If you're looking to increase your property value, your backyard landscaping is almost as important as the landscaping in the front yard. While attractive front and side yard landscaping helps make a good first impression on a prospective buyer, backyard landscaping may help convince him to actually purchase the house at your asking price. The trick, however, is to choose the types of landscaping that will bring you a good return on your investment of both money and time. Contrary to popular belief, completely revamping your home's landscape is not always the best way to go. Chances are, all you'll need to do is spend a little time getting your existing landscape in order.
Clean up The Main Features
Before you add anything to your backyard, make sure the basic landscaping features look as good as possible. Get your lawn, shrubs and trees in good condition and make sure they look well manicured. Repair any damaged walkways, patios and decks and pull up weeds growing in or around them. Install edging around your lawn and flower beds for a neater, more finished look. Clean or replace features like sheds, lighting fixtures and statuary. Because you see your yard regularly, you might not notice areas that have begun to look run down, so it can help to invite someone else over to point out any messy looking spots you might have missed.
The landscaping in your backyard should not give a prospective buyer visions of endless hours of exhausting garden work. Consider removing plants that need a lot of care, such as exotic species, plants that drop a an abundance of needles, leaves or messy fruit, and species that may become invasive. Replace these with local native plants whenever possible. These species thrive in the wild in your locality, so they'll require almost no care in the garden. Apply sufficient mulch to flower beds so you do not have weeds popping up a week after you clear the bed. Develop bare spots or hard-to-landscape slopes into rock gardens, which look attractive, but require only minimal upkeep. If you have any tight spots that are hard to mow, create a flower bed around the area. This way you'll only have to mow around the edges of the bed.
Block Unpleasant Views
Unless you do something to minimize or improve their appearance, common items like propane tanks, stumps and sheds can become eyesores that make your back look junky and unkempt. In most case, there are simple ways to hide or spruce up these items. Install a trellis or fence panel in front of the propane tank and plant a climbing vine like sweet pea or clematis to block the view. Dress up a stump by drilling holes in the top, filling the holes with dirt and planning flowers. Paint the garden shed to match your home, install a weather vane or other simple decor, and plant tall plants like daylillies or ornamental grass around the perimeter.