Studies have shown that investing in landscaping can add substantial value to your home, with some estimates suggesting increases of up to 20%.

Studies have shown that investing in landscaping can add substantial value to your home,
with some estimates suggesting increases of up to 20%.

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions are everything. That’s why curb appeal — the initial impression a prospective homebuyer gets from the exterior of your home — is so crucial. It’s not just about making your home look nice; it’s about increasing its selling price and reducing the time it spends on the market.

Studies have shown that investing in landscaping can add substantial value to your home, with some estimates suggesting increases of up to 20%. However, not all landscaping projects are created equal, and it is essential to focus on projects that provide the best return on investment (ROI) while avoiding potential pitfalls.

According to research by The University of Texas at Arlington, curb appeal can enhance a home’s value by up to 7%, and during weaker markets, this figure can rise to 14%. Moreover, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests that professional landscaping can increase a home’s price by 15 – 20%.

But what landscaping projects deliver the highest ROI? For starters, the ASLA advises that spending on yard improvements should not exceed 10-20% of the home’s value. Projects that add exterior living space and offer low-maintenance beauty tend to provide optimal value. Conversely, landscaping that appears high-maintenance or too specialized may deter potential buyers.

The pathway leading to your home’s front door is the first area prospective homebuyers notice, followed by the features in the backyard that frame the home’s interior ambiance. Investing in these areas can yield significant returns. To get you started, the following are the landscaping projects recommended by the ASLA.  

A sophisticated landscape design is the most sought-after feature homebuyers seek. But trees are a close second — especially mature trees. While it is more costly to plant a tree than a shrub, a tree requires less maintenance after it is established. It provides shade, bird habitat, and that all-important curb appeal factor.  

Adding a deck expands your outdoor living space and adds value to your home. This hardscaping feature expands your outdoor living space — a sought-after trait. Wood decks are a cost-effective option, while composite decks offer low maintenance and an eco-friendly feature since they are typically made from recycled wood fibers and plastic materials.

With rising temperatures, drought-resistant landscaping, or xeriscaping, is gaining popularity. It can increase property value by 10-12% by requiring less maintenance and water than traditional landscaping. With proper planning, xeriscaping can bring gorgeous landscaping that needs 50-70% less water than a lawn to thrive.  According to a recent article in, xeriscaping typically relies on local plants accustomed to the climate, making them easier to care for. 

Landscape lighting and overall maintenance complete the ASLA list of value-increasing projects. Lighting enhances aesthetics and adds to the home’s sense of safety and security. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a simple mowing, pruning, and freshening of mulch can bring a 104% ROI.

However, not all landscaping projects add value to your home. ASLA advises avoiding projects like Asian Zen gardens or cactus gardens anywhere but in the Southwest, large green lawns in drought-prone areas, water features such as swimming pools, ponds or waterfalls, and elaborate hardscaping such as outdoor kitchens. 

Less is more when landscaping to enhance your home’s value. By investing wisely in your landscaping, you can increase your home’s value and enjoy the added beauty and functionality until you’re ready to sell.

For more insights, read the full article at

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit