FIELDWORK DESIGN GROUP  |  1770 W. BERTEAU AVE.  |  SUITE 303  |  CHICAGO, IL 60613  |  773.588.1419

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  • Megan Wade

The Value of Landscape



Investments in Landscape = Higher Property Value


Whether you are a property owner, a developer, or an architect with a client who is renovating a property or building a new one, it is important to consider and plan ahead for the landscape that will surround it. Studies suggest that the investments made into the landscape of a property have a large impact on the value of a property overall.

In fact, improving a property’s outdoor spaces is one of the most reliable ways to increase its value quickly.


Enhanced curb appeal can differentiate a property from other comparable properties in a neighborhood - an advantage in a competitive real estate market. Thoughtful reinventions/ improvements of outdoor spaces can add living, cooking, dining, and other amenities for its residents, increasing a property’s overall functionality and spaciousness.

Beyond merely improving aesthetics or providing new amenities, a quality landscape can provide many other less visible but equally important benefits that have impact beyond a site's property lines. A well-designed landscape can:

  • Address problem areas on a property in terms of flooding or grading.

  • Mitigate storm-water runoff, reducing the load on public utilities.

  • Increase a site’s permeability, allowing for groundwater recharge and improved local water quality.

  • Reduce the energy used in cooling buildings with properly located trees, while also improving air quality.

  • Provide habitat and food for birds and other beneficial pollinators.

  • Create a feeling of safety through site-lighting, good visibility in critical areas, and accessible pathways through the site for residents at various stages of life.

  • Offer residents a chance to connect with nature – and to engage with each other – both of which have decrease symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, and depression.

While it might seem like these benefits are intangible or difficult to quantify, several studies have shown that a well-designed landscape can have a measurable effect on the dollar value of a property.

  • Landscape improvements can increase the perceived value of a property by 5-12% compared to similar properties with minimal landscapes.

  • For every dollar invested, a property owner can expect a return on investment of 150% or more, depending on the quality of the improvements. This high ROI places landscape projects ahead of popular home improvement projects like kitchen or bathroom updates.

Quality of Design Matters

While landscape improvements can maximize your property’s value, recent research by both the Michigan State University and Virginia Tech suggest that design sophistication is the most influential factor in the equation. If fact, if the new landscape is not in keeping with the architectural style of the property or if the elements are not properly constructed, a property’s landscape could negatively impact its value. Next to design quality, the maturity of the plantings is second in determining the impact your new landscape will have on your property’s value. So, it is important to select plant material that is not only durable, but properly sized.

The best way to ensure that your new landscape will have a positive impact on your property’s value is to work with an experienced, licensed landscape architect. Landscape architects have been rigorously trained to help you envision the possibilities and uses that your landscape can deliver. Through an iterative design process, they can develop drawings that communicate that clarify the desired outcome and communicate your intent to a landscape contractor. They can also serve as an advocate for you during the construction process to make sure your landscape delivers as much value – in every sense of the word – as possible.


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