Gardens can be real value boosters.
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.
Today’s Barbara Corcoran addressed the question in her essay, “Best backyard 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—now get to work!’ will not be a plus to many prospective buyers—especially to folks who don’t have green thumbs.
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 dealbreaker but is equally unlikely to add much to a bottom-line offer.
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.
· More trees.
· Backyard “sanctuaries.” A key feature is water—a fountain, small pond, hot tub, or even just a terra cotta pot with a recirculating pump.
· Landscape lighting.
· Hedges (SmartMoney.com 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!