Table of Contents
How Does Backyard Landscaping Add Value to Your Home?
A study conducted at the University of Michigan shows that home buyers prefer homes with finished landscapes 11.3% more than similar homes without good landscaping. Another study done by Virginia Tech study shows that a $300,000 home can increase in value by $16,500 to $38,100 just because of great landscaping.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) reports some pretty impressive numbers when it comes to improving the value of your home through its landscape:
“Homes that have been professionally landscaped can fetch 15 percent to 20 percent more at the time of resale than homes with less attractive landscapes.”
Even SmartMoney.com did research on the topic. They found that the value of a home increases by 3.6% just by adding hedges alone to the landscape. But does all of this also include backyard hardscapes and softscapes?
Well, considering a backyard is a homeowner's private little sanctuary that they don’t have to share with the world, I would have to say yes. The front yard is all about curb appeal. But the backyard is a homeowner’s private area of peace.
5 Backyard Landscape Trends
Not all outdoor improvements increase property value. Knowing the ones that do is key to success. Let’s discuss a few trends in backyard landscaping that help improve your home value:
1. Less Lawn to Maintain
These days, people are searching for ways to work less and play more. Many homeowners don’t want to spend their Saturdays mowing lawns and pulling weeds. Replace some of that lawn with foot-friendly pavers and ground covers instead of grass.
If you have a garden, plant low-maintenance flowers and plants. Also, plant your crops deep in raised beds, mixing things up with low-care perennials and wide borders.
2. Add More Trees
One of the few softscapes in your yard that appreciate in value over time is trees. Almost all other greenery, as well as hardscapes, depreciate the second they are installed. If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, plant younger trees so you can nurture them and train them how you like.
But if you plan to sell your home within the next two to three years, plant larger trees instead. An ideal size is about eight feet tall.
3. Year-Round Greenery
Winter months can almost be depressing for gardeners. Landscapes are left leafless and lifeless, creating a drab scene in your yard. But some plants can grow during the cold seasons that bring the landscape to life. Some of these include colored berries, colored bark, ornamental grasses and flowering shrubs.
4. Landscape Lighting
Also known as Malibu lighting, landscape lights are solar-powered. They are perfect for DIY landscaping projects because of their simple installation. Sometimes, buyers drive by homes they’re interested in at night to check out the area.
Imagine them driving by your home in awe of your lighting, which silhouettes your plants, flowers and trees. You’ll enjoy that same fascination after installing landscape lighting in your backyard.
5. Water Features
There’s nothing like a water feature to make your backyard feel like an outdoor sanctuary, whether it’s flowing, bubbling or standing still. You can even create a DIY water feature by placing a solar-operated water pump into a terracotta pot and allow it to recirculate endless amounts of water.
Some other choices for water features include:
- Small Ponds
- Hot Tubs
3 Tips for Improving Your Backyard Landscape
Whether you’re growing your own foods or just want flowers and shrubs in your backyard, these are tips to improve its aesthetics:
1. Set Long-Term Goals
If you’re not planning to move within the next five years, make a five-year plan. It can be both expensive and overwhelming trying to do everything quickly and at one time. Plan out your hardscapes before spending money on materials. Make sure they actually bring value to the yard, which means more value for your property.
2. Test Your Soil
Your soil is one of the most important softscapes on your land. Find out if it's fertile or needs amending by getting your soil tested. Contact your local county’s agricultural agency. They will walk you through sending a sample to them. Then, they will send you the test results along with recommendations for improving your soil.
You can also purchase DIY soil testing kits from Home Depot, Lowes and other home improvement stores. Soil testing is key to improving your soil’s quality and growing healthy foods in your backyard.
3. Irrigation Systems
As an avid gardener, I enjoy watering all my plants and flowers. But there are times when the weather gets to be 115 degrees here, making it too hot to water each plant individually. Not to mention, the one time I went on vacation in 2020, I forgot to tell my stepdaughter how to water a particular bed. So, everything in it was pretty much dead when I got home.
That’s when I realized I needed some type of DIY irrigation system for these types of situations. The bulk of my watering system is made out of PVC piping, while other areas have soaker hoses. Either way, they help keep my backyard looking gorgeous even when I can’t water everything by hand.
Taboo Backyard Improvements for Sellers
Keep in mind that not all improvements are welcomed by prospective homebuyers. Some are actually turnoffs, which decrease the value of the home. Here are some “improvements” you should not do if you’re thinking about selling soon:
1. Do NOT Install a Pool
You may have always wanted a pool. Now you have access to the $75,000 it costs to install one. However, many potential buyers don’t want to deal with the abundance of maintenance, such as monitoring chlorine levels and cleaning out leaves.
Plus, many buyers have kids. So, you’ll also need to come out of the pocket to enclose the pool with a fence to impress these buyers. But even if you do, this doesn’t increase the value of your home by $75,000. Not every buyer wants a pool.
2. Do NOT Plant Fruit Trees
If you don’t already have established fruit trees on the property, don’t plant new ones right before listing your home for sale. They won’t be established enough to impress potential buyers, which means a lot of pruning and chasing predatory flies and other bugs away for nothing.
3. Do NOT Install a Concrete Patio
Spreading concrete broadly can create dips in the patio flooring. This creates puddles when it rains. Pouring concrete can be very expensive and time-consuming. And this material doesn’t create the most aesthetically pleasing patios. Instead, construct your backyard patio using materials more pleasing to the eyes, like pavers.
4. Do NOT Construct a Built-In Fire Pit
The man of your house may love the idea of installing a built-in fire pit in the backyard. And the woman of the house may even find it romantic. But a potential homebuyer may find the stone fixture to be a monstrosity.
Just buy yourself a portable fire pit and discuss whether they want it with the home. If they don’t, simply take it with you to the new house.
5. Do NOT Add Courts
You never know who will eventually buy your house. If they don’t like playing sports at home, a basketball or tennis court is just a large patch of asphalt to them. This is especially true for an avid gardener, such as me. Garden connoisseurs will only see the patch as a complete waste of gardening space.