Whether you want to make upgrades in anticipation of putting your house on the market or you just want to give your home and outdoor space a fresh look, choose projects that add value to your home. Before you start, set a budget. Small changes can have a big impact. Larger projects usually have a higher price tag. However, you can cut costs if you are willing and able to do some of the work yourself. Smaller trees and shrubs are less expensive than large or full-size plants and can be planted by the homeowner. Larger plants may require special equipment and a professional landscaper to install.
Even though you probably don’t spend much time in your front yard other than coming and going, it is extremely important. It is the first impression anyone coming to your home will have. Like it or not, people will make assumptions about you and your home based on that first impression
Keeping all that in mind, here are some ways to improve your outdoor living spaces and add value to your home.
- Clean up. Little things make a big difference. Rent or borrow a power washer and clean your siding. Clean your rain gutters. Make any minor repairs, like straightening that slightly off-kilter shutter, and replace any burned-out light bulbs.
- Look at the landscaping. Remove any dead or broken branches. If your shrubs are looking overgrown or just not complementing your home, it’s time to remove them. Plant some beautiful flowering shrubs and even a tree at the corner of your home. Give your lawn a good feeding. Edge your garden beds. Finish off with a good layer of mulch on all your beds.
- Change your home’s accessories. Remove the old, outdated mailbox and light fixture and replace it with a contemporary set. Add some new house numbers as well. Give your doorbell an upgrade to a video doorbell.
- Refresh your front door. This can be as simple as painting your door a new color. A fresh color will bring new life to your front entry. New front door hardware is also a quick way to freshen up your front elevation. Consider a new steel door. Besides being energy efficient, your new door provides safety, and when you change the door, you have the opportunity to update your smart home with an automatic lock.
- Add lighting fixtures. Use lights to highlight your new trees and shrubs. Let your new landscaping be a feature to be enjoyed as you come up the front walk. Add lights to your walkway to provide safety and to accentuate the flowers and plants.
- Consider new garage doors. The typical builder’s garage doors are not exactly a feature of your home, and yet they cover a significant portion of your front façade. Custom garage doors are not inexpensive, but they will completely change the look of your house.
Now that we’ve covered the front of the house, let’s move to the backyard.
- Clean up, again. Get rid of any broken outdoor furniture, prune any plants and decide if any need to be replaced. If you have any hardscape features like fencing, arbors or a pergola, check that they are in good repair. Many backyards have a garden shed. A coat of paint and adding a window box full of flowers can turn a utilitarian shed into a backyard feature.
- Improve your deck or patio. How you want to use your backyard will help to determine the upgrades that are the most important to you. If you have a deck or patio already, you can upgrade by changing the materials. Replace the wood deck with composite material. It will last much longer and it needs no painting or staining. If you are replacing your deck, you have the opportunity to make it larger. This could be a great upgrade if you enjoy entertaining friends and family. A cement patio can also be expanded or changed from cement to pavers.
- Add a shade element. If your backyard is in full sun most of the day, providing shade can be critical. Consider a pergola over your patio. Drape shade cloth over it for even more shade. Another great option is to plant a vine that will cover your pergola and provide privacy as well as shade.
- Create a firepit. A fire pit can be an actual pit dug out of the ground that everyone can sit around and make their own s’mores on a log fire. If campfires aren’t your style, there are absolutely beautiful fire tables that have gas flames.
- Consider building an outdoor kitchen. This is a project that will definitely add value to your home. It is also one of the most expensive projects. If your budget can’t take on the entire project in one year, divide it up. Start with a really comprehensive plan. Begin creating your new space with an outdoor grill area and gradually add refrigeration, water and even a complete kitchen with an outdoor range or a fire-heated pizza oven. You will need to run electric lines and plumbing before the patio floor is paved. With your design to guide you, the outdoor kitchen of your dreams can be a reality in just a few short years.
- Upgrade your landscaping. Landscaping in the backyard has more functions than just beauty. Your landscape can provide privacy, shade and noise suppression. It will attract birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Include a water feature in your backyard. It can be as simple as a birdbath or you could add a little stream that flows through your plants and adds the sound of water to your backyard. Don’t forget to add lights to feature the plants and draw visitors out into the yard.
Whether you want your backyard to be the place you and your friends want to gather every weekend or you want a special place of privacy and peace, they will both add value to your home.