Top 3 Landscaping Changes That Boost Property Values by 20 Percent or More

Landscaping is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to increase the curb appeal of your real estate investments. There’s no limit to the changes that can be made to the exterior design elements of your home or investment property in order to increase property values. Smart landscape gardening is indeed an investment, and what you choose to add is essential to the return you end up with.

Wheelbarrows in the garden

What elements you choose to improve or add into the mix is very important. Especially if you’re an inexperienced investor or home-owner seeking to sell their home for profit in the near future. Throwing money at a property without thinking it through can quickly become an “expense” rather than an investment.

*Keep in mind that properties located in a community with a homeowner’s association need approval before altering any of the landscaping elements on that property.

Here’s the best 3 landscaping elements you can add to your home or investment property to ensure a higher return from buyers:

1. Add Outdoor Lighting

While it’s hard to adorn a yard with greenery such as trees and plants that every home buyer will find desirable, outdoor lighting is a landscaping element that nearly every single buyer you’ll come in contact with will immediately want. This choice has very little to do with how that lighting looks – eg., the particular hue it gives off, or what color it is – though I don’t recommend black lighting or any particular choice you might find on a Christmas tree!

Outdoor lighting

First and foremost, outdoor lighting really makes the home and other landscaping elements on the property stand out at night. This is important for any buyer who takes pride in the beauty of their home and surrounding property. In fact, outdoor lighting tops this list because over 90 percent of home buyers deem it as essential or desirable for making a purchase decision.

Second, and just as important, a well-lit property is the last place a burglar or anyone else intent on wrong-doing will prefer as a target for criminal activity. Lighting also makes the home more desirable to folks who plan to entertain and have parties, along with parents and aging home buyers who deem lighting essential to both their and their family’s safety.

Last, but certainly not least, sufficient outdoor lighting and a lack of insurance claims on the home will lower homeowner’s insurance premiums, which in turn adds overall value to the property itself when it comes time to sell.

2. Add Indigenous Plants

Every plant element on the property should be native to the area. Going any other route with a home you intend to sell is a mistake. A mistake often made by homeowners looking to make their property unique, or investors of all kinds who think doing so will add more curb appeal. Plants don’t just add a visual element to a property, they hold and divert water to prevent basements and sewer systems from flooding, while also providing an ecosystem for local habitat.

Indigenous plants

Non native plants often create more hassle than their worth, especially if the new owner didn’t choose them. There are plants that you just shouldn’t plant in your yard, for a number of reasons including incessant watering and other maintenance needs that particular non-indigenous plants may have. They can also drive up the cost of maintaining the landscaping on that property by as much as six times over the cost of maintaining native greenery and plants. However, there are flower varieties like amaryllis bulbs that require very little care but beautifies the area greatly.

There’s also a large movement now in the home buying market to own property that’s a National Wildlife Foundation “certified natural habitat” for use by indigenous animals to roost and feed on. For instance, perennial flowers for local bees to get nectar from – and flowers, plants and shrubbery for local birds and insects to thrive within.

3. Add High-Value Trees

Trees add significant value to any property, provided there’s the space to add them, and that you can get approval from your homeowner’s association and/or the town or city government, if applicable. The tree you choose does make a difference – silver and red maple, for instance, are considered the most valued in many states and provinces.

Red maple trees

The benefits to adding trees to a property are many including how they clean the air we breathe, and the fact they can save hundreds per year in heating and cooling costs by providing a wind break and shade to a home.

For these and other reasons, trees also improve the value of neighboring homes. So, adding trees to your properties is a win-win for everyone while potentially adding thousands of dollars to your bottom line.


There are many other landscaping elements you can add to a property and increase its overall value, such as adding stonework, fencing, pools, gardens, and more. Though many of those options will be considered a negative for many home buyers, just as much as some might consider them a positive.

Adding outdoor lighting, indigenous plants, and high-value trees to a property are considered the most reliable and less risky options for investors and homeowners looking to sell their homes now or in the future.