Landscaping to Increase the Value of Your Home

No matter what the economic climate is, homeowners who are moving want to sell their house quickly, and for the highest possible price. Improving the landscaping is one way to help sell your home, and if you plan ahead, you can see a significant return on your investment. Plants can be purchased inexpensively when they are young; purchasing mature specimens for an "instant landscape" is much more expensive. Most landscapes take about five years mature adequately, but potential purchasers are more likely to see potential in a well-planned, but immature planting, than in a messy, overgrown yard.

Certain elements of a landscape are more appealing to potential buyers than others. According to the book Landscaping Makes Cents: Smart Investments that Increase Your Property Value, by Frederick Campbell and Richard Dube, the elements most often desired by home buyers are:

annual flowers
arbor or pergola
birdhouse or bird feeder
deck
good drainage
dust reduction
fall colour
fences
foundation plantings
fragrance
garage
garden bench
good view from the house
good view of the house from the street
ground cover (lawn alternative)
hot tub or jacuzzi
lawn
lighting
low-maintenance garden
multilevel decking
parking
patio
porch
resale value
shade trees
spring-flowering bulbs
stone walls
storage shed
swimming pool
vistas
walkways
windbreaks

Of course, not all of these elements can be incorporated into every landscape. For example, you either have a great view of the ocean, or you don't, and you can't add one to your suburban yard on the prairies. Other elements, such as a hot tub or swimming pool, may be desired by some buyers, while others may consider their maintenance to be too much trouble. However, a lawn, a storage area, some flowers, walkways, a shade tree, a deck or patio and fences can generally be incorporated into any yard, hopefully adding appeal for most potential buyers.

When reading this list of important elements, what stands out to me is that they are all functional. Potential buyers want a yard that is useful, with a place for their barbecue, their deck furniture, their car and their swing set. A functional design with plenty of pretty flowers will most likely help your house sell the most quickly. And if your landscaping isn't very attractive, be sure to sell your house in the winter when your dying lawn is safely covered in snow.

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