The word garden elicits a variety of different images in the mind of every individual. Everything from elaborate flower beds with towering pergolas laced with colorful climbing blooms to a cacti garden in a single dish is considered a garden. It is the diversity of the image of a garden that makes it an unknown in the real estate industry. Before we can answer whether a garden can increase property value we need to decide what type of garden we are talking about.
Types of Gardens
To the average homebuyer, the word garden means a small plot of flowers, greenery, and mulch. But there are several more types of gardens that current homeowners may be interested in planting. Flower gardens are an overarching grouping of a very large variety of gardens. Flowers can range from annuals, perennials, tropical flowers, wildflowers, and so on. The same is true of a vegetable garden. The size and assortment of vegetables within the garden as well as how the vegetables are planted (containers, raised beds, direct-sow) can all vary widely. Then there are succulent gardens, which are arguably the easiest to care for. Lesser known gardens are fairy gardens, zen gardens, hedge gardens, and ornamental grass gardens. Each of these types of gardens has its own care requirements and maintenance concerns which will affect how a homebuyer views them in relation to the purchasing of your home.
So which of these gardens can increase property value and which do not add value? Overall, the type of garden that increases property value the most is a well-landscaped mulched, easy to care for garden with low-maintenance plants. Over 67% of realtors advise that homeowners plant colorful flowers and over 84% of realtors suggest adding a fresh layer of mulch to landscaped areas before selling their house. Easy to maintain gardens are usually small to medium sized and are complete with disease and drought tolerant plants.
Keep Your Flowers Hardy
Show stopping flower gardens with vibrant colors and layers upon layers of never ending blooms are amazing to look at. Perhaps take a picture in front of or stop to breathe in a long glorious sweet scent. But for most people, that is where the attraction of an abundant flower garden ends. There are few people who adore deadheading, fertilizing, and watering flowers day in and day out. Sadly, some of the most beautiful flowers also require the most care. The most notoriously finicky flower is the gardenia which requires constantly moist soil that is neither underwatered or over watered as well as specific soil ph levels to prevent it from developing root rot and powdery mildew. These plants are known for iron deficiencies and can easily be destroyed by aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Another well known diva of the flower world is the tea rose. These flowers need constant attention to ward off disease. These flowers also need constant pruning during the growing season which takes quite a bit of time when you have an entire garden of them. Flowers that require this much care are not a good match for an easy to care for garden.
But, a few spots of bright color are a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal and your home’s value. To add color to your yard but avoid scaring away potential homebuyers with overly complex gardening requirements, you should stick with hardy and easy to care for perennials. Every area of the world has flowers that are best suited for their soil types, sun exposure, and harsh weather elements. The most well known and easiest to grow perennials are daylilies, marigolds, coneflowers, hostas, Russian sage, sedum and garden phlox. Each of these flowers require little to no care even during the hottest of summer months and the coldest of winter days. Daylilies and hostas need to occasionally have their grasses cut back, however this is rare and generally can be done once a year at the most. In addition, all of these plants thrive with or without watering once they are established and will come back year after year. Other low-maintenance plants include weigela, ornamental grasses, peonies, black-eyed Susans, and catmint. If you live in an area where cold weather will likely send your perennials into a domat state, you should add shrubs with colorful foliage such as evergreen rhododendrons to keep color and visual interest year-round. Of course, once your flowers are planted you should spread an even layer of mulch around your garden. Not only will a fresh layer of mulch prevent weed growth, it will also increase your home’s value by over $1,700.
What Gardens do Buyers Dislike?
While a well landscaped area with a few flowers and low maintenance bushes may attract homebuyers, a few types of garden will deter them. At the top of the list of unwanted gardens are English gardens, koi ponds, and vegetable gardens. English gardens are known for manicured hedges and lush drifts of flowers. While the gardens exude romance and whimsical artistry they are expansive and hard to maintain. Koi ponds may be calming to relax beside but they require endless amounts of maintenance. Everything from filtration systems and water levels need to be checked constantly to maintain a healthy pond. Finally, vegetable gardens, while rising a bit in popularity due to the global pandemic, are generally frowned upon when they are large and difficult to maintain. The thought of growing your food is always appealing especially for those who prefer organic vegetables. However, some vegetables are difficult to grow and require quite a bit of upkeep to prevent disease and pest infestations. Large vegetables that include many in the ground vegetable growth areas will likely scare away a homebuyer who has no idea who to care for and grow asparagus, spinach, and cucumber. If you are considering selling your home in the near future but really want to grow your own vegetables you can always use moveable containers. Large pots or small raised vegetable beds can be easily moved when the time comes to sell your home.
Garden Accessories Galore
Garden accessories can be a useful addition to your home’s curb appeal, but only when they do not overpower the simplicity of your garden. Popular garden accessories include water features, benches, signs, and light fixtures. There are thousands of different garden accessories that you can add to your garden areas. However, just because there are thousands of accessories does not mean you need to clutter your garden with so many gnomes, flamingos, and animal statues that you can hardly see the plants. Instead, choose just one or two accessories for your garden. A water feature is a top gardening trend that creates a sense of relaxation. Water features are as simple as a bird bath or as ornate as a Mediterranean fountain with cascading columns and vibrant colors. Benches are also popular for those who want to make their garden a spot to sit and enjoy nature. Small concrete benches can be found at most home improvement stores or online as can cast-iron benches complete with scroll-work. Outdoor solar-powered light fixtures create additional ambience when they are placed around your flowers and shrubs. They are also very popular among homebuyers because they provide additional light without creating additional electrical usage.
While you may have ample time to tend to your garden, the last thing on most homebuyers minds is spending additional time caring for plants that they simply inherited when they purchased your home. If you are uncertain about your garden’s impact on the value of your home, ask a realtor before you set shovel to dirt. The size, location, and overall extravagance of your garden will be the ultimate factor in whether or not it adds value to your home. Don’t put thousands of dollars into a high-end garden upgrade in the hopes that it will boost your home’s value as you will most likely be disappointed with your return on investment. Stick with easy to maintain garden areas with fresh mulch, hardy perennials, and small bushes that will accent rather than take away from your home’s beauty and value.