March 2024

6 landscaping projects that increase a home's value

Whether you're getting ready to sell your home, you're in the market for a new home, or you're staying in place and want to improve your quality of life, don't neglect the power of landscaping. Improving the outside areas of your home can do more than give visitors (or buyers) a good first impression — it can actually add value when you sell your home.

However, while many projects can add value, the increased sale price may not cover the full cost of the project. To help you balance costs and benefits, we've included the estimated return on investment (ROI) for several types of projects. All figures are from a 2023 study by the National Association of REALTORS®.Footnote1

Landscaping basics

In general, landscaping refers to the design of the area around your home. "Softscaping" refers to plants, trees and other natural elements like grass or rough stone. "Hardscaping" refers to constructed elements like steps, walls, paths and patios or decks.

Projects that add value

Before you choose a project, think about why you want to do it. If you're getting ready to sell the home, you may want to focus on lower-cost improvements that get a good return on investment, rather than expensive projects that you'll never get to enjoy.

Important note: The percentage ROI indicates how much your home value may increase compared to what you spend. If it's 100%, you get back what you put in. If it's a lower percent, then you get back less. Only a very few projects give you back more than what you put in.

Simple maintenance

One of the best investments in your yard is simple maintenance, such as keeping grass and shrubs trimmed and adding fresh mulch around plantings each year. Regular maintenance offers a 104% ROI, and it's a must if you're thinking about selling. Be sure to pay attention to the condition of the front walk, the entry and other areas that affect curb appeal. Simply keeping your trees and shrubs well maintained can make a big difference to the appearance of your home. Generally, this type of maintenance is not expensive, but it's well worth the effort.

Outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have become more and more popular in recent years, giving homeowners more ways to enjoy their outdoor space. As a result, REALTORS estimate that 100% of what you spend on a moderately priced outdoor kitchen could be recovered when you sell the home. That said, expensive outdoor appliances and furniture may not have as good a return, and it's probably not the type of improvement to make if you're getting ready to sell.

Adding or improving a patio or deck

The prime reason for adding a patio or deck is to improve the function of your yard and make it an extension of your home. It doesn't hurt that the average ROI for a patio is 95%, with 89% for a deck. Even so, with an average cost of $10,500 for a patio and $16,900 for a wooden deck, these improvements to your home are best if you plan to stay and enjoy their benefits.

Installing an irrigation system

An irrigation system allows you to maintain the beauty of your yard regardless of the weather. It can also help you water more efficiently with less waste. While a system may be expensive (average cost is around $6,000), it has an estimated 83% ROI.

Outdoor lighting

More outside lighting adds safety and security, and, of course, it makes the yard more attractive for enjoying after the sun sets. With an average 59% ROI, it's not going to add a lot to your home price. You can cut installation costs with battery-powered lights instead of a fully wired system, or save on your electric bill with solar-powered LED lights.


Drought-resistant landscaping, or xeriscaping, is becoming more and more popular, even in states that are not drought-prone. It reduces maintenance and can significantly save on water usage. To get started, choose plants that require less water, replace mulch with gravel or river rock, and consider adding more hardscaped patio or walkways to reduce the amount of lawn that needs water. Some experts believe this could attract future buyers and add as much as 10% to 12% to your property value.Footnote2

These are just a few of the ways you could make your yard a more beautiful and relaxing place to be. In the end, the best approach is to balance your personal tastes with the costs, and take into account how long you plan to stay in the home. When you do decide to sell, a beautiful, well-maintained yard is a proven way to catch the eye of buyers.

A note from your lending specialist

If you've got big plans for your outdoor living space, talk to me about financing upgrades with a home equity line of credit. Or, if you're planning to sell, let's discuss the best way to finance your next home.

1 2023 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features. National Association of REALTORS® Research Group. Accessed December 2023.

2 Does landscaping increase home value? Cynthia Paez Bowman and Lara Vukelich, Bankrate, August 3, 2023. Accessed December 2023.

MAP6293545 | 02/2024