By Tara Hickock
It’s easy being green in Seattle. The Emerald City got its nickname from the lush plants and trees that make up a big part of our ecosystem. It also means most homes have at least some kind of landscaping that boosts home values in the real estate market. But the sophistication and design can make tens of thousands of dollars of difference in the offers you get. Let’s take a closer look at how home landscaping design affects the value of your home.
More Green = More Green
An oft-cited study out of Virginia Tech found that most homebuyers rank landscape design as the most important factor. The most preferred landscape has big trees, lots of colorful annual flowers, and a colored hardscape, like a patio or walkway.
Another study from Michigan also found landscaping is critical when selling a home. Researchers found sophisticated landscaping increased the value of a home by anywhere from 5% to 12%. The median price of a home in Seattle sits at $880,000 – so that comes out to anywhere between $44,000 to $105,600 more.
Put Your Landscaping To Work
Your landscaping is more than window dressing. It can play a part in how energy efficient your home is. Big trees can serve as a windbreak in the winter and shade your house from the sun in the summer. Planting one of the best grass types for Seattle, such as perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass, makes your lawn more eco-friendly and low-maintenance. The lawn will help with storm drainage, prevent erosion, and help keep the property cooler during the warm season.
There’s only so much you can do to change the actual structure of your home, but your landscaping can help your home stand out and appeal to buyers. The Virginia Tech study also found that plant size is important. Mature trees and flowering plants will boost your curb appeal. It can also help differentiate your property if you’re in a subdivision or neighborhood where the architectural styles are very similar. Standing out from the crowd is easy if your landscape design is thoughtful and planned.
Homebuyers want to spend time enjoying their yard, not working in it. Automatic irrigation systems are essential. Drought-tolerant gardens with native plants are also eco-friendly, requiring little water or maintenance. Keep in mind, the more hardscaping features you have, the less lawn there is to mow.
Things to Avoid
Landscape design – or lack of it – can conversely drag down the value of your property. Whether it’s neglected and overrun with weeds and uncut grass, or just poorly planned, a bad landscape design can affect the value of your property. Other things that lower the value include:
● Sloping lawns
● Too many leafy trees too close to the house
● Poor drainage
● Poor lighting
● Too many lawn ornaments
High-maintenance landscaping can definitely impact the price at closing. If you’re not sure how to fix it, a professional landscaper can be a great return on investment.
Houses are selling fast in this market, but you can’t afford to let your guard down if you want the best price. A little bit of landscaping will help you get a lot more at closing time.
Tara Hickock is an interior designer who also designs and decorates outdoor living spaces. Her designs focus on bringing the outdoors inside to give homes a natural touch. She recently remodeled her own home and created a screened-in sunroom for her guests to enjoy the outdoors, even in winter.