Should I landscape my backyard before selling? Experts reveal the pros and cons


1. Curb Appeal

First impressions matter. Even if you’ve spent years perfecting the inside of your home or months curating it for sale, the first thing buyers will see is your front yard landscaping. A neatly manicured landscape leading up to your front door is the best first impression you could possibly make, setting the tone for the rest of a showing.

This is also helpful if you’re trying to attract buyers locally. ‘If they drive by and they see that you have spent time and energy getting the outside to look nice, they’re going to assume that the inside looks just as nice too,’ says Jane from Green Biz Nursery.

2. Increase In Value

When considering any improvements to your home before selling, value is top of mind. The more value you can add to your home before you put it on the market, the higher the valuation will be. You’ll also see far more interest from buyers who are typically looking for a low-maintenance, fuss-free property. Realtors agree that basic landscaping does increase the value of your property, sometimes up to 12% according to realtor Ryan Poppe. This is a large margin compared to some other home investments, increasing your home’s value with fewer costs.

3. Draw More Buyers

The goal of prepping your home and backyard for sale is to attract as many buyers as possible. More buyers lead to better offers and quicker sales, avoiding that limbo period of months without any interest. Great landscaping is one way to draw more buyers – especially those that place a high value on outdoor space. ‘Homes with landscaping that has been done well spend less time on the market because buyers typically don’t want to buy homes that need a lot of work,’ says Ryan Poppe.

4. Improve Your Space

The pros of landscaping aren’t completely buyer-focused. Landscaping can also benefit the seller too. Selling a home is complex, and made even more stressful when you’re trying to complete interior projects while living in the home. A well-landscaped backyard can become a wonderful retreat at this time.

There is also no way to be sure of how quickly your home will sell. It may take several months or longer between the selling process and the transfer period. While landscaping can help speed up the process, it can also make your home more enjoyable in your last weeks or months there.


1. Cost

The most obvious con to landscaping before selling is the cost. Realtors (and landscapers) agree that spending tons of money on landscaping a backyard before selling is counterproductive. Besides reducing your potential profit from sale, it could also be changed completely by the new owners, meaning that the money you spent ultimately goes to waste. ‘When it comes to landscaping, it's important to take a business-minded approach to what monies you’re going to be spending before you put your home on the market,’ says realtor David Sturm of Sturm Property Group. Keep it simple by focusing on maintenance, tidying and decluttering your backyard over bigger, more expensive projects.

2. Time

Unlike other home projects that often have instant results once completed, landscaping projects need some time to settle in before they look their best. As plants take a while to fill out and establish themselves in a flower bed, you’ll need to start landscaping a few months in advance to reap the full aesthetic benefits. According to realtor Jordan Matin, ‘you should have enough time and a plan to make everything look right. This will also make you avoid leaving the impression that you had the last-minute rush to put things in order.’

3. Effort

Ideally, you’ll start landscaping a few months before putting your home on the market. Then, it will take a few months to find a buyer and begin the transfer process. During this time, you’ll need to maintain your newly landscaped garden, adding another task to your already long to-do list. Salisbury Landscaping adds that these things often take longer than expected. ‘Consider whether you’ll have the resources to maintain your new landscape between the project end date and your expected time of sale. Keep in mind that delays can always occur during the sales process, so be prepared to maintain the landscape a little longer than you’d like.’

4. Differing Tastes

Landscaping often comes down to personal preference, especially for larger projects with more unique changes. You don’t want to invest in a complex landscaping project that you love, only to find that it puts off buyers. The fewer changes potential buyers feel they need to make, the better. Landscapers often recommend simple maintenance and tidying rather than complete overhauls of a space. Installing backyard paving, edging and plants that have wide appeal and make your yard look neater are all options to consider. Avoid big structural changes or bright pops of color that cost more and can turn buyers off.

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