How your yard impacts the value of your Billings home


    trees boost home value

    The experts at the Appraisal Institute say that anything you do to better the appearance of the outside of the home will increase its value. Updating the landscaping alone may boost the value up to 11 percent, according to a Michigan State University (MSU) study.

    Now, that may not sound like much, but look at it this way: The average sale price of a Billings home is $237,500. Spiff up your front yard and you could bring in more than $26,000 more. Ah, caught your attention on that one, right? Let’s look at some of the easier and less expensive ways you can get this project going and end up with more money when you sell your house in Billings.

    Balance is key

    That Michigan State University study mentioned earlier finds that the landscape’s sophistication is the most significant consideration when it comes to how a buyer perceives the value of your home.

    So just what is sophisticated landscaping? The study claims that if your yard contains a balance of evergreen plants, large, deciduous trees, annual color plants and colored hardscape it’s sophisticated.

    People like bigger plants

    In most areas of the country, including Billings, large trees are in great demand and perceived to be more valuable than younger trees.

    The Arbor Day Foundation’s studies find that large trees on a property can add up to 15 percent to a home’s value. Not only that, but if the tree shades the house during the hottest part of the day, you’ll gain a cost savings on your utility bills. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says, in fact, that the tree’s shade will give you the equivalent cooling of 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours per day.

    Landscapes need diversity too

    So, you know to balance your plantings and get some big trees in the ground. Now it’s time to ensure that you create interest with a diversity of plants. The MSU study finds that color is the best way to do this — whether it’s annual flowers or colored hardscape or even both. The latter might be the addition of a multi-colored paver walkway (see the stunning example at or steal some ideas from

    Landscape schemes that reduce value

    Landscapes that include only young, small plants will reduce the home’s value, according to the MSU study. Yet, shop at the nursery on a tight budget and those may be the only plants you can afford.

    Reconsider buying lots of small plants and spend the entire budget on one or two large trees. Northwestern Energy suggests cut-leaf weeping birch (Betula pendula gracilis) and the Montana natives, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni) and mountain maple (Acer glabrum). The City of Billings also has a list of trees recommended for Billings.

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