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How A Landscaped Garden Can Add Value To Your Home

By Laura Anderson

Landscaping, for the most part, is a fairly expensive pursuit, but it’s an investment that can add a surprisingly large amount of value to your home.

Kim McQueen, of McQueen Real Estate, has decades of experience in selling high-end properties in both urban and rural settings and says that a nicely landscaped outdoor area can literally add hundreds of thousands of dollars to a sale price.

McQueen lives and works in the Daylesford and Macedon regions, where The Block was filmed this year. Contestants tackled the massive landscaping projects on the four-hectare sites and were given a whopping budget of $90,000 to complete the task.

“Obviously it depends on the price of the property, but it can make a huge difference to the value of a home. Beautifully landscaped gardens are as important as beautiful interiors,” she says.

Established gardens with mature trees like eucalyptus or oaks can be particularly coveted because, as McQueen points out, it takes a long time to grow these trees. Well-kempt green lawns and privacy hedges are also sought after.

McQueen says that having a well-designed external space is hugely desirable in a culture where “everybody wants to get outside”.

Jayden Webber, who’s owned his business, Webber Landscapes, for over a decade, agrees that landscaping helps create “that seamless inside-outside living” that Australians are so attracted to.

Webber says that when it comes to landscaping, “outdoor entertaining areas will add the most value as long as all the components of that area integrate well together”.

“An experienced landscape designer is an important addition to help achieve this,” he adds.

“That can cost a lot of money to do — to get in the designers and the architects and the landscape designers,” McQueen says. “But honestly, you will never lose because it just creates a beautiful environment. And gardens are outdoor rooms, so it just creates a wider living area for people, you know, when the weather is good and they can go outside to these wonderful areas.”

While a home that comes with established trees can have a big “wow” factor, Webber says that installing new plants is more cost-effective than trying to transplant mature trees, and that young trees will often have a better chance of adapting and thriving in a new environment.

As far as the most expensive aspects of landscaping go, it’s the hardscaping components that necessitate excavation, various pieces of machinery, materials like steel and concrete and a high labour involvement, Webber says. The price keeps climbing if your site requires plans, permits or engineering drawings. Installing pools and spas can also “get costly very quickly”.

So, how much do some of these products and services actually cost?

The financial layout of landscaping varies hugely depending on the size of your property and where you live. It’s also influenced by factors such as your soil condition (Webber says clay or heavy soils require a lot more drainage than sandy soils), how easy it is for machinery to access the site (manual labour like hand digging is more expensive) and whether any demolition is required.


On average, a concrete driveway of exposed aggregate will cost you around $120 to $180 per square metre. A paved driveway will set you back anywhere between $200 to $600 per square metre, depending on what kind of base you’re working with and what kind of stone you’re using (low-cost concrete pavers or high-end natural stone). Gravel is the most cost-effective option for driveways, but requires maintenance.


The beloved Australian deck costs about $350 per square metre for hardwood — and that’s if the decking is at ground level and doesn’t require engineered foundations and framework.

Retaining walls

Retaining walls also vary quite a bit, but treated sleeper pine walls cost around $400 to $600 per square metre (plus excavation), while block or stone walls are usually between $600 and $1000 per square metre (plus excavation). Stone walls are generally more labour-intensive, and naturally, the higher the wall, the higher the cost.

McQueen says that prospective buyers will inspect the workmanship of the landscaping, so investing in a quality tradesperson from the start is key. Webber recommends ensuring that you’re using a registered landscaper, and asking to see photos or site visits of past projects before enlisting their services.

If you’re looking to sell your home …

McQueen says it’s a great idea to focus on simple things like freshening up stone toppings on driveways and arranging nice garden furniture before you get the real estate photos taken. She also suggests brightening up the place with flowers like daffodils, tulips and bluebells.

Soft-scaping, while less expensive, can still play a huge role in lifting the aesthetic appeal (and value) of a home. Webber suggests the most cost-effective yet transformative landscaping activities in this regard include “spreading a fresh layer of mulch or pebbles through the garden or filling up bare patches in the garden with plants”.

“If you have paving or decking areas that are looking a bit neglected, then a quick clean with a high-pressure washer can make these areas look like new again,” he adds.

McQueen says: “That first impression of any home is so important. Plant some flowers if it’s spring, get some beautiful flowering plants in garden beds or even pots. Just make it look really inviting and it can … make a very big difference.”


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