Home > > Gardening > Upgrading your landscape really does “pay”

Upgrading your landscape really does “pay”

If you’re thinking of selling your house, it could make a BIG difference. How big? Maybe tens of thousands of dollars.

A reader recently alerted me to study carried out a few years ago by Clemson University. Researchers compared the sale prices of a sampling of 218 homes, based on the quality of their landscaping. Based on various criteria, landscapes received ratings of “poor,” “average,” “good,” or excellent.”

Now, here’s the really exciting point. Homes with good or excellent landscapes had a fourteen to seventeen percent higher sale value than those rated poor or average.

Think about that in terms of dollars for a moment. If homes in your area, with similar lot sizes and amenities (but only so-so landscaping), are selling for about $200,000... really attractive landscaping could command a price range of $228,000 to $234,000 for your house!

So it seems that it does pay – literally – to improve your landscaping.

Clemson University carried out their study in Greenville, SC, and results will no doubt vary depending upon where you live, but I believe that homes with attractive landscaping are perceived by home buyers as being more valuable, regardless of geographic location.

Perhaps you’ve watched shows such as “Curb Appeal” and “Designed to Sell” on HGTV. Time and again we see that a relatively small investment in upgraded landscaping helps a home sell faster and for a higher price.

But for many of those successful sellers, it’s a bittersweet moment. “I wish we had done this before, when we were living here,” they almost always say. Yes, they took away more cash when they sold the home, but if only they’d done it earlier so they could have enjoyed the attractive landscaping themselves.

With fall planting season almost upon us, and spring not far off, start planning some creative and economical ways to upgrade your own landscape. It will be an investment that will pay off in a big way if and when you decide to sell and move on. But learn a lesson from those folks you see on TV and do it now so you can enjoy your attractive new landscape every day for years to come.

How do you begin? One way, of course, is to find a professional landscape designer who can lay out your dream landscape. If you’re more of the “hands-on” type, get ideas from gardening magazines, online sources or books on landscaping.

In an upcoming column, I’ll give you some hints on laying out a landscape plan and how to get started turning that half acre of bare grass into an attractive and welcoming vista. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me via e-mail with specific questions or to request my free weekly e-mailed newsletter.

Here’s a recent question from a reader:

QUESTION: “Presently, I am having about 6 large oaks taken down around my house, due to too much shade, leaves filing up gutters and roots in the lawn. After this, I am going to grind the stumps and chase the roots. I want to put the ground up oak limbs with leaves, etc, on the back side of my acreage and spread it out over a large area. My question is: Will this mulch be fit to use around bushes or will it have too much moisture in it?” – Mike Turner

ANSWER: Yes, you will be able to use it. However, to be safe I would pile it up and leave it for about one year. This will give it a chance to leach out the acid and make it much better mulch for your plants.

The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to [email protected] For resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve’s free e-mailed newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org