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5 Landscape Renovations That Really Pay Off (and 1 That Won’t)

Paul Tosello

Looking for a Residential Real Estate Expert? Meet Paul, a Realtor with 37 years of experience and a background in residential construction...

Looking for a Residential Real Estate Expert? Meet Paul, a Realtor with 37 years of experience and a background in residential construction...

Aug 6 4 minutes read

If you want to get the most out of your outdoor space—as a lush oasis to relax in all summer, or a valuable amenity if you're hoping to sell your home—it's time to start thinking about going the whole nine yards on your yard (so to speak).

Most homeowners spend an average of $1,784 to $3,168 per landscaping project, and the good news is that they'll usually make back a good chunk of that cash.

According to landscape economist John Harris, keeping up your grounds can contribute to a whopping 28% of your home’s overall value (which makes sense, because a beautiful yard is the very definition of curb appeal). 

Freshen up what you have

Chances are your yard is running a little wild already, so cleanup comes first. In addition to pruning trees and trimming shrubs, the most inexpensive and important way to update your yard is to keep it weed-free. Be sure to whack those weeds before they go to seed, to avoid larger infestations.

Another easy way to spruce up your yard is to flip and fluff your existing mulch using a rake. It's simple, and it gives the area a fresh, earthy look.

Plant plenty of trees

Trees are one of the few things that truly appreciate over time. After all, you can buy a sapling for just $10 at the nursery. A mature tree can add $1,000 to $10,000 to the value of your home. The technical term for this: an “awesome return on investment.”

Carve out an outdoor living areas

Fire pits and permeable paving are right after low-maintenance landscaping. Adding permeable paving to a 100-square-foot area will cost about $600, and you can make your own fire pit if you're feeling handy. If you're not, prices start at around $70.

Cut your irrigation costs

The ASLA calls drought-tolerant plants a top trend. “There is a huge demand for xeriscaping”—yeah, we looked it up, too, to learn it means no water needed—“and low-water-use renovations." These environment-friendly choices cut water bills, since one-third of all household water use typically goes to landscaping. 

Installation costs range from $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot, but they add up to a savings of 36 cents per square foot annually by lowering water usage and overall maintenance. 

Mix it up

Sure, you want pretty flowers to make your yard pop. But these plants are typically annuals, meaning they live only one year. So unless you want to repeat the process (and payment) each year you'll want to mix it up with plenty of perennials, which survive for years.

Be sure to pick a variety of flowers that not only bloom at different times, but also showcase different textures, heights, colors, and shapes.

Don't take the plunge

What's not to love about a cool, refreshing, luxurious backyard pool? Well, there's the dismal return on investment, for one.

According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, for every dollar you spend on a pool you will recoup only 39 cents. Still, all that said, if you're dying for a pool, you can't put a price on all that splashy fun, so consider it an investment for your soul rather than your future equity.

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