It's all about curb appeal. According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors® and the National Association of Landscape Professionals, homeowners who invest in standard lawn care services can sow and mow as lawns as easily as seeding and mowing them to keep them green and healthy, typically see a 217% return on investment.
Those who don't want to haul a mower to their lawn typically pay about $415 for lawn maintenance.
The exterior and front yard of a home is "the first thing many homebuyers see when they drive up," says Jessica Lautz, vice president of research at NAR." It really affects whether buyers want to walk in."
Having a nicely landscaped yard not only helps the resale value of a home, but it also keeps neighbours happy. Homeowners who neglect their yards may face peer pressure to keep their properties tidy so they don't drag down local home values.
This report examines 11 common outdoor improvements and is based on four surveys. One for consumers with recent remodelling projects, two sent to real estate agents who complete remodelling jobs or work with clients who do, and one for landscaping professionals.
"There are many reasons why people might want to improve their outdoor spaces. It could be to catch the eye of homebuyers. It could be because they're tired of looking at their space and want something different," says Rouse." It could also be that they plan to spend more time outdoors, so they want a place where they can relax and enjoy themselves to the maximum."
Landscape maintenance, such as keeping shrubs trimmed and flowers blooming, generated an approximate 104 per cent return on investment for the sellers, while upgrading their overall landscaping generated an approximate 100 per cent return on investment for them.
Meanwhile, homeowners who installed their dream pools typically only recovered 56% of the cost at the time of sale. Fire features and landscape lighting also did not bring a great return on investment, at 56% and 59% respectively.
Almost all real estate agents agree that curb appeal is important when selling a home, as it is often the first impression buyers have of a property. Their top outdoor tip is for sellers to enhance landscape maintenance, lawn care services and tree care before listing a home for sale.
"Healthy outdoor living and green spaces help the environment, increase home values, make communities more desirable and improve people's mental and physical health," said Britt Wood, chief executive of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, in a statement.
Homeowners may not see as big a payoff as they would from installing an inground pool, a project that typically costs about $90,000. But it's the outdoor improvement that makes them happiest - especially when the mercury is on the rise.
"If they like to swim or their family likes the pool, they'll live there in the summer," says Rouse.
Other projects that sparked joy for homeowners included landscape lighting at a cost of about $6,800 and a new patio at a cost of about $10,500.
The jobs that brought the least joy to homeowners were an outdoor kitchen, which cost about $15,000; tree care, which cost about $2,875; and an irrigation system, which cost $6,000.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor spaces were valuable to homeowners who invested heavily in turning them into an exterior extension of their homes.
Some 92 per cent of landscaping professionals saw an increase in demand for outdoor amenities, and 79 per cent reported an increase in the scope of these projects.
"Everyone is spending more time outside than they were three years ago," says Rouse." This has translated into people focusing not only on the interior remodelling of their home, but also on the outdoor upgrades to their home."