Does a Backyard Increase Property Value?

Backyards are great places to relax, have fun with the family, and do those cookouts with friends and neighbors. Many wonder if the trouble of keeping up a backyard is worth it as far as resale value goes. For many, exactly what raises a home’s value is unclear. 

Backyards can absolutely raise the overall value of your property and help it sell faster too. The catch is that it must be a well-maintained, functional, and attractive backyard to bring in the big bucks on a resale. 

Read on through the article below to see which backyards add value and which lower the asking price of a home. 

The Best of Backyards

Home experts debate on some of the items in a backyard that add value to a home and which detract from the home’s final asking price. One of the reasons there is debate is because what people say they want is different from what they will consider buying. 

For instance, people surveys in a National Association of Realtors report said they would pay more for a backyard with a well-maintained and incredibly landscaped garden. Gardens could be flowers or vegetables but homebuyers put more value on this aspect than on a swimming pool. 

However, the report also found out that most homebuyers don’t want to maintain a garden. They like the idea of a home with a backyard garden that requires any maintenance. That is a bit short of impossible. 

The same type of feelings goes the same way for other things like swimming pools, outdoor water features, and lots of walkways and special areas. While potential home buyers love the idea of having them, they don’t want all the work to keep them up. Even fruit trees fall into the category.

Read: Backyard Desert Landscaping Ideas On A Budget

What Makes a Backyard Valuable?

Even though there’s lots of disagreement about what adds value to a backyard versus what decreases the value, those in real estate can agree on some things. Certain things will always add value to your home when they are in your backyard. 

Good Maintenance

A backyard that is well maintained will add value faster than anything else. That means you need to keep your grass cut, weeds down, ant hills killed, and flower beds full of mulch. Remember, potential buyers, don’t want to walk into a home and yard that needs work. 

You may want to consider reducing your lawn. That will reduce maintenance and get in on the hot trend of using low-maintenance vegetation instead. This includes ground covers, deep flower beds with wide borders, and flowers and shrubs that grow year after year with little maintenance.

Read: What Is Mulching And Its Advantages?

Trees and Shrubs

Good landscaping can lead to 100 percent cost recovery in a sale. Real estate agents also note that a landscaping program was the final piece of the deal for 17 percent of agents. 

Trees add great value, especially if they are mature trees. It’s one thing that gains value over time. They can bring between $1,000 and $10,000 in a home’s value, as stated by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. 

Things like trees and shrubs do something else too. They add privacy, which is a big deal when it comes to whether a backyard adds value. Backyards with a privacy fence, trees, and shrubs that block neighbors’ views are important parts of creating a sanctuary. 

However, you can’t have just any tree or shrubs. Fruit trees, for instance, are a mistake. People see them as high-maintenance insect attractors. You want to include enough tree and shrub variety that your backyard looks alive year-round. 

Include flowering items for spring and summer and others with pretty leaves in the fall. Evergreens and shrubs with colorful berries in the winter will do a lot to enhance your backyard’s value.

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Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living spaces are a new codeword for areas to entertain outside. They can include a host of creative spaces from an outdoor living room under a deck, to a patio or pergola, to an outdoor kitchen or an area with a firepit. 

Any of these things add both luxury and value to your home. The secret is they must be done correctly to truly add dollars to your bottom line. A built-in patio or deck with an outdoor kitchen adds to your home’s usable square footage. 

Outdoor kitchens start at $15,000 and can go up to $100,000. They include much more than a grill as a true kitchen includes a refrigerator, sinks, and maybe a cooktop. Some are set up for bar service too. It’s the latest in showing status.

These things bring you luxury buyers. The return on the investment is 83 percent. Plus, it keeps your house at the top of the list for new buyers. 

Read: Outdoor Birthday Party Ideas For Adults

Practical Things That Add Value

Two things that a homeowner can add to their backyard automatically add value. One is a good automatic irrigation system. Installing one doesn’t need to cost a fortune. It is around $3,500 to irrigate 2,800 square feet of lawn. Yet, around 86 percent of the cost can be recovered at resale. 

An irrigation system will keep your lawn lush but will wow potential homebuyers who want low maintenance. 

The second thing that adds immediate value to a backyard is lighting. This can be done on a budget but most feel a yard with lights adds security. Lighting options are abundant today and include solar power and LED products. 

Lighting showcases your landscaping at night, adds to safety entering and exiting the home, and deters burglars. 

Things That Decrease a Backyard’s Value

Unkempt Garden

Generally, anything that potential buyers see as work to keep up will lower the value of your home. That includes an unkempt garden that can lower your asking price up to 2 percent and artificial grass

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass, as low maintenance is it is, scares homebuyers. That is especially true for those with children. It could reduce your resale value by 5 percent. 

Water Features

Outdoor water features, swimming pools, and hot tubs can conjure up days of relaxation for you but future homeowners look at them as work to maintain, additional insurance, and buying things like chemicals. 

Damaged Items

Other things that show maintenance issues like cracked retaining walls, broken fences, chipped walkways, or deck areas are big issues for home sales. They can reduce your sale price by $1,000. 

Personal Tastes

The other taboo is to make your backyard too personal. Homeowners want a clean slate to put their style into it so personal things like basketball goals, garden gnomes, and rocks with special sayings are all things to get rid of if you want the most value out of your home at resale.

Read: 10 Best Outdoor Hanging Egg Chairs


What adds the most value to a backyard?

A privacy fence and trees add the most immediate value. 

How much value does a landscaped backyard add?

Consumers put a well-landscaped yard at 11.3 percent higher value than the same home without the landscaping, according to a University of Michigan study. 

How much does a backyard renovation cost?

Renovating a backyard can cost between $15,000 and $50,000. 

How much should you spend on landscaping?

The basic rule is that 10 percent of your home’s value should be dedicated to improving the landscaping.

What’s the first thing I should do to renovate my yard?

The first project that will both motivate you, give you some happiness and improve your home’s value is to expand your existing patio.