Updated: May 24, 2023

Trim Your Green to Make Green: Landscaping on a Budget

Landscaping doesn't have to be a pain, but putting in the extra work could land you a better deal when selling your home.
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No matter how many times you hear it, it never gets old: Presentation is everything. A well-maintained yard could be the difference between a quick sell and a lengthy wait.

Patio Flickr | brewbooks via Compfight cc
Patio Flickr | brewbooks via Compfight cc

According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors survey of homebuyers, 71% say landscape is a big factor when deciding on buying a home. In prepping your home for a sale, you should begin by evaluating your curb appeal—how attractive is your home from the outside?

Isn't landscaping expensive?

First things first, you should plan before placing your home up for sale. The prep process (aside from landscaping) can be long and tedious. Create a realistic plan before marketing your home. You don't want to be unprepared when you start to receive interest in your home. After you've made your plan, you may be thinking lawn renovation is a costly endeavor.

Don't let the word "landscaping" intimidate you financially. Instead, think about the beautification of your property as an investment. Having your home look presentable doesn't mean purchasing Victorian statues and marble fountains. Some of the simplest modifications can go a long way. The following questions can help you figure out how much to add to or subtract from your yard.

How well-maintained is your yard?

If you walk outside and stand on the sidewalk, how does your home compare to others? Do you feel a sense of happiness when you look at your home? If the appearance of your home doesn't move you, chances are buyers won't be moved either. If you live somewhere with dramatically varying temperatures throughout the year, like the Midwest, your yard could be weather-torn. Look for dead grass, flowers and shrubbery. Take into account fallen or broken tree branches.

You want your home to have a polished look, therefore a critical eye is key for proper maintenance. If you have a backyard, don't forget to survey that area of your property as well. Fix any broken lights or wobbly railing. Throw out broken outdoor furniture. Make a day of it with your family.

How cluttered is your yard?

Now that the cleaning is over, take another look at your yard. Are the flowerbeds over grown? Do tree branches encroach upon your doorway? Do you have one too many garden statues? Enlist your friends in helping you consider what  in your yard is a distraction. Ask them to be honest with you about your lawn decorations. You may think a particular garden statue is a great addition, but a potential buyer may not feel the same way. If your lawn is neat and your flowers and bushes are properly pruned, no one would fault you for not having more items in your yard.

What kind of ambiance do you want to create?

Just like each room in your home should have a specific purpose or theme, so should your yard. You don't want to leave potential buyers confused about the atmosphere you are a trying to create. Feng Shui principles can help you channel the flow of energy outside your home. At the end of your landscaping journey, you want your home to look like one connected piece. Is your home a family home? Then choose a look that is attractive for kids and pets. You shouldn't go out and buy a jungle gym unless you want one.

If your home is small enough for a single person or a couple, you may want to draw attention to a patio or another area outside of your home that is perfect for someone to lay back and relax.

Think with your buyer in mind. Your yard will be the first thing potential buyers see. The objective is to cultivate interest before they even enter the home.

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