Portland Landscaping Tips to Increase Home Value 2020

portland landscaping home value

Whether you’re hoping to build home value long-term or are selling this summer and want to maximize curb appeal, landscaping is critical. This time of year is when Portland yards, gardens and outdoor play/relax areas really shine. There’s so much potential here to impress and win over home buyers that we’re going to have a hard time fitting it all into one blog article — but we will do our best!

Landscaping to Boost Curb Appeal: Sell Your Home for More this Summer

Study after study shows that curb appeal has a direct impact on home value: a 7-14% increase in sales price was recently reported by realtor.com

We also know that landscaping is a major component of curb appeal. But if you’re listing your home now to take advantage of the seasonal increase in buyer activity, you don’t have time to terrace your garden or install a water feature. Instead, landscaping in a short time frame is about maintaining what you already have and staging the space so that it looks attractive — both in person and online. Our real estate agents have some tips:

  1. Green up the grass. Before the hottest summer temperatures hit (usually in July or August in Portland), fertilize your lawn with a soil-appropriate fertilizer to give it that rich, lush green color. Be sure to read the bag, only apply the recommended amount, and spread it evenly using a spreader. Spreaders can be rented or borrowed from a neighbor, and not only do they prevent fertilizer “burn” (brown spots) on your lawn, they also keep excess fertilizer from leaching into local streams and rivers (which you know we have a lot of in Portland)! 
  2. Mow high. You don’t want to let your grass get too high and look unkempt, and it does grow quickly this time of year! As a result, it may be tempting to push the mower across the lawn at the lowest setting. But doing so will cause the grass to go brown, retain less water, and grow back too slowly. So leave the mower up about 3 inches before you start cutting.
  3. Add some flowers. No matter what your current landscaping is, it will almost always look better with some annual flowers tucked in. Choose hanging baskets, pots, or plant straight into the ground (along walkways is great) — just be sure you can keep up with deadheading and watering flowers while your home is on the market. 
  4. Refresh mulch. Mulch helps protect plants from the summer heat, prevents weeds from sprouting up, and happens to look great, too! Figure out the areas you want to re-mulch, and plan on a 2” depth to cover. Then use the online mulch calculator to figure out how much mulch to buy. If you need more than one cubic yard, most Portland mulch companies will deliver it right to your driveway. 
  5. Trim back shrubs and trees. With Portland’s high winter rainfall, things can grow out of hand quickly. Before you have professional photos taken to list your home, spend some time pruning and grooming, or have a professional landscaper in to do the job. If there are any trees that exhibit signs of stress, or that have limbs reaching out over the roof of your house, have them evaluated by an arborist. Even if you don’t have them do any work, having the information on hand will allow your real estate agent to provide quick answers to potential buyers who question the safety of any tree. 
  6. Revitalize outdoor furniture. Out in the elements, patio furniture can fade pretty quickly. Many outdoor spaces don’t need furnishings, so it might be best just to store these items before you list your home. However, a nice table and a couple of chairs in a gazebo or a large patio can help define the space and give buyers a sense of the indoor/outdoor lifestyle your home offers. Rather than throwing out your old furnishings and buying new, why not just give them a facelift? Check out this Bob Vila guide to re-staining, re-painting or re-covering your way to outdoor home staging perfection. 

Landscaping for Long Term Home Investment Value

If you’re not selling your home this season but it’s in your long-term plan (most Portland homes change hands every 10 years), now is the best time to consider some changes to your landscape that will pay off down the road. Maybe your landscape lacks character, or it’s just out of touch with today’s buyers, many of whom desire environmentally friendly, low maintenance and low-water landscaping. No matter what your goals are, the following tips will set you on a path toward a successful landscape.

  1. Plant trees. A tree in front of your home can increase its final sale price by 3% or more, and the same Portland-specific study found that street trees reduce the number of days a home spends on the market. Read our full article on how to choose the right tree for your property, and even get a rebate on your tree from the City of Portland.
  2. Build a rain garden. Rain barrels and/or rain gardens reduce stormwater runoff, conserve water and are an attractive landscaping feature. They’re also a great place to highlight native plants and attract beneficial insects, birds and amphibians. You can even get money back on your project if your home is in East Multnomah County. Read more here on our blog.
  3. Add exterior lighting. Xeriscaping and rock gardens are growing more popular in Portland, and they really stand out at night when in-ground lighting is used to highlight key features both in the landscape and on the home itself. Lights can also be installed underneath decks and stairs to improve safety, or connect with smart home security via a motion sensor. LED bulbs in brass fixtures use minimal amounts of power and last for decades. Check out this Architect’s Guide for more ideas and inspiration. 

My Number 1 Landscaping Tip

Define the space. Make everything look intentional. Yards are organic, a desirable manicured look is one with defined spaces. Grass won’t grow around a tree? Define a circle around that tree and fill it in. Shady area in your yard? Perhaps that is a good spot for a patio or fire pit. Create defined shapes people recognize around planting areas. Triangles, rectangles, circles, and squares are all fair game.

Ready to put your Portland home on the market and catch the seasonal onrush of home buyers? Contact our pro listing team today. We’re Portland’s top 1% seller’s agents for a reason!

May 18, 2020

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team. We work from Salem, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington and beyond. Check out our full services areas on the top menu.