Investing in Your Landscape Pays Off

By Charlie Nardozzi

Money does grow on trees, according to a new study from Michigan State University. Researchers conducted an experiment to determine the landscape components home buyers valued the most, and how much those components increased or decreased the perceived value of the home. The results showed that a "good" landscape increased home values from 5 to 11 percent. The more mature the landscape and the more elaborate the design, the more the value increased.

Researchers showed more than 1,300 people in seven different states 16 photos of the front of a home that was landscaped to varying degrees. They created three levels of landscaping with varying plant sizes, design sophistication, and types of plant material used. Respondents were told the fair market values of the homes and asked to estimate how much the perceived value of the home increased or decreased in each photo.

In all markets the homeowners most valued the largest, most sophisticated, and most colorful landscape design. These landscapes usually featured mature evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, and colorful annual and perennial flowers. The percent increase in home values ranged from 5.5 percent in South Carolina to 11.4 percent in Mississippi. A minimalist landscaping job with few, small-sized plants and little design sophistication actually decreased the perceived value of the home.

To see the complete report, go to: American Nursery and Landscape Association.

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