Landscape Design for a Flip House

Written by Stewart French Posted On Friday, 03 July 2020 20:18

House flipping can be a lucrative business model.  It can also be a sinkhole where money disappears and never returns.  Doing a house flip the right way means controlling costs while creating the most attractive opportunities possible for prospective buyers.  One area you should never overlook when doing a house flip is the landscaping.

Landscape design for a flip house. Getting ready for a house flip project involves planning and budgeting.  One area that cannot afford to ignore in the planning or budgeting is the landscape for several reasons.

• Landscaping creates curb appeal.
• Landscaping is part of that all-important first impression.
• Landscaping can enhance value.
• Landscaping creates interest.

Good landscape design for your house flip can become the focal point for the prospective buyer's impression of the rest of the house.  A neatly planned and executed landscape design sets the stage for the introduction to the interior of the home.  There are some basic principles for landscape design for flipping houses.

Renovate or Replace

The first question is always, do we renovate the landscape or replace it?  Renovation is almost always cheaper than a full replacement and can sometimes be just as effective.  The decision all starts with an honest evaluation of what you must work with in the current landscape.   Some things to look at and consider are:

• What is the condition of the current landscape? – Is the turf in good condition, and can it be brought back to a full, thick look in time for the showing?  Are the bushes and other ground coverings healthy and properly pruned?  Do the trees look healthy or are they in need of attention from a professional arborist?
• Is the current landscape appropriate for the house and your design? – The house and the choice of design features should fit with the landscape.  The entire package, house and landscape, should
• Do we have time to rehabilitate the current landscape to fit the needs of the flip – The state of the current landscape may be such that their condition may make rehabilitation a longer-term project than the flip can manage,  Time pressure may make it more economical to replace the landscaping to have a fresh and complete look.

Renovation Tips

Depending on the time frame of your house flip project, you may have time to rehabilitate the landscaping on the property.  Rehabilitation is certainly less expensive than hiring a landscaping company to install a completely new landscape.   Some things that you should have on your list when rehabilitating an existing landscape are:

• Prune and Trim Bushes - Keep the sightlines on the house clear.  Trim large bushes to a more manageable size or remove them completely to make the front of the house look more open and inviting.  Large unruly bushes are easily replaceable with smaller and more attractive plants that will enhance the curb appeal of the home.
• Mulch flower beds – Mulch is cheap and you can even color coordinate the mulch you put on bare ground to tie the landscape into the house.  Mulching with colored mulch is a good trick to use in the winter when most flower beds are bare.
• Install Edging – Metal landscape edging is relatively cheap and easy to install.  Adding landscape edging to the flower beds and along unbordered walkways adds a professional touch and look to the landscape.
• Trim and Prune the trees – Poorly maintained trees can be a huge detriment to a house.  Trimming trees is one area where you may want to opt for hiring a professional.
• Get the Yard Looking Lush – If you can’t do anything else, make sure that the lawn is full and green.  Before you start the first bit of renovating to the house, you should set up a watering schedule and start feeding the lawn to get it back to that deep green carpet look.
• Look at the other Features – All too often, people doing flips do a great job on the living landscape and forget the hardscapes.   Look at walkways and make sure they are well maintained and safe.  Lighting should be fully operational and appropriate for the design.  If there is a curbside mailbox, see that it is straight, undented, and painted.


If the decision is to replace the landscape, it is probably best to hire a good landscape contractor to manage the job.  Professionals understand the challenges of creating and installing landscaping that will not only survive, but also work with your vision and design to bring a unified plan to the house flip.

Hiring a landscaper is much like hiring any other subcontractor on your job.  You want the most qualified company you can find at the best possible price.  A good landscaper will provide you with services you may not have considered.

• The landscaper should meet with you and consider your overall plan and make recommendations on the landscape design, plants, and irrigation systems.
• Check the background of the landscape company.  Does it have the proper licenses, credentials, and insurance?
• Look at some of their previous work, both old and new.
• Get an estimate from several landscape contractors for the same work and compare prices and services.
• Be involved.   Watch the progress of the job and ask questions.  You want to pass to your buyer as much information as possible about any landscape design.

Why Landscaping is Important to a Flip

The look of the landscape matters to a house flip as much as the design of the interior space.  There are things people look for in a home, and the exterior look and feel can make or break the deal on the house.  Certain things are involved in the landscape and how it affects people's reactions to a home.

• A first impression can set the tone for the whole home showing.  Landscaping is a huge factor in how people look at a house and can influence their entire opinion.
• A natural landscape design that blends well with the area and the other homes can soften the look and make the house appear more comfortable and attractive.
• A well-designed landscape makes a house look like a home and invited people into that atmosphere.
• A landscape design that incorporates the outdoors as a functional part of the home increases value by offering more function.

Before the Sale

Don’t neglect the landscape that surrounds all your hard work on the home.  Keep in mind that people arriving will start judging the home as they are driving up the street.  You want to create the best first impression possible.

We hope that this guide to landscape design for a flip house gives you an edge as you begin your flip project and starts you on your way to a successful and rewarding house flipping experience.

Stewart French is a 20-year veteran of the landscape design industry and specializes in exterior design for homeowners on a budget. He has consulted with dozens of real estate and property experts on creating fast, affordable landscape designs for homes on the real estate market including flip houses.

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