University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF LANDSCAPING
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Economically, landscaping can increase
property and resale values, lower energy costs, improve business and sales, and
create positive perceptions for areas.
Landscaping can add up to 14 percent to
the resale value of a building, and speed up its sale by up to 6 weeks. Another source of information has a similar
increase of 15 percent in resale value, by spending 5 percent of your home
value on landscaping, resulting in a 150 percent or more return on your
investment. A Quebec survey found that adding hedges to a
landscape increased property values by 3.5 percent, adding a landscaped curb
added 4.4 percent, and a landscaped patio added 12.4 percent to property
A study on rental properties found that
landscaping was the improvement that had the largest positive impact on
occupancy. Appraised property values of
homes next to natural parks and spaces are typically 8 to 20 percent higher
than properties elsewhere.
Properly selecting and placing plants can
lower costs for heating and cooling homes by up to 20 percent or more. This can include deciduous trees for summer
shade, evergreens for winter windbreaks.
Estimates from Department of Energy computer models are that three
properly placed trees can reduce average home energy costs between $100 and
In leaky old homes (such as mine!),
proper placement of evergreen plants can reduce both heat loss and cold air
coming in during winter. During summer,
plants can save 15 percent or more in air conditioning costs. Trees can be used to block sun from windows
and walls. Grass and
groundcovers can be used to reduce reflected heat. Shrubs and vines next to foundations can be
used to create an air space that provides some insulation.
Attractive landscapes prove beneficial to
businesses as well as to homes. A survey
in the south showed that almost 3/4 of the public preferred to patronize stores
that were well-landscaped, including landscaped parking lots. Another survey in eight U.S. cities
found that businesses with orderly and well-maintained landscapes were rated
more highly than others. Figures from Washington state
indicate the public has more positive perceptions about businesses that have
trees and green space, and are willing to pay 10 percent more for products
purchased in such green areas.
Rental rates for commercial properties in
one study found they were 7 percent higher on well-landscaped
sites. Some hotels appreciate the value of indoor
plants, one of the largest indoor gardens being at the Opryland Hotel
in Nashville. Interior rooms facing the tropical gardens
are the first to be reserved, resulting in an additional $7 million in
While smaller trees are less expensive to
install, and provide benefits for the short term, in the long term large trees
have been shown to be a better investment.
When mature, each large tree can provide an average $65 more benefit
than smaller trees in energy savings, cleaner air, extended life of streets,
better storm water management, and higher property values.
In addition to economic benefits, plants
and landscaping provide environmental and social (or human services)
benefits. More can be found on these
studies at the Magic of Landscapes (www.magicoflandscaping.com).
Return to Perry's Perennial