Unless you’re living in your “forever home,” any time you think about making any changes, you should ask what changes would give you the biggest bang for your buck. And at this time of year, you might be thinking about the warmer months, and spending time outdoors. So when it comes to investing in your backyard, keep the following considerations in mind:
Trees are the rare plant that increases in value over time. Conventional wisdom says to plant small trees, but consider when you plan to sell your home. The sooner you plan to sell, the bigger the trees you should plant – they’ll look more mature, and your backyard will look more complete to prospective buyers.
Focus on native, low maintenance plants. These types of plants will keep your costs down. If you can’t or won’t regularly water them, consider installing an irrigation system. When the time comes to sell your house, a bunch of dead plants will lower the value of your property, while an attractive display will raise it.
Plant strategically to reduce your energy consumption. Creating wind breaks and shade with trees and bushes can significantly lower the amount of energy you use to heat and cool your home. In addition to saving you money while you live in your house, it can be a great selling point in the future.
A patio or deck that extends out of the family room adds value to your home. This is a popular feature to install, but be sure it’s done properly to maximize the return on your investment. That means it should be appropriately sized for your yard, drain well, and be attractive to look at (i.e., don’t just put down a slab of drab concrete).
If you’re selling right away, small, inexpensive changes can have the biggest return. These steps can include resodding the lawn, removing weeds, and adding some attractive plants.
Don’t install a pool. Homeowners rarely recoup the cost of putting in a pool with a higher sale price. In fact, while some prospective owners might consider a water feature to be an asset, many consider them to be a nuisance.
If you plan to stay in your home for a while, you can keep the above factors in mind while focusing on what changes your family will benefit from and use the most. On the other hand, if you plan to sell right away, consider asking a few realtors to give you their opinion on what changes would most increase the value of your property.