When redecorating your home, it’s important to remember the outside as well as the inside. Upgrading your outdoor space can make your home a more enjoyable space for both you and potential buyers—especially during summer months.
“It’s useless to have a beautiful home inside and a mess outside,” says Jessica Yonker, editor of HGTVGardens.com and a contributor to HGTV.com’s blog Design Happens.
“Pools, fire pits, and patios are always popular upgrades and additions, especially in summer,” Yonker says. “Not only do these upgrades make your home pretty, but beautifying your outdoors can also increase the value of your home.”
Of course, cost is a huge factor, so budget carefully and have a solid plan in place.
It’s safer to overestimate your budget than to plan an exact amount with no wiggle room, Yonker cautions. “When budgeting, make sure to factor in any taxes, service, and labor fees your project may incur, in addition to the materials,” she says. “Before you start a large outdoor project, you’ll want to think about how long you’ll be living in the home. You wouldn’t want to spend $20,000 on an outdoor kitchen if you’re not going to have a few years to enjoy it.”
Popular outdoor upgrades include:
Fire pits. Transform your back yard with a fire pit and make your yard the perfect place to relax on a lazy summer evening or chilly fall night. You can buy a portable fire pit in home improvement stores or install a custom-built, permanent pit.
Outdoor kitchen. “For those who love to entertain, an outdoor kitchen is a must,” Yonker says. An outdoor kitchen can simply have a grilling area, or you can go all out with a gourmet grill, pizza oven, sink, stocked bar, and outdoor flat-screen television.
Patios. To upgrade a poured concrete patio, consider replacing it with concrete pavers, which come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Also, consider adding a focal point like a paved walkway or fountain.
Landscaping. “Adding a garden or planting trees are quick, inexpensive upgrades that can add beauty to your home,” Yonker says. Consider adding curb appeal and eye appeal with a splash of color and decorative planters on the front porch, patio, and decks.
Paint. “You can also give your outdoors a new look by painting your house a new color or touching up the existing paint,” Yonker advises. A fresh coat of paint can inexpensively transform the look of your home and protect it from sun, rain, and wind, preserving your investment for years to come.
Keep in mind that if you belong to a homeowners association, you’ll need check with it before you start any outdoor projects. The association may have restrictions on allowable paint colors, fence heights, and even types of trees you are allowed to plant. If you’re doing any digging, know where your utility lines are before you pick up the shovel. Call 811, a free, nationwide service that will connect you to a local center to arrange for someone to come out and mark your utility lines.
A Chicago-based writer and editor, Eve Becker writes about personal finance, health and other topics. She is a former managing editor of Tribune Media Services.