Portland Landscaping Tips to Increase Short-Term or Long-Term Home Value

Are you gearing up to put your home on the market this summer? If so, there’s a lot to think about: finding a qualified real estate agent, prioritizing repairs and updates, and so much more! The ultimate goal, of course, is to make your home as appealing as possible to every potential buyer who crosses the threshold for an in-person viewing.

One excellent way to improve the aesthetic appeal and increase the value of your home is to refresh or revamp landscaping. Below, we offer tips and suggestions for improving the value of your home for both short- and long-term approaches.

Short-Term Curb Appeal Boost to Sell your Home

Here are a few quick, simple steps you can take to freshen up the landscaping surrounding your home, make its curb appeal pop, and get it listed.

  1. Green up the grass—Even here in Oregon, grass can brown out, especially now that summers are routinely getting hotter. Make a point to water a little extra, especially later in the evening to ensure the greatest opportunity for absorption.
  2. Mow high—Cutting your grass too low can mean cutting down to the growth that doesn’t see the light of day. The last thing you want is to remove any green your lawn already has. Setting your mower at a higher placement might mean that you’ll need to mow more often, but it’s a small price to pay when you weigh the benefits.
  3. Add a few annuals—The addition of color can do wonders to spruce up a home’s appearance. This is easy to do with a few spots of color hanging from the eaves or decorative pots placed on the porch or near the entrance.
  4. Refresh mulch—Another relatively low-cost landscaping touch is to freshen up the mulch in flower beds and around the base of trees. This will help your yard look well-cared for and make a positive impression on buyers.
  5. Trim trees and shrubs—Trimming your own trees and shrubs is free, and as with mulching, having tidy and well-kept trees and shrubs sends a signal to buyers. The connection they’ll make is that if you care for your lawn, you’ve also cared for the home they’re considering buying.
  6. Spruce up outdoor furniture—Take a look at your patio furniture. If its sun-faded, damaged, or out of style, a few new pieces will liven up your outdoor living areas and help anyone viewing your home imagine themselves relaxing in the space.

How to Landscape in Portland for Long-Term Investment Home Value

Whether or not you have plans to sell your home soon, now is always a good time to take steps to improve its value.

It’s easy to fall into bare-minimum maintenance mode after living in a home for a while, so check in and consider your exterior environment. Could it use a little more character? Could it be more environmentally appealing to today’s buyers? Maybe it could be more low maintenance or revamped to require less water.

If you’re not sure what your yard might need, you can always get suggestions and recommendations from a landscape designer for ideas and do the work yourself. Or you can hire a professional landscaper to do it for you. If you want to keep it DIY, though, you can still make aesthetically pleasing and lasting changes to your yard that will increase its value.

