Although most surveys
estimate that landscape improvements are among the most cost-effective
improvements homeowners can tackle, it’s a statement that requires qualification.
Although one Money Magazine survey reported that landscape improvements
have a recovery value of 100%-to-200%, that calculation is dependent on the nature
of the improvement—particularly when it comes to gardens.
Corcoran addressed the question in her essay,
improvements to add the most value,” which makes a convincing
argument that although a well-maintained garden may delight the eye, not all
prospective buyers will be willing to open their wallets with equal enthusiasm.
Any feature which says, ‘I’m beautiful—nowget to work!’ will not
be a plus to many prospective buyers—especially to folks who don’t have green
Gardening enthusiasts who already
have their own plots of veggies won’t fall into that category but may well have
their own approach, which will probably differ from what they see in progress. That’s
not likely to be a deal breaker but is equally unlikely to add much to a bottom-line
A University of Michigan study
may have determined that consumers placed the value of a “landscaped home” as 11.3%
higher than the same home “without good landscaping.” That’s an impressive
calculation, but as Corcoran points out, it requires more detail to be useful.
Some general ideas do make sense:
Less lawn. Foot-friendly
ground covers and planting beds with low-care perennials and shrubs can add
interest with minimal maintenance requirements.
Backyard “sanctuaries.” A key
feature is water—a fountain, small pond, hot tub, or even just a terra cotta
pot with a recirculating pump.
estimates that hedges alone add 3.6% to property values)!
If you are beginning to think
about your home’s value once you put it on the market, landscaping is a good
place to start. Call if you’d like a fresh pair of eyes to help with ideas!