’s also for those of you who want to simply enjoy looking at their yard without all of the pruning and costs that go with it. Hardscape features are a kind of set-it-and-forget-it tactic. There is some maintenance, but with fewer living things to maintain, that maintenance is much lower than the equivalent softscaped yard.

Initial cost for both types of yards will be similar. But as with anything, it will depend on how much you want to do. With a softscaped yard, you can trim a topiary elephant. With a hardscaped yard, you can add more bricks and stones for patios, or perhaps install a bigger grill for those neighborhood shindigs.. But if you aren’t intent on going wild, the initial cost will likely be well within reach.

We’ve seen behind door number one (softscaping) and door number two (hardscaping) but the real question is: Does all of this work and expense increase your property value? You’ll be happy to know that, for the majority of yards, it does. Unless you are doing something very unique, such as creating an Alice In Wonderland maze out of your boxwoods, landscaping will increase your home’s value and will improve it’s appeal to potential buyers.

A Front Yard That Shimmers

When it comes to landscaping, the front yard is the grand showcase. It has to hit the mark with a solid dose of curb appeal. If your goal is to add value to your home, you’ll want to spend most of your time here.

So what should go into the front yard to make it a great attraction?The first thing to do is plan what you want the yard to look like. It should be balanced and thoughtfully designed. Perhaps small box hedges bordering sidewalks and Cypress trees against the house with periodic maple trees strategically placed throughout the yard — sounds nice, right? Oh, and design your walkways so they make sense and are practical; don’t make your guests dizzy from their journey across the step stones.

A well-planned yard will look, well, planned. The last thing you want is a yard that looks thrown together with no method to the madness. Consider using mostly mature plants instead of new ones. These will give a sense of time and stability to the home. Mature plants cost more than smaller, new plants, but they will be fuller and boost that curb appeal and value.

A Backyard That Shines

While the front yard does the job of drawing people in, you don’t want to shortchange the backyard. Also, that balance we talked about earlier needs to flow into the backyard; otherwise, the contrast between the front and backyards will definitely be noticed. This doesn’t mean you need to spend as much time and money on the backyard as you did on the front yard but it’s another important selling point for buyers.

Let’s talk specific trees for the backyard. During the Arizona summer months, having shade is almost essential if you want to spend any time outside. Consider trees such as Palo Verdes and Desert Willows. These trees don’t require much water and grow well in the Arizona climate.

To find out the right tree for your climate, use climate zones. You can find them for Arizona here and for Utah here. Climate zones or USDA Hardiness Zones, as they are officially called, divide the U.S. into 11 different zones. Each zone has its own weather pattern. You can find out which plants work best in each zone by visiting your local garden center or doing a little online research.

To pool or not to pool? That is the question. Not all yards are made for a pool. You don’t want to walk into a backyard that looks like Waterworld. Not to mention, this leaves no room for entertaining. From a strictly financial point of view, bear in mind also that pools are more popular in Arizona and tend to add value to your home, whereas they’re somewhat less popular in other colder states, where they don’t often recoup their cost and can even turn off certain types of buyers.

Keep in mind that planning for kid-safety is a must if you’re going to own a pool. There’s far more to it than just putting up a fence. You’ll want to do lots of research and consult with pool installers to gather as much information as possible about pool kid-safety. While we’re on the subject, the rest of the backyard should also be kid-safe. If the patio is raised, are the railings close enough together to prevent a toddler from falling through them? Is there any place in the yard that a small child might fall into or get stuck? If you see a hazard in your backyard, a potential buyer likely will too.

Take Inspiration Where You Can Find It

For help coming up with some awe-inspiring ideas, check out what your neighbors have going on; they’ll likely be happy to share if you don’t awkwardly peak over the fence. If you have no idea on where to start with the design of your yard, a professional landscaper can point you in the right direction. As work progresses, you’ll start getting more ideas. Just be careful to keep a balance and not go overboard. There’s also something to be said about letting the yard sit for a while after a fresh design. Soak it in for a bit before deciding to make any changes.

At the end of the day, spending time and a little money improving your yard will add value to your home. It’s the curb appeal that will attract people to take another look. Make sure potential buyers realize at first glance that indeed the grass is greener in your yard.

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