Increasing Home Value With Landscape Design: (Maximize ROI, Curb Appeal & Enjoyment – Even If You’re Close To Selling!)


With home values rising in 2021, there’s more Bucks County homeowners pondering the idea of selling. But what if you’re ‘stuck in the middle?’ Meaning, you are planning to sell your home in the relatively near future- but you won’t be moving just yet. Does this mean that improvements to your backyard and outdoor spaces have to be put on hold indefinitely? Not necessarily. 

We know, first-hand, how the right landscape design improvements can increase home sales price. If your backyard is less enjoyable than you’d like but you also have plans to sell at a point in the somewhat near term- you can still get an outdoor space you’ll absolutely love AND make some extra return on your investment at the time of sale. 

A landscape design company that understands the local real estate market and has demonstrated experience increasing home ROI can help you realize a higher selling price for your home. This summer could be the perfect time to add landscape and hardscape improvements to your property.

Landscape Design For Maximizing Short-Term Enjoyment & Home Sale Price

In order to get your metaphorical cake and eat it too, you’ll need to add an outdoor space that accomplishes two purposes. 

  1. The new space needs to be such that it maximizes your enjoyment for the remaining time you’ll spend at the house. 
  1. The second purpose must be that these home improvements need to become an obvious incentive for the majority of prospective buyers. If you can increase the desirability of your property in the right way, you can get compensated for that improvement when you go to sell. 

Let’s look at the big picture. Consider for a moment what the people looking to purchase your home will think when they see your outdoor space. Will it add or detract to your home’s desirability? This is why you need to focus on making something that is fabulous.

Backyard Elements For Getting Max ROI

  • Timeless ‘sizzle’ features like an outdoor grill, a pergola, pavilion or firepit. 
  • Materials that are universally fashionable like bluestone, cedar and AZEK®.
  • Stick to designs that are low-maintenance. Timeless is the name of the game here. 

Install Great Lighting

Lighting is great for safety and can create a kind of magical feeling against the backdrop of nighttime. But if you’re considering landscape lighting, choose high-quality solid brass lights like these ones

Steer clear of solar lights, which are still inferior to electric lighting. Demand a classic style that runs on low-voltage electricity. Nothing creates a warning flag for would-be home buyers like you or a realtor having to utter something along the lines of “Well… ummm, yes we do have outdoor lighting… but, eh-hem… they aren’t exactly working at the moment.” 

It sounds funny but it’s not a laughing matter. Savvy buyers will hear this and walk, figuring other aspects of the home will also be problematic.

Make An ‘Unusable’ Backyard Usable

Another improvement that can potentially increase the value of your home is in the case where your backyard is currently or mostly unusable due to a steep incline. Under certain conditions, some grading and retaining walls can open up a whole new aspect to your home’s outdoor living space and certainly increase it’s desirability (and price) when you go to sell. 

Build A Composite Deck

If you want to add a deck to enjoy your home before selling- go with a composite material. A high-end composite deck looks great but doesn’t require the maintenance that decks constructed with wood need. You don’t want new buyers having to inherit maintenance projects- which can be viewed as a detractor. Keep the design simple and unify the look with the existing home structure. 

Fix A Drainage Issue- For Your Yard And Home’s Sake!

Sometimes, an outdoor home improvement can reap extra-extra dividends. This is especially so when the improvement solves an existing problem and makes a previously limited-use space usable. An ideal example for such an enhancement is a home that has poor grading or deteriorating retaining walls and slopes- causing the yard and/or basement to flood. When a landscape designer uses grading and resloping to solve both of these issues, you’ll reap a major improvement on the home’s saleability.

In this case, you are not only eliminating a huge negative aspect to potential buyers- but also enabling yourself to advertise the backyard for actual use. This one is a win-win when it comes to maximizing ROI on your home. And further, you and your family can enjoy the space in the meantime!

Backyard Elements That Detract From Value

Stay Away From Anything Ultra-Custom Or Overly Unique

Steer clear of anything ultra-custom, period. Keep this in your head: ‘Will the new buyers rip this out as soon as the papers are signed?’ In a buyer’s mind- the less work involved in order for them to be ‘at home’ the better. Make it easy and allow your home to sell itself! Remember, your potential market is a large set of the population- go with universally appealing designs and structures with universal appeal- from the color to shape and style.

You love the color pink. You love pink Cadillacs and pink flamingos. You want a pool shaped like a flamingo and a ‘Caddy-Pink’ poolhouse to match? Although your boldness is admirable, the truth is most people will be turned off by this. Keep designs classic and colors closer to earth tones- avoiding anything crazy or otherwise perceived as off-the-wall. The more specific and ‘different’ the design, the less appealing it will be for those looking to purchase a home. 

Don’t Go Cheap

Plastic gazebos or cheap-looking, prefabricated pergolas that creak and groan with every breeze will almost certainly bring forth the statement: ‘Honey, we’ll need to get a huge dumpster for that stuff in the backyard!’ at your home’s showings. 

Avoid cheap-looking ‘value pavers’ or tiny plants that might as well come with a ‘big box store’ logo stamped on them. Selling your home is all about presentation- you want what you have to show its best when the time comes!

Be Weary of High-Maintenance Additions To Your Yard

From finicky plants to splintering wooden decks- avoid anything that is going to bring on extra work for the buyer. The less work that’s required for the new owners to maintain the home, the better. 

Keep asking this question when you go to add any backyard structure, landscaping or other element at your home: Will the next person come along and want to rip this out? 

If the answer is yes, or maybe… or even “I don’t know” then you should really consider what you’re building and why you’re building it.

So, if your family is in need of backyard attention and you want to ensure that an investment near the time of sale pans out the right way- make sure that you work with a landscape designer that knows what backyard improvements will work in your housing market. In placing timeless additions to your outdoor space that potential buyers will see as attractive (and of course, budgeting the job correctly) you can, within reason, expect to achieve and even exceed your ROI goal. 


About JOn Kontz

Jon Kontz is CEO of PLANT Design Group, a landscape design company located in Newtown, PA. He has over 25 years of experience designing and building landscapes. He can be reached directly at jon@plantdesigngroup.comOutside of business hours, you can find Jon fly fishing, rock climbing and farming with his wife and children. PLANT Design Group is a landscape design and build company based in Newtown, PA. We specialize in exterior property design and outdoor living spaces including landscape, hardscape and exterior construction. Serving clients in Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia, PA. Visit us at or to speak with us about your project today, call 215-321-5678. Plant Design Group At Hortulus Farm 60 Thompson Mill Rd, Newtown PA 1894