Americans are realizing that one of the best ways to increase a home’s
resale value is to revamp the landscape. Smart Money magazine published a special report in its March 2005 issue
entitled “Add 15 Percent to Your Home’s Value.” The magazine told its readers, “One of your greatest
assets may be your own backyard, literally”. Numerous studies dating back to the late 1980s conclusively show that landscaping can increase property values. In
its June 2005 issue, Illinois Landscape magazine
cited a Society of Real Estate Appraisers Survey, which noted that 95 percent of the appraisers responding to the survey believed
that landscaping adds to the dollar value of residential real estate. Moreover, 99 percent of them said landscaping enhanced
the sales appeal of residential real estate.
provides a very functional role in that it can increase the usability of your property. A carefully planned and landscaped
yard can double or triple the square footage of living space through the creation of outdoor rooms. By creating different
areas for cooking, dining, recreation, and relaxation, you have more living options than if you relied on the inside of your
According to a recent study by the
U.S. Forest Service, trees can increase a home's value by three to seven percent. Meanwhile, poor landscape design can actually
decrease property values by up to 10-percent according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture.
Curb Appeal Exercise
The next time
you come to a home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings.
- What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
- What are the best exterior features of the house
or lot? How can the homeowner enhance them?
- What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can the seller
minimize or improve them?
a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit.
Curb Appeal Checklist
Overall appearance: Remove any junk or clutter from the yard. This includes tree limbs and
leaves, but especially goes for junk cars or parts, etc.
If the exterior of the house is dirty or moldy, power wash it. If it is in need of paint, get competitive bids if you can't
do it yourself.
Grass: If possible, reseed any bare areas of the lawn.
Landscaping: Trim all shrubbery and plantings. Trim trees if necessary, especially dead limbs.
Driveway: If the driveway is stone and looking lean, add a coat of gravel. If it is asphalt,
Decks and porches: Power wash and seal, stain or paint.
Gutters and downspouts: Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear and functioning
Lights: Make sure that all exterior lights are operational.
Landscaping: If the season is right, plant colorful flowers where appropriate.
Landscaping: Add mulch to planting beds and around trees. An inexpensive but very effective way of
freshening the look of the yard.
Windows: Make sure the exterior (and the interior) of windows
is clean and operational.
A large percentage
of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house or take it seriously based on its curb appeal—the view they
see when they drive by or arrive for a showing. The seller can help make sure they want to come inside their house by spending
some time working on the exterior appearance.
Buyers think they care more about the inside of
the house than the landscaping, but in reality, most buyers won't even get out of their car if the front landscaping lacks
the promise of great details inside. Therefore, the landscaping needs to arouse buyers' expectations and entice them into
viewing the inside of the home.
When marketing a home, you'll get
the highest return for each landscaping dollar when the seller employs Design Psychology tactics. Design Psychology is based
on scientific research into the underlying psychological effects of design on buyers, and these innovative design ideas will
help your home sell quickly, and for more money, by influencing buyers' emotions.
Begin by coordinating the colors of the flowering
foliage. Think about the selling season and plan for flowering plants that perform well during that time. Also give thought
to the desired atmosphere and use plants to support that concept.
Use a lot of green and white
in your color scheme. Green conjures feelings of coolness, freshness, and vitality, while white flowers also suggest cleanliness,
and show up better at night, when many buyers will be looking at houses. Since yellow is the first color our eyes process,
yellow flowers by the front door attract the buyer’s eye from a distance.
Appealing to Buyers’ Sense of Smell
to the overall scents of flowering trees, bushes, vines, and flowers in the yard, and take advantage of plants that support
the desired emotional outcome. Lemon-scented geraniums add refreshing scents that contribute to a desert oasis feel, for instance,
while jasmine adds a tropical feeling. Rosemary and French lavender enhance Mediterranean-style settings.
Adding amenities for emotional support
An alluring appeal
begins with the access to the home. If there is no dedicated walkway to the front door, add a simple pathway. A wandering
pathway to the front door psychologically feels better than a straight-shot walkway. If there is a plain, straight concrete
walkway, create undulating flower beds on either side to encourage a relaxed, friendly feeling. Adding a water feature also
enhances the ambiance, because moving water relaxes the body and mind and refreshes the spirit. Create a feeling of balance
and harmony, like that found in nature.
to start on the exterior is to motivate the neighbors to also begin sprucing up their properties, because having the entire
neighborhood look good will greatly enhances the value of property.
well-conceived landscaping has the advantage when it comes to selling a house. If a home makes buyers feel good while they're
on the property, you'll sell it quickly, and for top dollar!