I know a woman who told her real estate agent, "Let's make an offer" as soon as she saw the 75-year-old copper beech tree in the backyard.
Her passion for nature aside, the mature tree's foliage spread - covering the entire width of the lot - would ensure lower heating and cooling costs. And as a majestic centerpiece in the yard, that beech might increase the selling value of the house - though likely only if some decking or other landscaping feature was added to enhance the outdoor experience.
A study has found that 98% of realtors believe that mature trees have a 'strong or moderate impact' on the saleability of homes listed for over $250,000; about 83% of realtors thought the trees helped sell homes listed under $150,000.
While mature trees may move home sales, most buyers will not pay extra for trees and lawn, flowers and shrubs, says Chad Tameling of Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.
However, you can almost always get a return on your investment from decks and patios, he adds. " As decks have become more desirable, their resale value has continued to increase."
Leave it to the Pros
Sunrooms, gazebos, patios and decks - and their integration with their natural setting - are best handled by landscape architects and designers. Landscaping professionals have four-year degreed training in botany, horticulture, engineering, and design, and are experts in irrigation, soils, and property grading.
Hiring that kind of expertise isn't cheap, of course, but some people - like home decor legend, Bob Vila - say that professional landscaping can add up to 20 percent to the value of your property, as much as the return on a new kitchen or bathroom. Vila also notes that lush landscaping can save you up to 25 percent in energy costs; mature trees provide shelter from the cold winds of winter and shade during the summer's heat.
Of course, not even a professional landscaper can wave a wand and get mature trees! Some other tried and true trends in landscaping include:
- Outdoor room or terrace extension that links the house and the yard
- Low-maintenance landscaping
- Artificial ponds, fountains, and waterfalls
Keep in mind that not everyone may share your personal tastes in landscaping - so try not to go with custom patio stones that are too customized, or unusual shrubbery, if you're looking to sell your property someday.
Have you invested in landscaping and seen it pay off when you went to sell your home? Leave your comments below.