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Money might not grow on trees, but planting a few lush shrubs in your yard will increase the value of your house. This intel comes from a recently released study by Lawn Starter, which breaks down the best (and worst) updates home sellers can make to their outdoor spaces, drawing on numbers from a 2018 yard report from the National Association of Realtors. One surprising fact: Simply mowing the grass is more worth your time and money than building an in-ground swimming pool. While lawn-care services see a 267 percent return of investment, the latter recoups just 43 percent of the average $57,000 cost of installation. 

Fancy water features (think: hot tubs and fountains) can negatively affect your property’s value by $2,500 to $10,000. So what will put money back in your pocket? Leading the way is a well-maintained lawn, which costs an average of $270 per year, but adds around $1,200 in value. In other words, nice-looking grass pleases buyers, especially millennials, who ranked it as the number-one feature they search for in a new home. If you don’t love the idea of committing so much time to cutting the grass, consider purchasing a large zero-turn mower to help shave off a few hours, so you can get back to actually enjoying your outdoor space.

Other low-cost outdoor improvements that see a high return on investment? Planting mature trees (taller species can improve a neighborhood’s property values by up to 15 percent) and installing a built-in, all-season deck (it returns an estimated 83 percent of the amount spent). No need to go overboard with elaborate fencing and a Wimbledon-worthy tennis court. Instead, keep things simple. 

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.

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