by Erin Vaughan
Good news, homeowners!
In a recent University of Michigan study, landscape updates were shown to boost property values up to 11 percent. That means that if you’re looking to boost your home’s rates on your next evaluation, your best bet may be to head to the backyard.
But sophistication counts, researchers found. Homes that featured a curated, professional look scored significantly better among buyers.
Meanwhile, landscape updates perform well on cost-versus-value reports as well. Decks, in particular, fare well along these measures.
In 2016, a midrange deck recouped 75 percent of its cost to install, beating out both bathroom and kitchen remodels. For context, the overall cost-versus-value rate for improvement projects in 2016 came in at around 64 percent.
That means you stand to reap substantial benefits by investing in your lawn and outdoor living spaces. In fact, some experts indicate that a $20,000 investment here could net around $200,000 when you resell.
That means every 1$ you put into the backyard is worth 10$ in improved value. Still, some improvements perform better than others, and it pays to stay up on outdoor trends.
Here are a couple of projects that will do the most for your home’s bottom line.
Turn Your Backyard Into An Extension Of Your Home
Landscaping and interior design experts both have been excited recently about the concept of the outdoor living area. The idea is to create spaces perfect for leisure and enjoying pleasant weather and nights spent with loved ones.
Meanwhile, open indoor rooms with large windows and glass doors give full views of your landscaping and outdoor panoramas.
To get the look for your outdoor space, extend your patio out past its current boundaries. You can implement circular cutouts for trees, shrubs, or attractive flower beds, lined with pavers. For the ideal outdoor hosting spot, add a dry stone fire pit or an outdoor kitchen with a stone countertop and grill.
Manufactured concrete stones come in interesting colors and unique textures that allow you to put your personal stamp on the project.
Boost Your Property Value—Without Growing Your Home’s Water Footprint
Backyards offer a chance to show off your home’s water efficiency, as well. Irrigation systems labeled with the EPA’s WaterSense seal carry weight among environmentally-minded homeowners.
This is especially important if you want to resell or add value to your home. As you might predict, interest in water-efficient properties soars during periods of drought.
But homes labeled with any kind of green certification tend to do well on the market. One study noticed a nine percent premium for properties carrying such labels. Using EPA-certified products lends credibility to any water-efficiency claims your realtor makes to potential buyers.
Surveys consistently demonstrate home shoppers’ rising interest in green properties. For instance, in one such study, an overwhelming amount of homeowners—up to 94 percent—who had purchased a green home in the past said they’d readily recommend such properties to a friend.
What’s more, 91 percent said they would definitely choose a green home if they were to relocate. Fifty-five percent said it didn’t even matter to them that their green home cost a little more than a conventional home.
Many of the most advanced irrigation controls are WiFi-connected and programmed to pull in data from local weather forecasts to prevent overwatering when it rains. They also time sprinkler use so that it’s just enough for the local climate. This can reduce water use by as 8,800 gallons annually, according to the EPA.
Another great eco-conscious option is permeable pavements. These allow for the proper percolation for surface water into the ground and reduce the risk and severity of flooding. Hence, they are great solution when designed as a means for water harvesting. In colder climates, they speed up the melting process of snow, reduce winter hazards and cost-savings on de-icing salt and snow removal.
Many states/municipalities encourage the use of permeable pavements by offering tax incentives and utility fee reductions. You may want to check with your local government to see if they offer local incentives for their use.
Succulents or ornamental grasses can give a backyard an edgy flair and reduce the home’s water footprint. They’re lovely when paired with stone pathways or in flower beds built with retaining walls. They also beautifully complement the hardscaping projects mentioned in the section above.
Outdoor Lighting: More Than a Security Feature
Many high-end outdoor spaces now concentrate on lighting, even when the sun starts to fall.
Surveys show that 84 percent of respondents consider a home’s landscaping to be a determining factor in whether or not to purchase a home. Outdoor lighting helps you make the most of this and adds sophistication to your property, no matter what time of day you wind up showing it.
Dramatic uplighting highlights unique architectural features on your home. It can also draw attention to ponds and fountains, trees, fences, and other eye-catching areas in your yard.
Meanwhile, downlighting adds a welcoming feel to patios and other exterior seating. And there’s a lot more to it than floodlights. Circle cored LED paver lights can be concealed in your walkways and bounders. This allows you to add bright accents along paths or walls for extra ambience in your exterior living spaces.
For an enchanting look, try the LED lights that look like miniature sculptures. For a more classic look, opt for the LED string lights controlled via WiFi.
Make It Count with the Professional Touch
Uplighting landscaping features for dramatic effect is an art all to its own. For that reason, you may want to consult with a professional for this part of your landscaping efforts.
Complicated landscaping designs like installing water features, retaining walls, and hardscaping projects can often use a trained eye and a little expertise. Professional landscapers can advise you on the best types of designs to fit your climate and outdoor aesthetic. They’ll also have experience pulling permits if they’re required for your larger projects.
A landscaper can also take the guesswork out of construction jobs, such as hardscaped seating, fire pits, paths and stone walls, and tiered courtyards and garden walls.
Typically, professionals charge between $50 to $75 an hour. Still, most will draw up designs for you to DIY if you want to save money and do some of the hard labor yourself.
Smart landscaping, better lighting, and enviable stone features will give professional polish to your exteriors.
But watch out—you may just make the neighbors jealous!
READY TO START YOUR PROJECT?
About the author
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener, and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.