How important is grass?

Asked by Bay_area_ll, Oakland, CA Sat Sep 29, 2012

I was thinking about pulling up the grass and just having a planted front lawn. Will this be a problem as far as resale?

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Maria Cipollone’s answer
Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Sun Oct 21, 2012
First impression count! Most people fall in love with houses with curb appeal. Grass and a lush landscaping is part of that curb appeal. Houses with beautiful and healthy grass and greenery sells right away. Keep the resale value in mind before you start change the appearance of your home.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone
2 votes
Tina Lam, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 30, 2012
Font lawn is more about looks and curb appeal than functions. As long as it looks good and well maintained, then it will be good for resale.

With most of the country recovering from the worst drought and rainfall continuing to be below average in bay area, homeowners worry about impending water shortage. If you replace the lawn with drought resistant plants, you can advertise your house as environmentally friendly, a plus for resale. Make sure you keep them low and not block the house.
2 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
It depends upon who your likely buyer is. If yours is a family oriented home, then yes, grass will matter. If your likely buyer is young or a senior, then perhaps there is no interest in mowing a lawn.

I don't mean to generalize - just want to convey that it's about the type of buyer who would likely buy your home.

Look at your neighborhoods. Is grass common in the surrounding homes? There is value in fitting in with the homes around you.

Good luck.
2 votes
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sat Sep 20, 2014
try this link:
They increase the REBATEs up to $3-4 per sf of lawn.

Sam Shueh
Keller Wms Cupertino Realty
1 vote
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sat Sep 20, 2014
SC water district has a grant encouraging home owners to have water wise garden. Putting rocks, mulch (2" thick min). The grant really helps the reduction of water. I have seen $20,000 savings from front garden alteration.
1 vote
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Mon Jul 21, 2014
Drove around South Bay, it is interesting Mt View, Sunnyvale many front lawn is deliberately left light brown to conserve water. I suspect they are better informed and are concerned with water conservation.

Other parts of San Jose I no longer can tell it is a renter or people are cutting back on H2O usage.
This year dusty car and yellow lawn are environmental friendly and fashionable.

Sam Shueh
Keller Wms Realty
1 vote
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Wed Jul 16, 2014
Drove around South Bay, it is interesting Mt View, Sunnyvale many front lawn is deliberately left light brown to conserve water. I suspect they are better informed and are concerned with water conservation.

Other parts of San Jose I can not tell it is a renter or people are cutting back on H2O usage.

In this year dusty car and yellow lawn is fashionable.

Sam Shueh
1 vote
Juliana Lee, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Tue Oct 2, 2012
You DO want to have plenty of living plants. It doesn't have to be lawn. It doesn't have to be just plants.

However lawn is in some ways easier to take care of than some other landscapes. A healthy lawn tends to choke out weeds but does require water, fertilizer, and regular mowing. The mowing vacuums up debri.

Outdoor activiities for families range from sitting on a front porch saying hi to passing neighbors to playing basketball on the driveway. Giving up a lawn creates few limits on activities.

Almost all people are happier when they are in a living organic environment. A brick patio with surrounding trees and flowers can be more welcoming and enjoyable than a lawn.

Make your yard so you enjoy it. Others will too.

Juliana Lee, MBA, LLB
Top 3 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty
Over 20 years experienc
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1 vote
Terry Bell, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Sun Sep 30, 2012
Curb appeal can be achieved in many ways. Back in the 70s during the water shortage, everyone was moving away from lawns to irrigated plantings. Drive around your neighborhood and see what similar homes have for their front yard, and you can see for yourself which is the better for curb appeal. I think you'll find, that it's not just a choice between sod and plants, but a choice between what is appealing to the eye vs not so appealing.
1 vote
Lawrence Gil…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 30, 2012
Wow!. I love this site. So many great responses from awesome agents.

There is one more option to think about. You might also consider artificial grass if you are looking for low maintenance. About a year ago, I replaced my entire front lawn with a "realistic-looking" artificial grass, and I have areas in the middle that have drought resistant plants. It is somewhat costly to buy/install, but my front yard ALWAYS looks good and many people cannot tell that the grass is artificial - even after touching it. I never have to mow the front yard again and my curb appeal is excellent. Also, the value reflected in my recent appraisal was strong.

Lawrence Gillen
Realtor/Manufactured Home Specialist
(408) 472-5582 Cell
Advantage Homes
DRE# 01193237
HCD# SP1177640
1 vote
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Hi Bay Area II

It comes down to curb appeal and will your home look better with a "planted front lawn"
or "grass".

Also, it becomes important whether you are doing this to have a low maintenance yard or
preparing to sell the home for profit. It then comes down to "curb appeal".

Are you trying to attract Buyers with Kids or other.