  1. Xeriscape. This type of landscaping, which requires little to no irrigation, is becoming more and more popular in Portland. Features of xeriscaping might include pathways created with various materials, like slate, rock, bamboo, or mulch. Strategically placed seating or small seating areas can provide aesthetically pleasing designs in a yard and create areas for socializing and entertaining. Maybe one of the most importance facets of xeriscaping is the use of native and drought-tolerant plants to encourage water retention. Succulents are a great choice for xeriscaping—even here in Portland.
  2. Plant trees and shrubs. If you know you’ll be in your home for a while, planting trees and shrubs in a yard will give dimension and texture to spaces. When you use drought-tolerant varieties, as mentioned above, you double the benefit. Planting evergreens ensures color year round and cuts down on the need to rake in the fall. For shrubbery, consider Sprinter boxwood, Mountain laurel, Birds nest spruce, and Winter creeper. For trees: laurels, oaks, and magnolias. Read more about how to choose the right tree for your yard and maybe even get a rebate in the process!
  3. Create a rain garden. Rain gardens are an excellent option here in Oregon. This type of garden’s location—sunken, at a lower elevation than its surroundings—allows for natural watering from roof runoff and other sources. These types of gardens are also great for the environment, and adding one to your yard can help keep Portland at the top of the “Greenest Cities in America” list. Installing rain barrels or building a rain garden on your property will also attract beneficial birds, amphibians, and insects when you plant native. And, if all this isn’t enough, you might even get financial assistance! Sedges, ferns, Oregon iris, tall Oregon grape, and wild ginger are but a few of the plants ideal for a rain garden in Portland.
  4. Add a rock garden. If you have a south or southwest slope in your yard that gets plenty of sun, you might want to seriously consider adding a rock garden to your landscaping To Do list. It might take a slight bit of soil amending to ensure a loose, well-draining environment. And while more watering is necessary in the first year of a rock garden’s existence, as time passes, it will require less and less. A few possible plants to place amongst your strategically placed rocks and boulders are dianthus, sedum, and thymus.
  5. Install exterior lighting. The use of lighting in a yard not only creates safety by illuminating dark areas at night, but it can also provide dimension and a way to showcase certain plants or other landscaping features, like the aforementioned xeriscapes and rock gardens. Installing lights beneath decks and stairs can improve a home’s safety or connect with a motion sensor for smart home security. LED bulbs in brass fixtures use less power and last for decades. See this Architect’s Guide for inspiration and ideas.
  6. Add a hardscape. Hardscaping is the practice of using structures—decorative or practical—to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of a lawn space, giving definition to natural areas. These might include fences, benches, pathways, pergolas, or retaining walls.
  7. Add ground cover. If you know you’ll be in your home for a while, low-maintenance ground cover is a great way to spiff of your lawn and give it character and dimension. As with the rain garden, good options here are sedums and thymus, as well as various low-growing grasses, creeping Jenny, and blue star creeper. Fast-growing varieties include trailing periwinkle, creeping thyme, and goldenstar.
  8. Add automatic irrigation. For your plants and lawn features that do require irrigation, setting up an automatic system is a great way to go. Systems like this will free up your time, as well as ensure that your plants get the appropriate amount of water at the appropriate times, conserving water and giving your lawn excellent curb appeal. Along with the standard irrigation system set up—a controller, sprinklers, and valves—you can add extras like soil moisture sensors, drip irrigation zones, and rain shut off devices.
  9. Add weed deterrents. We’re not talking chemicals or herbicides here. We’re talking products you can put down to deter or eliminate weeds altogether, products that have long-term functional attributes, like cutting down on the time you’ll spend weeding, helping retain moisture, and decreasing the need for frequent watering. A couple to consider are mesh barriers and mulch.
  10. Add a container garden. Strategically installing containers around your property is great way to add texture and dimension to your yard. It can also be a relatively low-cost solution to give the appearance of landscaping. The added bonus: you can move certain plants inside during inclement weather and take them with you when you move! You can use clay, plastic, or metal pots, or you can get more creative and use barrels, bushel baskets, or anything else your creative mind can conceive.
  11. Plant perennials. The great thing about perennials is that they come back each year. Having these in your yard will ensure predictable growth without requiring a lot of your time. Hostas, rhododendron, hydrangeas, and candy tuft, and daffodils, are a few great options for perennial planting in Portland.

The Thing to Remember About Landscaping and Home Value

As we’ve said, what potential buyers see from the outside of your home will give them an impression of what they’ll see on the inside. A well-kept, aesthetically pleasing yard adds immediate value to your home. Undertaking landscaping with thoughtful intention that showcases the style of your home and highlights all it has to offer puts buyers that much closer to making the decision to buy.

If you’re ready to put your home on the market, our top 1% seller’s agents are ready to help! Our 19 years of experience in the Portland metro area and our know-how are just what you need to make your listing shine. If you’re thinking of selling your home in the next twelve months, the time to schedule a visit with us is now! We would love to help advise you on preparing your specific home for market, what improvements result in the best returns. Call us at 503-714-1111 or chat with the bot on our site. We look forward to hearing from you.

May 23, 2022

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.5% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.