By Christine Espinoza, HomeSmart Realtor

Of all improvements to boost home value, landscape is one that will get you the largest return on your investment.  Landscape design can increase the value of your home by at least five percent and it’s one of the quickest ways to get more bang for your buck when you sell. We have a realtor who can explain how these five landscape tips make a difference in your home’s value.

1. Match landscape to your home’s style: Make sure your landscaping fits with your home’s style. For example: if you have a country-style home, a Japanese garden would be out of place and could even lower a home’s value. Different areas of the valley have their own unique styles…for example in Arcadia using lots of grass, flowers and lush landscaping is a must; whereas Troon in North Scottsdale you will see mostly desert landscape.

2. Design with a strategy in mind: Do not clutter an entire yard with various high-maintenance plantings and don’t have plain grass with no landscaping. A good rule of thumb is to have a few well-designed points of interest that compliment your home’s style. If you live in a neighborhood that is family friendly, stage the front yard with a swing or table and chairs…this will help the buyer picturing themselves living there and interacting with neighbors, or watching their children play in the front yard.

3. Use color and lighting: Seasonal color makes the landscape pop! Go for a splash of several colors or a monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of the home. If you’re not a green thumb and don’t want to actually plant flowers, buy large pots and place flowers in the pots for instant color! Colors are fabulous during the day, but at night cannot be seen. Be sure that you have enough lighting hitting the features of the home you want to highlight, whether it is the landscaping itself or the homes architecture. Potential buyers are driving around day and night, so have your home looking it’s best at all times!

4. Plant trees: A few trees can make a huge difference in a home’s sale price. Trees are seen as eco-friendly, they offer shade to keep neighborhoods and homes cooler in the summer and they are a great way to add green to your yard. Another use for trees is to strategically place them in areas where you want to hide something that is a negative to a buyer; for example a two story looking down into the back yard, power lines, a messy neighbors yard, or any sort of eye sore that you don’t want the buyer to see.

5. Maintain the lawn: A healthy, maintained lawn makes or breaks a house. Even better, an edged lawn gives a yard an easy to maintain look – meaning no need for weeding. If it’s winter, be sure the winter grass has been planted in time, and summer…water the grass adequately to eliminate any brown/dead spots. If the lawn is not even and green, consider putting in new sod for a perfect, polished look.