Whether you’re looking to sell your home in the future or you just want to invest in your property, there are several landscaping projects that can add real value to your home. But you don’t want to make upgrades just for the sake of doing so. Instead, you should focus on making improvements that provide the biggest return on investment (ROI).

The ROI of landscaping varies from project to project. For example, real estate experts say smart landscape design decisions can yield an ROI of anywhere from 200-400%, though pinning down an exact number can be difficult.

Well-planned landscaping improvements go a long way in adding curb appeal and increasing the functional usage and value of your property. Whenever you’re making upgrades to your home, you should consult with a both a real estate agent and landscaping professional. In doing so, you’ll be able to get more information about features buyers are looking for and the cost and options of projects that will provide you with the biggest return on investment in your local area.

These are some of the best choices when making upgrades to your property:

1. Landscape Design

landscaping feature

If you’re considering making any upgrades to your home, landscape design should be the first on your list because plantings are one of the few things that continue to add value over time.

Remember that trees and shrubs take time to mature. So if you’re adding trees as a way to increase the value of your property before you sell, you should plan in advance and start early.

Working with a professional is beneficial for many landscaping projects. Choosing the right company is critical, as a bad design or poor plant selections can actually lower the value of your home.

Look for a company who can handle all aspects of your project including design, plant selection, project management, installation and with great customer service.

2. Add Large Specimen Trees

Even if you already have modestly-sized shrubs in your landscape design, consider adding two to four large specimen trees. They cost more than your average tree or shrub, but they provide a great return on investment. Just remember to give your large trees plenty of water as they continue to grow the first couple years.

3. Repair Lawn Areas

A property with dead spots and tons of weeds can prevent people from wanting to look at your home. It makes potential buyers think that the property isn’t well cared for and that they’ll need to spend a lot of money on maintenance on other neglected items.

One of the best ways to add curb appeal is to clean up and repair your existing lawn. You can do this by:

  • Treating your lawn with selective weed control materials
  • Reseeding your lawn
  • Applying fertilizer
  • Controlling lawn insects that damage the lawn
  • Replace natural lawn areas that may be inaccessible to manage regularly with artificial grass

4. Paving Stone Driveways

driveway pavers

Replacing an old concrete driveway with paving stones is another great way to add curb appeal. Buyers are always looking for reasons to get sellers to lower their price, and an old, cracked driveway gives them a good reason to do so. That’s why hardscaping return on investment is generally very good (and it’s affordable).

Paving stones come in a variety of different styles, colors and textures, making it easy to find a design that fits your style and matches the architecture of your home. And because paving stones are more durable than concrete and asphalt, it will last for decades.

5. Trim Shrubs and Prune Trees

Trees and shrubs require maintenance, but too often, homeowners neglect this aspect of landscaping. When not taken care of, trees and shrubs can crowd walkways or driveways, cover windows, block views and cause safety and security hazards.

If your trees and shrubs have gotten out of hand, it may be best to hire a landscaping company or reputable tree service to handle the trimming and pruning.

6. Remove and Replace Old Plants

If you haven’t kept up with maintenance for your plants and shrubs, there’s a chance you won’t be able to trim them. In this case, you’ll want to take out these plants and replace them with new varieties.

If you find yourself in this situation, consult with a landscape designer who can help you choose the best plants for your Southern California property.

7. Low-Maintenance Pondless Water Features

backyard landscaping

In an area like Southern California, pondless water features are a great way to enhance the look of your home without requiring too much maintenance. A low-maintenance water feature such as a fountain or pondless waterfall can help future buyers to fall in love with not only the sights, but the sounds of your backyard oasis.

8. Add Color to Your Landscape

Eye-catching plants increase curb appeal, and colorful foliage is one of the many great ways to do this. For as little as a few hundred dollars, you can add a variety of colorful plants to areas on your Southern California property.

Perennials are another great way to add multi-seasonal color, and they’re inexpensive compared to trees and shrubs. Also, consider adding a few nicely planted container gardens at your front entrance, back patio or any other area where you want to draw attention.

Just make sure you choose the right plants for your property, such as ones that are native or drought-resistant, since they’re better able to survive in Southern California’s weather. If you need help choosing plants, consult with a local landscaping company.

9. Low-Maintenance Pondless Water Features


Visitors and potential buyers may not see your backyard right away, but creating an outdoor entertaining space can make a lasting impression – as long as it’s designed correctly.

When designing an outdoor kitchen, some features to include could be built-in appliances, grills, a fireplace and seating areas. The best part about these outdoor spaces is that people begin to envision themselves cooking and entertaining guests, allowing them to fall in love with your property.

10. Maintaining Landscape Beds

One of the best ways to make a property presentable is to maintain landscape beds on a regular basis. Doing these tasks each year will help your property to keep a pristine appearance:

  • Pull weeds and apply pre-emergent weed control
  • Edge mulch beds where they meet grass areas.
  • Add a two-inch layer of mulch to plant beds

Landscaping Projects that Provide the Least Value

While there are plenty of landscaping projects that provide great ROI, such as the ones above, not all projects provide maximum return.

In Los Angeles, pools can sometimes add very little value and could even detract from your home’s value. Not all potential buyers want pools. However, in luxury neighborhoods, pools could be a must-have feature.

It’s worth noting that while ROI is important, it’s equally important to have a space that you love. If you plan on staying in your home for a long time and having a pool will provide many hours of entertainment, it may still be worth the investment. The personal enjoyment you and your family will experience as you relax and entertain is priceless.

Finding a Los Angeles Landscaping Company to Partner With

First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to your Southern California property. The ROI of landscaping is undeniable, but when making upgrades to your home, quality is important. Working with an experienced landscaping company can make all the difference.

A great landscaping company will be able to advise you on how much to spend on landscaping to increase home value. They’ll also help you stay within your budget, outline a landscaping master plan and develop a project timeline that works for you.

At Pacific Outdoor Living, we’ve worked on many properties where we helped clients make improvements that increased the value of their homes. We know the features that potential buyers love and those that will get you the most return on investment.

Learn more about how we can help you by checking out our portfolio of completed projects. If you’re looking to make landscaping upgrades to your home, we’d love to help you with your next project.

At Pacific Outdoor Living, we offer a full suite of in-house design build services. To get started, contact us today or give us a call at 818.390.9497 for a free estimate.

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