A study by RealEstate.com suggests that landscaping and hardscaping can deliver a return on investment as high as 150 percent—an ROI that puts it ahead of popular home improvement projects like kitchen or bathroom updates.

“When I bring a buyer to a home that features state-of-the-art landscaping and elements like a fire pit and high-end pavers, there’s an immediate assumption that the inside of the house will be as spectacular as the outside,” says John Duffy of Duffy Real Estate. “Now we have research that shows homebuyers will pay a premium for a nicely landscaped property, particularly one that features elements like an outdoor fireplace and finishes in stone or brick. The new mantra in home buying is location, location, landscape.”

According to RealEstate.com, for every dollar spent on upgrading a backyard or outdoor space, a homeowner can expect to get back anywhere from 60 cents to $2. With up to 14 percent added to the home’s resale value, on a $500,000 home that’s nearly $75,000.

The most popular items being requested by homeowners today, according to EP Henry authorized hardscaping contractor Blase DeMichele of B. DeMichele Inc., based in Media, Pennsylvania, are:

  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Covered outdoor spaces with kitchen components
  • Stone veneer sitting walls
  • Fire pits
  • Patio pavers

“Today’s homeowners want to extend their living area, so they’re choosing to create outdoor living spaces,” DeMichele says. “Landscaping is like a room addition, without the roof. When you put it in those terms, it’s easy to see why a backyard renovation has such a high return on investment.”

The American Institute of Architects reports that seven in 10 architects have noticed an increase in outdoor living’s popularity, while only 4 percent noted a decrease. A Houzz survey also notes that 70 percent of homeowners want a contractor who is an expert in his field—a sharp contrast to the DIY-mentality in the earlier 2000s.

Other popular home improvements and their approximate ROI, according to Duffy, are:

  • Basement remodel: 77 percent
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 83 percent
  • Attic bedroom: 84 percent

“Most homeowners don’t embark on a yard project looking ahead to the day they will eventually sell their home,” says J.C. Henry, CEO of EP Henry. “But it’s nice to know that the day-to-day enjoyment of a beautifully designed yard can be capped by an impressive ROI when it comes time to sell.”

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Nicole Wisniewski
Editor-in-chief

COVER PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO