Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Nobody wants their home to sit on the market for long.
Attracting home buyers with attractive landscaping is called curb appeal.
See 5 top tips for curb appeal using landscaping below.
Top landscaping tips for selling your home.
Will a home buyer drive past your house or - stop, admire and consider?
Curb appeal is important to spark buyer interest.
What is curb appeal? It is the appeal of your home for a buyer from the street.
Curb appeal can add value to a home and sell it quicker by adding landscape elements that are missing, or need improvement.
Experts say that the appearance of the house and the landscaping have an equal and “positive effect on house value” (1).
“With improved curb appeal, house prices can increase up to 17%.” (1). Imagine asking 17% more with some added curb appeal!
“As curb appeal diminishes, a residential property will be slower to sell and have decreased value” (1).
The house below would benefit from a landscape lift to enhance curb appeal.
Curb appeal is worth considering. It's like fishing. There’s nothing worse than sitting around with no bites, but when they are on (curb appeal) - it's exciting!
5 tips for improving curb appeal with landscaping.
Many sites give you tips to improve the exterior of a house, but here are 5 tips for improving curb appeal with landscaping.
Experts say that improving landscaping around your home may lift its value by 10.2% (1)!
The positive impact of improving landscaping is highlighted when you consider it is 60% of the total increase in value (with building features included).
Tip 1: Trees
Trees add beauty and environmental appeal.
Trees provide scale and bring comfort to a landscape. A bare landscape without trees can feel too open and overwhelming in scale.
“Newly built houses on tree-planted lots have a 7% higher price than those on bare lots”(1).
Experts say that tree cover can add: “ 2–9% to the value of existing houses and a single tree can add as much as 2%”! Additionally, “An estimated 30% of the price increase is due to added tree cover “ (1).
Adding trees is a must for curb appeal. Can you plant too many trees? Yes! Having too many trees has “a negative impact on price” (This also refers to an abundance of other plant material) (1).
Choosing the right trees for curb appeal is important. If trees grow too big they can be a hazard near a house. Others are thirsty and create bare patches in lawns, some are messy all year round, while others only drop leaves in autumn.
Colour is important. While mid green is easy on the eye, lighter greens can provide an added sense of cooling where dark leaf colours (like purple and red) can add attractive contrast.
Deciduous trees can provide a sculptural effect during autumn and winter, especially when lit underneath, and flowering trees are always a draw card.
It is important to create the right balance with trees for curb appeal.
Tip 2: Hedges
Just getting it out there: hedges don't need to be formal.
Hedges don't need to be lots of work. Many don't need clipping. Soft flowing hedges can make a buyer feel relaxed in the landscape. Clipped hedges can add sophistication.
Lines of hedges compliment the lines of a house, bringing harmony and impact.
Hedges can be arranged as tall, medium and low level displays in contrasting greens, or using deep green as a background, with a flowering hedge in front.
Sophisticated elements in the landscape (including hedges) can be 42% of landscape appeal (1).
Hedges don't need to be screens but privacy is a desirable factor for curb appeal.
Hedges draw the line of sight along a fence to a building, and boldly
make a shape statement in the landscape.
Experts add that, “ Specific landscape characteristics, such as hedges or walls and landscaped curbs, each add 4% to property value” (2).
Others estimate a price perception increase of 3.6 to 3.9% when adding a hedge(2).
Fitting hedges into a landscape has the capacity to add value, especially when strategically used for privacy, design or colour impact.
Tip 3: Lawns
Healthy lawns are a winner with curb appeal!
Unfortunately, many households neglect this garden element, and feed the roses instead!
A study showed that quality lawns, especially Zoysia, “positively and significantly influenced the price" (of a home) (2).
Imagine buyers gliding past your home with an even coloured, neatly clipped lawn. It’s a sign that the rest of the property is in good order. It shows that care and attention has gone into maintenance overall.
Too much lawn is a no-no. The “just right” Goldilocks principle should be applied here. If you have too much lawn and minor planting, the perception is: “too much work!”
In a culture sensitive to sustainability, the combination of lawns and plantings communicate environmental priorities. Additionally, the coverage of lawns in residential areas is thought to contribute “5 percent of the . . . carbon dioxide absorbed by all plants” (2).
In practical terms, lawns cool an environment, provide soft fall for play, and absorb runoff while adding moisture to the atmosphere.
If your lawn is patchy, discoloured and weedy, then consider buyers may drive on. They may not want to restore it, replant it, or spend hours treating it for weeds.
Installing a quality variety lawn adds value to your home.
Tip 4: Garden Plants
The drive past buyer may linger longer if your curbside plantings are attractive.
Some claim that good landscaping can boost property value by 28%!
Is your landscape poor, average, good or possibly excellent?
A study found that 22% of homes for sale were poorly landscaped, 36% were average, 27% were good, and only 15% were excellent. There is certainly some scope for improvement there!
On average, excellent landscapes drew a 6 to 7% higher price tag (3).
Achieving a “good" ranking, or an even higher status has its rewards. A landscape designer can provide a plan to lift the curb appeal of your home. They can assess what needs to stay and go, and what would add design sophistication to the landscape.
Is it worth lifting your curb appeal with landscaping?
Consider : “The value of an attractive landscape to a home’s perceived value has often been stated at 15 percent.”(1). Therefore, if you spend 5% of the sale price on improving curb appeal , you could make three times that investment in real estate dollars!
Tip 5: Decoratives and Finishes
This includes urns, sculptures, trough plantings, outdoor furniture, quality landscape products, edging and some hard landscaping like painting a driveway to harmonise with the roof colour.
Tastefully selected elements catch the eye from the curb, as do harmonious colours and shapes.
For example, you could: invest in a large shallow urn for a traditional home, and fill it with coloured petunias and centre it on the lawn; have a sculptural plant in a minimalist urn for a modern dwelling, or draw the buyers eye to the facade with an attractive sculpture.
The choice and selection of plantings on a front patio can add up to 12.4% in value (2),
especially when outdoor entertaining and living is so popular.
The principle of “less is more” could be followed here. Correct selection is preferable to clutter.
Curb appeal is a must for anyone wishing to have prospective buyers: stop, admire and consider.
Chris Hinton (Assoc Dip Hort, B. Arts B. Teach [Hons]) is a horticulturist with over 40 years experience and is the Co-Director of Ezi Mat subsurface irrigation. His resume includes roles in horticulture education, landscape construction management, landscape design, interior plantscaping, horticulture marketing and retail and wholesale production.