Four Ways to Add Home Value with Living Landscapes

David Deem

Landscaping is a major way to add value to your home.  A recent study done by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) indicated that nine out of 10 Americans say it’s important to have a landscape at their home. According to results, the majority of Americans have a yard comprised of grass (86 percent), trees/bushes/shrubs (80 percent), pavers/cement/bricks/patio (51 percent) and landscaping rocks/gravel. If you'd like to join the ranks, below are four ways family yards and other living landscapes add value to a property, from OPEI.

Curb Appeal. Curb appeal is an important factor in determining overall property value. Studies show that improving overall curb appeal, which includes a beautiful lawn and landscape, can boost property values by as much as 17 percent (source: Texas Tech University).

Trees are Tops. The value of trees goes beyond perception and preference and right into the pocketbook of your clients. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, each front yard tree adds 1 percent to a homeowner’s sale price, while large specimen trees can add as much as 10 percent to property values.

Saving Green with Green. Living landscapes impact monthly electric bills. According to the Urban Forest Coalition, 100 million mature trees around U.S. residences save approximately $2 billion annually in energy costs. In fact, strategically placed trees can save up to 56 percent on annual air conditioning bills. In the wintertime, evergreens that block winter winds can save 3 percent on heating costs (source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service).

Expanding Living Space. During warmer months, yards become outdoor family rooms and are increasingly important to families who want a safe, inviting place for their kids and pets to play. Merging indoor and outdoor environments to increase living space is trending, making outdoor living space important for homebuyers.

How much can a seller expect to recover from ensuring a useful outdoor living area? According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2018 Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features study, any cost to enhance outdoor living is well worth it. An overall landscape upgrade (installing flowering shrubs and trees and mulching with landscaping bark) will recover 83 percent of the project cost. Standard lawn care service (something 55 percent of REALTORS® have suggested to sellers) will recover 267 percent of its cost. Tree care, including trimming and pruning, will result in 100 percent value recovered from the project. For adding a wood deck, sellers can expect to recoup 80 percent of the project cost while a new patio offers a 69 percent return.

Health Benefits of the Family Yard. Curb appeal is just one way that living landscapes are beyond beautiful. A systematic research review concluded that knowing and experiencing nature – which starts in our own backyards – makes people generally happier and healthier. Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces (American Journal of Public Health) and kids with more exposure to the outdoors perform better on cognitive testing (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). People moving to greener areas experienced an immediate improvement in mental health that was sustained for at least three years (Science Daily).

“Green Homes” & Living Landscapes. Living landscapes also provide environmental benefits – important for the growing number of buyers (56 percent according to NAR’s REALTORS® & Sustainability study) who are looking for “green” homes. Family yards, trees and landscaping features filter and capture runoff, reduce heat island effects, improve air quality, sequester carbon dioxide, control soil erosion and support biodiversity.



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