You don’t have to have the lushest lawn on the block, but doing what you can to avoid dead and overgrown spots—and keep weeds at bay—is crucial. ROI estimates here vary widely, largely because landscaping projects can encompass so many things, but across the board, most experts cite it as a top thing to do before putting your home on the market. It’s called curb appeal for a reason, and it most definitely extends to the backyard.
A Virginia Tech study on how landscaping affected people’s perception of a home’s value came down to three factors, in this order of importance: how sophisticated the design was, the size of the plants and having a diverse range of plants. Having a set of foundation shrubs with a statement-making tree or two and an island of plants—with about 20 percent being annuals or perennials for a pop of color—had the highest impact. If you can take your yard from average (say, a patchy field of grass) to layered and colorful, you could see a 10 to 12 percent increase in your home’s value, according to the study.
Best: Fence Things Off
Wilson was an awesome source of insight on Home Improvement, but imagine how tiring it’d get to have a neighbor perpetually all up in your business if you didn’t have a 6-foot-tall privacy fence like Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor? Installing a fence can provide a sense of sanctuary from the outside world, keep pets from escaping (or your neighbor’s from tearing through your begonias) and help buffer outside noise. Expect to net about a 50 percent ROI for a wood fence, and 70 percent or more for a metal or stone one.
Best: Spring for an Outdoor Kitchen
You know how an updated kitchen helps sell a home? So does a sleek outdoor kitchen. A survey of 1,250 real estate agents found that nearly half recommended making this upgrade as a way to attract potential buyers. It’s a surprise-and-delight moment that has people instantly envisioning themselves entertaining alfresco…even if the fanciest dish they cook is frozen Pizza Bagels. As far as outdoor upgrades go, this is one of the pricier projects to take on, so make sure it’s something you’ll truly enjoy—using and maintaining—before splurging.