Need to Justify Those New Plants?

By Kathy Bond Borie

It's well known that attractive landscaping can increase the selling price of a house, but before you bank on a return on any big landscaping projects, here's some data to consider. According to research at Laval University in Quebec, the value of landscaping may be in the eye -- or rather the age and socioeconomic group -- of the beholder.

Results from surveys of homeowners in Quebec City show that young households (ages 25 to 34) are most enthusiastic about tall shrubs or hedges in front of the house. Middle-aged buyers (ages 55 to 64) prefer a more open front yard, and once people hit 65 years old, they prefer the privacy of a fence.

You might expect that tall, mature trees on a property would appeal to everyone. Apparently not. Homeowners with a household income below $60,000 are put off by a high proportion of tall trees. Higher income respondents -- $100,000 and higher -- seem to be the most appreciative of tall, mature trees.

All age and socioeconomic groups seem to value hedges, which tend to increase property value about 3.6 to 3.9 percent. But to get an even better return on your landscaping investment, build a patio surrounded by landscaping. Your efforts could raise the selling price by about 12.4 percent.

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