Does Landscaping Give a Good Return on Investment?

Boost Your Roost contest points up what an appraisal is and isn’t and the fact that home value is more than financial.

At the end of episode 5 of our Boost Your Roost series, we’ll reveal the post-landscaping appraisal and value add for the contest winners’ backyard makeover, which included installing a door, pouring a concrete patio, and adding plants.

If you landscape your yard, will you get the same ROI as the Smiths did?

Nope. You might appraise higher. Or lower. Appraisals are hyper-local: An appraisal in Santa Maria, Calif., where the Smiths live, has nothing to do with the outcome of an appraisal in MacLean, Va., or even nearby San Luis Obispo, Calif. 

Appraisers give their best opinion of value based on how a home’s features stack up against those of similar homes recently sold nearby. In addition, appraisal values shift with market changes. A home appraised at $150,000 today might appraise higher or lower two months from now.

So is a landscape makeover worthwhile? You bet!

Like any home improvement, it enhances qualify of life. “Having a usable yard is huge” especially for Aaron, who uses a wheelchair, says Sandy MacCuish, who appraised the Smiths’ home before and after the makeover. “The Smiths can now use the entire backyard, and it’s accessible from the dining room. The traffic flow is good, and the door brings in more light than the window did.”

And when it comes time to sell, landscaping is the first thing people will notice. In fact, many people make up their minds about a property within the first few seconds.

But don’t do a landscaping project just to flip a house. You won’t get your money back, MacCuish notes. In that case, you’re better off redoing a dated kitchen or bath, he says.

Other exterior projects — yea curb appeal! — that typically offer a good recovery of initial project costs, according to “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, are:

  • New vinyl siding, which recovers 83% of its cost.