Don't Make These Landscaping Mistakes That May Actually Hurt Your Home's Value

What do you call a landscaper's bank account? Why a hedge fund, of course! If you're a homeowner, you might find landscaping work challenging, to say the least. And if you're thinking about selling your home, either now or in the future, you might want to avoid certain landscaping mistakes which can actually hurt the value of your home. That's exactly why we're here! To help you not make these landscaping mistakes, so when the time comes, you can sell your house for its maximum value. But before we get started, let's talk a little about the importance of curb appeal, per Landmark HW.

In terms of ROI (return on investment), did you know that having great curb appeal can increase your home value by anywhere between 5% to 11%? Some sources cite percentages even higher, but practically every source agrees that curb appeal is extremely important when selling a house. Additionally, having good curb appeal helps sell a house faster, and is any prospective buyer's first impression of your home. These things make curb appeal extremely important to your home's perceived value. Conversely, according to BubbleInfo, just having a neighbor's yard look like trash can cost you 5% to 10% of your home's sale price! So you see, it's very important that you not make the following landscaping mistakes (or be that neighbor).

Not keeping your lawn mowed

This should be pretty basic, right? According to Greener Horizon, simply having your grass green, level, and mowed can improve your home's curb appeal greatly. The majority of Americans believe that a homeowner's lawn and landscaping speak volumes about the care they take of their home in general. So if you have a grass lawn, it's ultra important to keep it mowed and looking manicured. There's probably someone in your neighborhood that would kill for a steady lawn mowing job if keeping up this chore is difficult.

This is especially important if you're thinking about selling your house anytime soon. It's a chore that often gets neglected but goes a long way toward a buyer's first impression, not to mention keeping your neighbors happy. Since people looking for a house are already looking for signs of good maintenance, or signs of neglect, it just makes sense to spend the time to get your lawn in tip-top shape.

Having a water feature you don't maintain

While you might think a water feature such as a koi pond or a waterfall will increase your curb appeal and thus your home value, this is not always the case, according to UpNest. Water features that are well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing are terrific, but if you don't really have the time to maintain them, they can actually devalue your home. For instance, buyers will consider the maintenance costs as well, which is one deterrent. But a worse scenario is dirt, algae, or general neglect. Let's talk about costs for a moment.

To have a water feature such as a fountain or waterfall put in permanently on your property is best if you have the money. The price range for this type of project is usually anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500. This type of feature is typically directly connected to your electricity and plumbing system, which cuts down on the maintenance considerably. There's no guarantee for any ROI. However, it does help boost curb appeal under ideal conditions. In this scenario, all you'll need are chemicals for the water and to clean any filters regularly. Portable water features like bird baths are much less of an expense but will require constant maintenance.

Unfinished yard projects

Unfinished landscaping projects, or partially completed sections as opposed to others, is a big deterrent. In fact, landscaping in general is far more important than most people think, according to This source informs us that 75% of real estate agents in a poll of 1,250 surveyed, indicated poor landscaping negatively impacts home value. The percentages of how much it affects it ranged from 10% to 30%. In all cases, that's too much! And incidentally, even though they call landscaping an improvement that boosts curb appeal, it's a perceived home value increase.

Perception is what counts, after all — the buyer's perception is everything when it comes to the sale. After all, we've all heard the adage about how something is only worth what someone is willing to give you for it. The same holds true here and can work in your favor. The more you value your home and the property it sits on, the more it will be seen as valuable by others. People see the outside and naturally assume it's a reflection of the inside, so keep this in mind.

Having too many lawn ornaments

According to ACS Garden, there's most definitely a limit to the lawn ornaments you should have. Too much of anything is rarely good, and lawn ornaments are no different. Having too many lawn ornaments in your yard can draw the prospective buyer's attention, and distract them from the things you really want them to focus on. Not only that, but too many garden gnomes is a little creepy to some people, and a general rule of thumb would be to err on the conservative side. You don't want to give the impression of being eccentric, but tasteful, instead.

Even if you have other types of lawn ornaments besides garden gnomes, it's better to go minimalist on yard decor like this. Additionally, it's advised to complete the entirety of your landscaping first, and then step back and see what finishing touches might go best. Planning out your landscape ahead of time, and trying to complete the overall plan as quickly as possible, are great tips. You really want to focus on the "big picture" for your goals.

Not enough lighting

Not having enough lighting in your outdoor area, especially on the front path and entryway, is a mistake that can cost you, per Realty Biz News. Additionally, if there are other landscape features you want to show off, recessed lighting or lanterns are popular and appropriate. If you have a well-manicured landscape, proper outdoor lighting is key. And we've already been over the importance of that

Another popular home trend is having an outdoor kitchen and living area, where you may have an outdoor grill and cooking space, a portable fireplace or fire pit, or even a pool area. These spaces need plenty of additional lighting, and can add ambiance and appeal. Plus, lighting is important to potential buyers. No one wants to approach a dark house, or one with poor lighting, so don't make that landscaping mistake. There are plenty of different options today to accent your style and decor, and good, modern lighting actually adds value to your home.

Planting trees too close to the house

This is a common landscaping mistake people make, because trees themselves can actually increase property value, according to Planting large trees in your landscape can add 3% to 15% value to your home. However, it's important to note that planting trees too close to the house can be a hazard, for obvious reasons. If you already have large trees with any branches that hang over the roof or present any sort of danger — even if only a perceived danger — to buyers, it's advised to remove them. This also goes for any dead or dying trees, of course.

So while planting a large shade tree outside near your house might seem like a great idea in the heat of the summer, just remember the tree is going to get bigger! The root system will become extensive for a large tree, to the point where the roots can damage the foundation of your house, if you're not very careful where you plant it. Prospective buyers who pay attention to detail will notice something like this, so it's really best to err on the side of caution and plant trees a safe distance from the house.

Allowing weeds to creep in

According to Coldwell Banker, weed control is easier when you have a thick lawn of healthy grass. Healthy grass will choke out most weeds, so this is another reason to keep the lawn watered and mowed. You might want to consider planting seasonal grass seed if you're selling a house in the cool season. According to NG Turf, fescue grass is a type of grass that stays green all year in most places. The best time to plant fescue grass is in the fall, but it's something to think about. Otherwise, you may have weeds to tend to, and keep in mind that they can spiral out of control rather quickly if you don't stay on top of them!

If you have plants, shrubs, trees, flowers, and/or a garden, weeds love these spots, and you probably already know how tenacious some of them can be. Additionally, watch out for any weeds that are perennials, according to Lawn Doctor, as they must be totally removed by the roots, or will only continue to thrive and spread. Annual weeds may seem like more of a nuisance, due to the fact that they can keep popping up several times in a year, but are typically more harmless overall.

Planting seasonal plants

Planting seasonal or annual plants and/or flowers leaves your yard looking poorly when they're out of season. The answer to this problem is to instead plant perennials, giving your landscape beauty and color continuously, according to Costa Farms. Coneflower is a lovely perennial that blooms in multiple colors and is ideal for front yard planting. If you love the shade of bright magenta, try ice plants, perfect as an easy-to-care-for and near-to-the-ground species that grows to just around 6 inches tall, and offers colorful blooms all year. Want taller plants that have beautiful shades of red flowers? Hollyhocks are tried and true, a reliable perennial that grows to 6 feet tall and can give you a little privacy as well. No neighbors can complain about that! 

These are just a few examples, but as you can see, this type of planning can give your house curb appeal all year round. Hopefully, this has been helpful to you, so you can avoid making landscaping mistakes that can actually hurt your home's value in the future.