Improving the Yard Before a Sale: It’s Worth It



As any savvy seller or realtor knows, home improvements don’t always pay off. However, lawn work is always worth your while because it boosts curb appeal. Plus, if a buyer can look at your yard and imagine their kids running around the grass or hosting lawn parties, you’ve successfully added workable space beyond your house’s square footage. For these reasons, improvements like turf grass within a maintained landscape can improve home value by 15-20%.

On the flip side, an improperly kept lawn provides a poor first impression to potential buyers. They’ll view it as a source of work rather than pleasure, and will enter the house expecting additional problems. To ensure that your exterior doesn’t hinder your upcoming home sale, consider the following ways to upgrade your yard. 

Ways to Improve Your Landscaping Before You Sell

  • Ideally, think ahead. Plants don’t grow overnight so, if you know you will be selling within the next year, start improving your lawn as soon as possible. Your grass should look as lush without any bald spots. This may mean increasing (or decreasing) your watering schedule; laying down fertilizer, planting new grass seeds, or rolling out turf grass.
  • Above all else, your yard should look tidy. This means no tall grass, weeds, piles of leaves, or bushes that ran amok. Mulch your flower beds for a professional appearance. Consider power washing your walkway, porches, and deck. Consider hiring someone to maintain its pristine appearance, especially if you’ve already moved into your new home. 
  • Keep it simple. Remember, you want to appeal to the masses rather than a select few. Though the idea of a rock garden may sound cool to you, it may turn off families who would prefer soft grass. If in doubt, look to other houses on the block to gauge what would be considered “normal.” 

Similarly, an elaborate garden may intimidate potential buyers who view it as requiring significant upkeep. Consider labeling each of the plants and providing printed care instructions to ease their concerns.  

  • Position your plants to frame your home rather than compete with it. Trees and bushes should not block the view of your home from the pathway. Similarly, if you plan on planting flowers to further curb appeal, position them near the entrance rather than away from the main focal point. If you don’t have time to plant, potted plants can become a part of your staging. 
  • Make sure that your plants don’t present false advertising. If you want to take your favorite flowers with you to your new home, you’re obligated to inform potential buyers within the contract. To avoid the extra hoops, it’s best to dig up and pot the plants prior to showing the house.