Good luck
1 vote
Kathy Mittel…, Agent, Hixson, TN
Sat Sep 29, 2012
In my opinion as a Realtor, depending on what kind of neighborhood you live in as to demographics of the buyers, I would keep your grass and add some slow growing bushes and perennials/annuals for color. Many buyers enjoy a little grass in their yards i.e. for pets or children to enjoy and play on especially. What is ugly is just lawn and nothing else so adding border plants that are suitable can really add some curb appeal. For those buyers who do not enjoy maintaining a yard they will probably go off and buy a condo or townhouse where the landscaping is taken care of for them.
Consulting with your Realtor is always an excellent idea before you make a major change to your home.
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Thanks for the clarification. I totally agree with Grace. Even though I am VERY allergic to grass, we have a lawn ringed with curved planter areas, a number of different types of bushes, several trees and landscape lighting. It’s a better combination than simply lawn, and all the neighbors love it.
1 vote
Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Hi Bay and tthanks for the post.

About 15 years ago, during the last water drought, "Xeriscape" or removing grass in favor of native drought tolerant plants became all the rage. Front yards full of lush lawns were abandoned in favor of huge sections of bushes and ground cover with pathways. Fast forward today, and, guess what, the lawn is back, the bushes have been removed, and there is a sprinkler watering nightly. I think this is a good example of the power of grass not only from a homeowner satisfaction standpoint, but in terms of curb appeal too.

If you don't want a lawn, then make it smaller by ringing the back and sides with flowering bushes and attractive ground cover, but I would never suggest removing the lawn 100 percent--especially if you are hoping to sell in the next, say, 5 years. I say 5 because it's just about this point when bushes really start to get "bushy" and tangled and slightly overgrown. So think carefully before yanking the green carpet in front of the home. It is still a highly desired feature by buyers today.

Good luck!
Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Hi Bay Area,

A nicely landscaped front yard is appealing. If you have some lawn in the back that would be good for those who have dogs. As for lawn in general more and more people are considering the use of native plantings and those which do not need so much water.

Definitely talke with your local real estate expert and pick the brains of a landscaper.
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1 vote
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
If you are preparing for sale - talk to your realtor, stager, gardener. It all depends on your house, neighborhood, demographics of the potential buyers. My gut reaction - don't remove the sod, put accent flowers around the entry way and closer to the street.

If you are not selling right now, don't worry about the resale value. Nice landscaping always sells.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Laura Feghali, Agent, Stamford, CT
Sat Sep 29, 2012
I'm in agreement with Don in that you want to keep your front yard in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood. If surrounding neighbors have plantings only in their yards then do consider it as an option as it is less maintenance which can be a good selling point.

Best wishes!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
It depends on what's the norm for your community and area. For instance, if everyone else has grass, and you'd be the only house with a planted front lawn, it could be a problem. It's not what people looking in your area would be expecting. On the other hand, if it's reasonably common in your area then it probably wouldn't hurt and might even be a benefit.

Certainly check with a local Realtor. But also, just drive around your community and see if you see any other homes with planted lawns.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Not sure what the difference would be between what you have now and what you are proposing - do you mean that you have crab grass now but you want to remove it and install a normal lawn? Or do you want to replace the existing "lawn" with some other type of ground cover?
1 vote
Arpad Racz, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Sep 20, 2014

Curb appeal is very important. Many buyers like the look of grass.

Kind regards,

0 votes
Diana Hellman, Agent, Larchmont, NY
Sun Jul 20, 2014
Landscaping is part of the outside curb appeal . Whatever you can do to enhance the outside and the inside will increase the investment. This along with location are the key variables.
0 votes
janesoto2566, Home Buyer, San Jose, CA
Sat Jul 19, 2014
Landscape will enhance the value of the property
0 votes
Robert Lei, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Oct 15, 2012
For resale you want to appeal to the majority of people. Most people prefer to have at least some lawn as opposed to a yard with nothing but plants.

Why are you thinking of pulling up the grass? Is it because of the amount of water you need?

You could reduce the amount of lawn by having a bender board pattern with wood chips around the perimeter.

If you do decide to remove part of your lawn, check whether your water company offers you an incentive.
0 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
Thank you, Bay for your question:

You have received excellent responses to your question.

With respect to resale, as Grace Morioka pointed out, bushes that start out small do grow. An over grown front yard will detract from your ability to sell the house for it's maximum value.

Terri Velios and Elena Tallis made excellent points that you should talk with a landscaper, and a REALTOR when you design your landscaping. Your REALTOR will tell you what appeals to the market. Your landscaper will tell you what it will look like now and 5 to 10 years from now.

Laura and Don made excellent points that your landscaping should be in keeping with the rest of the landscaping in the neighborhood and that it should be the norm for the community and what people are expecting in the neighborhood if you want to maximize your resale value.

I recommend that you talk with a landscape architect. If you do not already have one, I can refer you to an excellent landscape architect who designs attractive landscaping that has good market appeal on the resale of the house. All of that landscaping is done with plants that use low amounts of water.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address:
0 votes
Bay_area_ll, Home Buyer, Oakland, CA
Sat Sep 29, 2012
I mean I want to remove the sod and have dirt with plants in it.
0 votes
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