There are a lot of home improvement projects you can do to increase your home’s value before selling; these include painting, getting new appliances and installing new countertops. But there’s one home improvement that carries more weight than you may think, and it’s right outside your front door. Landscaping is the first thing buyers see when they get out of the car. First impressions count, so here are some ways to ensure your home makes a positive one.

Why Landscape?

According to a recent “What Home Buyers Really Want” report from the National Association of Home Builders, most home buyers want landscaping that adds “functionality and resale value” rather than “frills and lifestyle.” This means that you don’t have to undertake a huge landscaping project that requires a lot of money and upkeep, but you do need to make your home’s front yard visually appealing and practical.

Not sold on investing your time in landscaping? According to HouseLogic and landscape economist John Harris, “good landscaping can add up to 28 percent to the overall value of a house and cut it’s time on the market 10 to 15 percent.” What’s more, Clemson University reports that simply upgrading your curb appeal from good to excellent when it comes to condition, placement, and design can add six to seven percent to a home’s value.


So where do you begin? For starters, trees can reduce stress in just five minutes, so why not plant a few? If you do decide adding a little shade to your yard may do you some good, HouseLogic recommends that you check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator. This tool, according to the website:

…allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide. This tool is based on i-Tree’s street tree assessment tool called STREETS. With inputs of location, species and tree size, users will get an understanding of the environmental and economic value trees provide on an annual basis. 

To test out the tool, I randomly input a 12 inch diameter Golden Weeping Willow located on a single family residential property in Long Beach, California. Here’s the chart it returned:



I learned that this type of tree provides overall benefits amounting to $195 every year, and if it’s cared for and grows to 17 inches, it will provide $227 in annual benefits. Furthermore, it will intercept 287 gallons of storm-water runoff this year, will increase the property value year-by-year, will conserve 83 Kilowatt-hours of electricity, and will reduce atmospheric carbon by 140 pounds.

HouseLogic also reports that according to a Portland, Oregon study, “[healthy, mature, native] trees with a sizable canopy growing within 100 feet of other houses added about $9,000 to their sale price and shaved two days off its time on the market.”


While maintaining a lawn of non-native turf grass can cost up to $20,000 over 20 years, maintaining an acre of native plants over the same amount of time costs only $3,000, shows a study by Applied Ecological Services Inc.

Native plants can also help wildlife, and you can even be awarded by the National Wildlife Federation for creating a natural habitat for birds and other animals.

Lastly, native plants boost a home’s value anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on the size of the yard.


So why not get outdoors and try your hand at landscaping? You never know: if it turns out you have a green thumb, you may be able to pull in more green from sellers.


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