Best low-cost backyard improvements to add the most value
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Best low-cost backyard improvements to add the most value

Backyards, balconies and other outdoor living spaces are finally having their moment in the spotlight due to the fact that so many families are opting for staycations during the pandemic. Homeowners are also looking for creative ways to expand their living space so that everyone can spread out and enjoy some privacy throughout the day and evening.

With the need for additional space to work, study, relax and play, the value of outdoor living space is growing stronger and continues to be a strong selling feature.

Whether you’re buying or selling, the team here at Bob Blake have some tips for knowing what to look for when it comes to adding value to backyards and outdoor living spaces without breaking the bank. We’ve shortlisted some relatively low-cost items that we think pack the most punch when it comes to backyard improvements and upgrades that add the most value.

Let’s take a look at how you can add value to your backyard with improvements with a small price tag and big impact.

Luxurious Lighting

If you can only afford to make one upgrade to your backyard prior to selling, exterior lighting is definitely one to strongly consider. Outdoor lighting is one of the best ways to invoke strong emotions and help homebuyers to imagine how they can enjoy your outdoor space.

Areas to focus on when designing your outdoor lighting include:

  • beside doors, including outbuildings like sheds, pool pump houses, etc.
  • along stairs, ledges, and level changes
  • throughout pathways
  • highlighting water or other landscape features
  • at gate entrances and along fences

Lighting products have become much more affordable and easy to install. Learn more about how luxurious exterior lighting increases the value of your home in our article Exterior Lighting: How Does it Improve the Look & Value of Your Home?

It’s a good one!

Distinctly Defined Spaces

Homeowners often have great ideas in their heads about how an outdoor space “could be used”. Homebuyers, on the other hand, might be less able to see the potential and imagine how they might use a space unless it is clearly staged for that use. An important backyard improvement to consider when selling your home is to have distinctly defined spaces to highlight how the space could be used, such as:

  • outdoor cooking
  • dining
  • quiet activities or lounging
  • group entertaining
  • campfires
  • swimming

While you might not be able to set up areas for all of these activities, consider which spaces you want to define and then make it absolutely clear how potential homebuyers can use the space. When designing your distinct areas, think about these things:

  • proximity issues - don’t set plush furniture for reading too close to the pool;
  • sun and shade considerations - no-one likes to cook the evening meal in the full sun;
  • providing privacy - how can you avoid the feeling of “eating with the neighbours?”

Define the borders of each space with plants, lighting, privacy screens or furniture. Then stage each space to really drive home exactly what home buyers can do when they move in!

Setting out things like books, drink pitchers, cooking tools, etc. can help inspire the imaginations of home buyers and highlight the value of your outdoor spaces.

Plugged In

Backyards, patios, and other other outdoor living spaces are being used very differently now compared to just five years ago. We take our electronics and digital gadgets everywhere with us now, and a truly comfortable backyard setting will take this into consideration. If you want to increase the value of your backyard when it comes to connectivity, make sure your family and guests have safe, easy access to:

  • electrical outlets - strategically placed, and always more than you think you need
  • Multiple USB charging ports - think phones, tablets, portable fans, etc.
  • wifi signal- strong enough for streaming videos, movies, and tv
  • shaded surfaces - lithium batteries in phones, etc. don’t do well in direct sun

Most importantly, these connections must be easy to access, yet out of sight. If you’re relying on extension cords and unsightly cables, it’s time to upgrade to integrated wiring so that homebuyers can easily imagine themselves relaxing, working, studying, or entertaining with all of their favourite electronic and digital gadgets in the backyard.

Don’t forget: Remove all outdated hardware like lights, speakers, fountains, or other wired features that are no longer working or have been replaced by portable technology.

Big ticket backyard improvements to add value

Of course if you’re ready to really invest in your backyard with the hopes of a high return-on-investment (ROI), here are some more more costly upgrades what are sure to please potential homebuyers:

  • Hardscaping - replace uneven interlock with large paving stones
  • Landscaping - grasses and succulents are trending high this summer
  • Privacy - sails, curtains, and foliage screens are hot, hot, hot
  • Water or fire features - or better yet, both
  • Shade structures - gazebos and pergolas continue to be popular choices

We’ve got an eye for detail

When you list your house for sale with Bob Blake, you can expect us to be generous and candid with our suggestions for how to make your outdoor living spaces “pop” for your listing photos, showings, and open houses. We know what prospective buyers want and will make suggestions about how to improve or upgrade your backyard, patio, deck or balcony to help improve the value of your home.

If you’re listing or looking in the Ottawa area, reach out to the award-winning real-estate team here at Bob Blake. We’re here to help!