For every homebuyer who gushes over daylilies or bountiful tomatoes, there’s another who looks at a garden and sees a lot of maintenance — or a bunch of plants they can’t possibly keep alive.
Elaborate gardens don’t do it for the buyer. Most people can’t maintain it, or don’t want to maintain it, or think it’s too expensive, or they won’t have the time. That said, a study of 2,001 homeowners in the United Kingdom found that specifically landscaping a garden had a low cost (about £2,750, or roughly $3,500 USD) but a huge return on investment, boosting property value by as much as 77%.
Exposure to plants, green spaces, and gardening is beneficial for mental and physical health, according to a study from the Royal College of Physicians in London, England. The physical activity and exposure to nature and sunlight lowers blood pressure and increases vitamin D, for starters, the study says.
Post Office Money, a United Kingdom financial company that provides services such as mortgages and savings accounts, found in 2019 that UK households added an average of £40,000 (about $51,000 USD) to their home values through improvements such as revamping the kitchen, adding an extension, increasing energy efficiency, or enhancing the garden.
Although the Post Office Money survey singled out landscaped gardens as having a 77% boost in home value, other research takes a broader view. For instance, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) estimate that applying mulch annually, mowing about 2,800 square feet of lawn, pruning shrubs, and planting about 60 annuals or perennials costs about $3,000 — but has a 100% return on investment (ROI) upon selling.
That said, gardens may have a higher cache across the pond. In Martin’s experience, gardens are a bit like swimming pools — they appeal to a specific type of buyer.
The financial website Investopedia agreed, saying that while homebuyers appreciate well-maintained landscaping and curb appeal, a beautiful yard or garden likely won’t add much to the selling price. In fact, the more elaborate the garden, the more likely a buyer might consider it a burden, either because the buyer will have to pay a gardener to maintain it, or it could become an eyesore.
If you spent an exorbitant amount of money on landscaping, including a garden, you likely won’t see near the full return on your improvement costs. However, assuming all other features of a home and comparable properties are equal, there is generally a positive market reaction to items such as patios, decks, outdoor kitchens, sprinkler systems, and gardens. But it’s important for your agent to find comparable properties with similar landscaping features for one to have an edge over another.