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The Value of Landscaping

By: Sandra Nelson; Images Sandy DeFoe

house for saleWe have two houses in the neighborhood that are up for sale. Being the curious sort (and I have to admit, wondering about property values), I’ve scouted both of them out a bit. They are remarkably similar in age, layout and upkeep but their prices are markedly different, to the tune of almost $14,000. Looking at both of them objectively, I can understand and justify the price difference. One has incredibly beautiful landscaping. The other…well, just doesn’t.


Design by Embassy Landscape Group

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), well-designed, professional landscaping “can increase a home’s price tag 15 to 20 percent more at the time of resale.”  Bryan McKenzie, an expert in the field points out that,  “High-quality landscape designs usually have an ROI (Return On Investment) of 20 to 30 percent of the overall house value.” Today’s consumers are looking for expanded living space and low-maintenance beauty. They want sophisticated design and a mature, established vista.  To fill those needs we are suggesting nine landscaping projects that are both financially profitable and aesthetically pleasing.




An area of lush, green lawn in the landscape is an invitation for children to play and for adults to gather together and relax. The latest research shows that an attractive, well maintained lawns has the lowest cost to consumers but adds the highest ROI, 104%. 


Patios and  Decks

Design by Embassy Landscape Group

Designed for functionality as well as beauty, patios and decks can add significantly to a home's value. Not only can they deliver up to a 95% ROI, but a patio or deck immediately increases livable space for family and friends. Adding protection from the intense summer sun extends its usefulness even further.


Fire Pits 

fire pit

Design by Embassy Landscape Group

Nothing builds memories like crisp autumn evenings spent sharing  a quiet moment together by the fire or huddling around the fire with family and friends, roasting marshmallows for s’mores . Having a professionally installed fire pit with surrounding seating can make that a reality. A natural stone, gas fire pit can add not just charm to your backyard, but a 65 - 70% ROI. 


Water Features

water feature

Design by Embassy Landscape Group

Whether it’s a tiny placid pond, a bubbling  waterfall  or a slowly flowing stream, water features offer mental, physical and monetary benefits to a property. Blue space, which has been proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation, is listed as a highly desirable feature, especially in high end homes.


Landscape Lighting

lightingBathing a house and landscape in well placed lighting creates a sense of dramatic beauty, improves safety, increases property values up to 20% and gives a 50% ROI at a home’s sale. Surveys consistently show outdoor lighting to be one of the most desired features for homebuyers.




Design by Embassy Landscape Group

Mature trees exude a sense of stability and permanence that often appeals to homebuyers. They also add value. A single healthy, mature tree planted in an appropriate location has a value of up to $9,000. A stand of healthy, mature trees easily increases the value of a property by 20%. In addition, the protection provided by trees can help reduce a homeowner’s energy bills by two to three hundred dollars per year. 


Smart Irrigation Systems

irrigation systemConserving our limited water supply and saving on ever higher water bills are common concerns among both home buyers and home owners. Installing highly efficient irrigation systems with “smart” controllers addresses both issues. On average, the use of a smart controller annually can save up to 7500 gallons of water and reduce water bills by over $400. Smart irrigation systems show one of the highest ROI’s, at 87%.



Eco-friendly/ Sustainable Landscaping


Design by Embassy Landscape Group

Whether the term is eco-friendly, drought tolerant or sustainable, the philosophy is the same.  Converting a traditional landscape to a waterwise one, can raise the value of a property by 12 to 15 percent. These sustainable landscapes not only cut water and upkeep costs, but also reduce the amount of time spent in day to day maintenance, allowing more time to sit back and enjoy life. 


Outdoor Kitchen/ Entertaining Space


Design by Embassy Landscape Group

These days, people are spending more time outdoors, and al fresco dining is a big part of that time. Efficient outdoor kitchens and comfortable dining areas add enjoyment to the experience, but knowing the value they add to the property makes them even more desirable. Depending on the style and scope of the kitchen and dining room, ROI can range between 55% to 200%.