Landscape Ideas to Boost Value

  • Images

You want a landscape that is not only enjoyable to your family, but also adds value to your home. The problem is that sometimes your goals interfere with those of your next-door neighbors. It’s difficult to design a landscape that gives you everything you want without disrupting your neighbors’ plans — especially in more crowded suburban areas. Fortunately, there are a few ideas that will help you create a beautiful, valuable landscape that your neighbors will love, too.

Consider Adding a Private Outdoor Structure

Outdoor structures such as pergolas or gazebos can add as much as 50 percent of their installation cost to the value of your home. Few other improvements can boast such a high rate of return, and in exchange, you’ll have a wonderful outdoor space where you can enjoy what nature has to offer. A well-placed outdoor structure separates you from your home, which makes outdoor events, like dinners and garden parties, feel even more natural.

Why would a pergola or gazebo aggravate the neighbors? To them, it’s a matter of privacy. They won’t like it if your outdoor structure overlooks their backyard or if it gives you a view directly into their home — and, that problem will worsen if you host lots of events, giving all of your guests the same view into your neighbors’ personal spaces.

Fortunately, the solution to this problem is easy: Landscape strategically, using evergreens, hedges or an attractive privacy fence to block the view to your neighbors’ homes. When done right, you and your neighbors will have privacy, and everyone will benefit from the value added by your attractive backyard.

Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is a simple way to increase your home’s value. Homebuyers love it because it highlights all of the wonderful aspects of their landscape. It also makes your home more welcoming to guests, and it gives you some measure of security against trespassers and potential intruders. Outdoor lighting is so valuable to homebuyers that the National Association of Home Builders lists it as one of the most desirable features, with 90 percent of surveyed homebuyers saying that it is either highly desirable or absolutely essential.

On the flip side, neighbors hate outdoor lighting when those impossibly bright spotlights shine into their homes. No one wants to sleep in a brightly lit bedroom, and even watching TV becomes a chore when the screen is covered in glare from another home’s outdoor lights. Curtains are an option, but not all of your neighbors will want to give up their view or change their decorating schemes with heavy drapes.

If you choose to go with outdoor lighting, skip the bright white security lights that point away from your home. Instead choose tasteful landscape lighting with a more subdued color temperature. Point lights toward your home and your most attractive landscape features. Use directional lighting rather than globes to ensure that stray light doesn’t affect your neighbors. Not only will this help make your home more secure, more attractive and more valuable, but also, you’ll find that well-done landscape lighting is easier on the eyes.

Plant Some Trees

Trees come with so many advantages:

  • They add character to your landscape
  • Strategically placed trees can help cut energy costs
  • Trees help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and they'll absorb storm water runoff

Because of those factors and others, trees add a lot of value for a minimal investment. Of course, some trees are more valuable than others — large, well-grown trees, for instance, will add more value than small, scrappy trees or trees that prove to be a nuisance.

From your neighbors’ perspective, however, your trees can be either a boon or a major aggravation. They won’t want to rake the leaves that happen to fall in their yard, and they certainly won’t want to deal with limbs that may fall and damage their property. Some neighbors also have sunrooms, greenhouses or gardens that won’t benefit from the extra shade. Avoid planting trees too close to the property line, and consider setting aside some time to discuss your plans with your neighbors. Think about how large the canopies will be once the trees are fully grown and use that information to place your trees in spots that won’t affect the neighbors later.

The sky is the limit when it comes to interior upgrades, but outdoors, you’ll need to factor for your neighbors unless you want to suffer their withering glares every time you venture outside. Fortunately, there are many great ways to update your landscape and boost your home’s value without disturbing the neighborhood.