Does landscaping increase property value?

By Diana Dietz | June 26, 2013 | 3 min. read

Landscaping not only increases curb appeal, but can give real estate properties a 15 percent increase in value, says a Virginia Tech study. The study discovered that the perceived value of a home is affected by plant size, type, and design in landscaping.

A review of research by Virginia Tech Horticulturist Alex Niemiera found that a well landscaped home had a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. That advantage ranged from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.

This research shows landscaping goes beyond simply sticking flowers and shrubs in the ground. According to the study, the biggest factor that buyers look for in home exteriors is a design that is sophisticated. Plant size and maturity comes in second.

According to, the website of the original host of TV’s ‘This Old House,’ the biggest landscaping mistake that homeowners make is not having a coherent plan. Homeowners begin projects, start to clear areas, put in a mix of plants, and proceed without a plan. The result is an assortment of plantings and gardens that give the property a disorganized feel. Following a professionally prepared plan will lead the homeowner to a beautiful property while remaining within a pre-established budget.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends that homeowners invest 10 percent of the home’s value in landscaping. Landscape architecture goes beyond plantings to include structural features like lighting, fences, garden paths, fire pits, swimming pools, and ponds. Outdoor rooms, terraces, and decks are also high-yield structural investment. Fire pits and fireplaces have a 94 percent popularity rating, the survey notes.

While a well-designed landscape would prove to be beneficial in increasing property values from the point of curb appeal, poor landscaping can make property values drop by 10 percent, according to a study by the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. It pays to know what works and what does not in terms of landscaping. What may be attractive to one person may not be to another.

The overall survey conclusion was that design sophistication was the highest ranked factor that added to the perceived value of a home. Therefore, investing in the services of a landscape design professional will help optimize the value of a home. In contrast to many home improvements, the value of an investment in a landscape improvement increases over time since the growth and maturity of trees and shrubs enhance visual appeal.

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