Whether you’re considering selling your home or staying for the long-term, your backyard space can add value to your home and how happy you are living there. With fences on both sides, so many yards are private and can become its own little oasis, and that’s extremely valuable.
In some neighbourhoods, large backyards can be a luxury, but even small townhome patios, designed and landscaped properly, can come with a huge return-on-investment. Exterior improvements are one of the few home projects that really do pay for themselves. In addition, a great yard can cut down the time your home spends on the market.
Where to Start
As with most home renovation projects — inside or outside — your current (and desired) lifestyle is the major consideration. If you hate mowing the lawn but don’t have the funds to hire a lawn service company, having a huge expanse of grass in your yard may not be your best bet. Do you like spending time outside on nice evenings? Do you enjoy cooking? Did you always want a deck or patio or screened-in porch, or maybe a complete outdoor living room and outdoor kitchen?
You will first want to contact companies specializing in backyard design. Talking to them about your budget and lifestyle, and having them create a computer-generated design to visualize the improvements. The company you choose should also be able to look at and manage any grading and drainage issues that could affect the design and budget.
Patios, Decks and Porches
Although patios are more work – and have a slightly lower ROI – than decks, they can be more functional for landscapes within a major city. Inner city houses tend to have a historic feel and stone works well with the older elements.
However, outside of the major cities where a homeowner has more space, a number of homeowners are choosing to build decks (either traditional wood decks or higher-end composites like Trex). An increasingly popular option for homeowners is a transitional area between indoor and outdoor living — often a screened-in porch.
Much more expensive than a simple deck, a screened-in porch offers the benefit of an outdoor living room with some protection from weather and bugs. The ROI can be 50 percent to 75 percent, depending on the size, materials used and how much work is going into the build itself. An architect or a design-build company can help homeowners understand the cost and options and decide between a patio, deck or porch.
What about a Pool?
If you have a large, flat back-yard, the hot summer days may make you wish you had a pool. But a pool is a major commitment of time and money.
An in-ground, concrete pool can cost tens of thousands to install in addition to ongoing costs for water, electricity, maintenance, a fence (required in some areas) and insurance.
An above-ground pool is less expensive to install and maintain, and it can be much easier to remove before selling a home if the new owners aren’t interested in keeping it. However, many people think they’re not as attractive and there is a greater chance of leaks than there is with an in-ground pool.
For some cooking enthusiasts, having a nice gas grill isn’t enough. An increasing number of homeowners are adding full kitchens to their backyards, complete with a gas line for that grill, plumbing, electricity, counters, cabinets and a dining area. The cost of adding an outdoor kitchen can range from $3,000 to $50,000, depending on the size and complexity.
The ROI can be anywhere from 55 percent to 200 percent. If you want something much more simple, a brick or stone firepit and outdoor patio furniture surrounding it may be perfect for your space. Some people create things so complex and custom that it makes selling the home difficult later on.
If you’re thinking ahead to selling the home, simple may be better. Try to make it as vanilla as possible, so it can draw as many people as possible.
Whether it’s harder to sell a home with a pool is up for debate among real estate professionals. With the right description and at the right time of year, a home with an outdoor pool can sell quickly.
Consensus seems to be that a pool is something homeowners should install for their own enjoyment, not as a pre-sale improvement.
Lower Cost Renovations
Simple updates can include re-sodding your lawn (up to $2 per square foot professionally installed), trimming and weeding your bushes and plants, and adding flowers and other mature plants to your home’s entrance.
All of these can go a long way toward making your home attractive whether you’re living there or trying to sell. Other inexpensive options to explore are power washing the home, adding planters, or buying new outdoor furniture to make a space more functional.
If you have any questions on designing your outdoor space, we are happy to help.
We look forward to chatting with you.
4 Life Outdoor
Additional stories to review:
- Best outdoor kitchen countertop options
- Shop outdoor kitchen page
We can help you design your space!
Send us a picture and dimensions of your space to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can place the cabinets into the picture to scale for you to see exactly how it would all look!
Any help you need, we’re here to give our expertise.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
4 Life Outdoor team