Curb appeal is crucial when you’re trying to sell your home—but did you know that a well-maintained yard, custom outdoor features, and general exterior upkeep of your residence can tremendously influence a home’s potential resale value?

Adding Value

An attractive yard has been proven to have a price advantage of 12 to 15 percent more than homes without quality landscaping, according to a study conducted by Virginia Tech horticulturist, Alex Niemiera. Let’s do the math on that—for a $200,000 home, if you boosted your home’s value by 13 percent with landscaping, you would have made $26,000—considerably more money than you spent landscaping.

The value exponentially builds when you begin thinking beyond shrubs and flowerbeds. Consider structural features additions such as lighting, fences, fire pits, swimming pools, ponds, terraces, outdoor rooms, and decks to really help increase the value of your home.

Hire Professionals

A professional landscaping service may seem like a nonessential luxury, but it can help you gain equity in your home and save money by recommending features and plantings that will appeal to buyers and are cheap to maintain. A landscape architect can work with clients to develop a detailed plan, stretching over a six months to a few years, in order for plantings to mature at varying rates and provide the property with a polished, cohesive look. Bob Vila, renowned home improvement television host and renovation guru, warns:

“Perhaps the biggest mistake homeowners make is a piecemeal approach to landscaping. Homeowners begin projects, start to clear areas, put in a mix of plants, and proceed without a plan. The result is a hodgepodge of plantings and gardens that give the property a disorganized feel.”

Questions to Consider About Your Outdoor Space

So you realize that your yard may need some improvements, but where to start? Consider the following questions to decide where to focus your efforts.

  • Take a look at your trees. Are they at a safe distance from the house and are they well maintained?
  • Is the landscaping conducive to the energy-efficiency of the home overall?
  • How often are you prepared to maintain the landscaping? Plans that require little to no water to maintain could be ideal depending on the climate and your eagerness to do yard work.
  • Is the landscaping compelling enough to make potential buyers want to walk through the door? Try to keep a style that is contemporary and comparable to other properties in the area.

A Couple Quick DIY Tips

  • Subtle details can make a huge difference. Pay attention to the little things—one tip that really cleans your yard’s appearance is to curve the edges of your flowerbed. Studies have shown that this practice itself can increase your home value by 1 percent.
  • Always maintain a well-defined edge between the grass and ground covering to achieve that manicured look.
  • Add bright flowers for splashes of color
  • Invest in larger, well-established shrubs and perennials to give the impression you’re not just starting on your landscaping
  • Fertilize on a regular basis. Buyers would rather see a lush, green lawn than a patchy, brown mess.