Some encouraging news for builders these days: The U.S. Census Bureau shows homeownership is back on the rise at about 65%, though still well below the peak of 2005. And while location is important, it's the landscaping—or the lack of it—that catches the buyer's eye. The following top landscaping features can increase the value of your homes.
1. Thick, Green Lawns
The lawn is the emerald of the crown surrounding the home. A well-designed and maintained landscape that includes the right turf grass can increase property values by 9% to 20%. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, a lush lawn absorbs noise and reduces glare. Thick, green grass is second only to a renovated kitchen when it comes to what homebuyers are looking for; the expectation being it will improve their quality of life.
2. Shade Trees
Shade trees will also improve the value of a home, keeping the house cooler in the summer, and providing a windbreak in the winter and lowering utility bills.
Hardscapes are the nonliving elements in a landscape that complement the greenery. Fountains, benches, and statues may suit your tastes but don’t generally recoup the money spent when showing a property. Instead, build a retaining wall if the home sits on a hill. Stacked stone adds more value than railroad ties. It looks appealing and can help prevent foundation issues. The top trending hardscape feature today is the walkway to the house. Using interesting pavers or cobblestones boosts curb appeal better than poured concrete and gives the home a well-maintained look. Adding a privacy fence around the backyard also increases home values.
4. Multi-Use Areas
Create multi-use areas in the yard through thoughtful planting and hardscaping. Homebuyers want a space for relaxation, as well as entertaining. Patios are so sought-after they’re sometimes referred to as an "extra room.” But don’t get carried away with spending. The ROI on a simple paver patio is higher than those with all the bells and whistles. Outdoor kitchens are a great feature, but only for a buyer who plans to spend a lot of time outdoors. Use shrubs and flowers to section off the yard for a pet space or children’s play area. If there’s a pool, use plants to show off that area, as well.
5. Native Plants / Eco-Landscaping
Using native plants and flowers is a great way to increase property values by adding beauty without too much time and effort. Today's homeowner is looking for a low-maintenance yard. Native plants have already adapted to the climate and don’t need much water. This means they soak up less moisture from the soil, having less impact on the foundation. It can also lead to lower water bills. Native plants attract beneficial insects (pollinators), reduce pollution, and help prevent erosion.
As more homebuyers try to incorporate the outdoors into their daily living, landscaping will climb even higher on their home improvement and wish lists for their new homes.