How to Maximize the Financial Benefits of Plants


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Enhancing the landscape around your home adds curb appeal to any property, but did you know that it can actually impact your wallet? Properly choosing the correct type of plants or trees for your garden can simultaneously save and make you money. Here are some of the financial benefits of landscaping:

Trees Please!

Trees are an excellent investment for any home. Unlike many necessities that often depreciate over time (cars, for example), trees go up in value the longer they mature in your yard. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can be worth over ten thousand dollars, increasing the median property price by $16,889 on average. A quick trip to a nursery can buy you a tree for as little as ten dollars, while a mature tree can add thousands to the value of your home.

Your best option when choosing a tree to plant as an investment is to find the best balance between practicality and rate of maturity. The tree you choose must complement the garden area, and trees may provide additional value if it has a practical use, such as providing shade.

Before you buy, consider the financial tradeoff you’ll face right from the start: inexpensive seedlings take decades to mature, while boxed trees with price tags of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, have an immediate impact. A pricier up-front cost may be the better route if you plant to move within a few years. Showing potential buyers twenty seedlings in the ground will not improve the price you get! The value of the tree derives from its maturity.


Plants Have a Quantifiable ROI

If you're thinking about adding features to your garden to boost the value of your home, you might be wary of the actual return of your investment. Though recent data proves the economical sense of landscaping. Money magazine found that landscape enhancements bring a 200% return at time of sale, ranking top out of any home improvement project. Compare that to the 125% brought by a bathroom or kitchen remodel.

The exceptional return that landscape enhancements offer is thanks in part to the importance outdoor living spaces play in the lives of many homeowners. Think of your own experience house hunting: when you are looking out homes and see a backyard filled with weeds, it usually pulls that house out of the running. This is because our immediate perception of landscaping projects overwhelms us — a lot more than a broken cabinet handle. First impressions have lasting impacts on home values.


For many homeowners, both prospective and current, the outdoor features that need work appear to be a more mountainous task than indoor ones. When someone is looking at your home with the intention of buying, and you have a garden that is already neat and tidy, you will be able to sell it a lot more easily.

Share the Benefits Neighborhood-Wide

There are less tangible ways that well-landscaped properties contribute to the financial benefits of outdoor projects, too. Consider a theory on the relation between environment and crime—what's known as 'the broken window theory' (developed by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling). If a home looks neglected, it is more likely to be perceived as such. This perception extends to neighborhoods and communities. If an area has signs of neglect, say, graffiti, or broken windows (hence the name), passers-by will assume crimes are common in the area and may choose not to invest in the area themselves.


This philosophy applies to your own home, too. If your garden is overrun by weeds, someone walking past it will assume something very different than if it is well-maintained and seen as more inviting. This is why many communities have Homeowner’s Associations that regulate the visual character of their neighborhood.

Residential landscapes can have a domino effect on your street, your community, and ultimately, the town or city you live in. If everyone living on your street takes care of their garden, your street will be perceived as a more desirable area. This perception has been shown to influence property prices while also correlating to neighborhood crime rates. Environmental researchers at the University of Vermont found that neighborhoods with more tree canopies had a 12% less crime.


Whether or not you're a homeowner with plans to move anytime soon, you may not perceive the importance of viewing your home as an investment. This does not mean landscaping loses its value; beautiful outdoor spaces are a valuable addition to any home, whether you decide to sell your home or to enjoy it for years to come.

Janice Nicol