Increase Your Home's Value With Mature Trees

Well-maintained yards can fetch a higher price and quicker sale.
Driveway: Historic Craigmuir Castle in Wenatchee, Wash.

Driveway: Historic Craigmuir Castle in Wenatchee, Wash.

The grand entrance to the historic masterpiece includes a flagstone driveway surrounded by trees and beautiful, well-manicured landscape.

Photo by: Windermere Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Windermere Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

By: Valerie Finholm
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Towering trees on your property provide more than beauty -- they increase the value of your home.

Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.

A lush lawn with flower gardens is pretty, but didn't add to the value of a house, the surveys showed.

Buyers love landscaping

The numbers don’t surprise Pat Vredevoogd Combs, immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors. "People tell us they want trees and privacy behind," she said.

Well-landscaped yards with mature trees and bushes that provide privacy not only fetch higher prices -- they sell more quickly than houses with little or no landscaping, she said, noting that they provide the ultimate "curb appeal" by impressing buyers before they even walk into a house.

The surveys were done in 2007 by the University of Washington and the National Gardening Association. "It's a significant increase," said Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist with the National Gardening Association, about the effect trees have on the value of a house. But buyers don't stop there. "People are looking at big trees, rock walls, patios -- the whole feeling," he said.

Nardozzi suggests that people reconsider when they neglect their yards to focus on renovating kitchens and bathrooms. "With housing values dropping in many areas of the country, having a beautiful landscape could make the difference between breaking even on your home and making some money on the sale of your home," he said.

Plan before you plant

A Clemson University study found that homeowners get a 100 percent or more return on the money they put into landscaping. Nardozzi advises homeowners with bare lots to start landscaping immediately because it takes 5 to 7 years for plants to mature. A good professional landscaper will look comprehensively at the site before planting.

Homeowners who decide to go it alone should get advice from a local gardening shop before planting "willy-nilly," Nardozzi says, because this often results in planting the wrong plant in the wrong location. The result can be overgrown plants that cover the windows of a house or trees with roots that buckle a driveway.

"Do your homework," Nardozzi says, because a poorly landscaped yard negates your efforts to add value to the home.

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