5 Simple, Affordable Backyard Upgrades That Create Big Resale Value

Curb appeal may be what attracts buyers to your home, but your backyard is what sells it. Today’s lifestyle trend is moving outdoors. Homebuyers want an attractive, yet low-maintenance, yard. The backyard extends the living area. So, it pays to make your backyard as attractive as the front when you’re putting your property on the market.

Here are five backyard upgrades to make your backyard appealing to prospective buyers without breaking your budget:

Lawn mower cutting grass

1. Clean it up

This is a must-do. Clear your yard of debris. Neatly mow and edge the grass. Shape up shrubs and trim tree branches. If you detest yard work, consider hiring help, at least for the time your home is on the market. Be sure the fence is in good repair and patch cracks in porches, patios, and walkways. A fresh coat of paint can spruce up outbuildings.

De-clutter Your Backyard

Backyards often become home to things that are no longer used, such as the kids’ rusting, old swing set. Get rid of them. Pink flamingos may be a hoot, and garden gnomes might be cute, but don’t assume they’ll amuse a buyer. Put them away. A storage shed is where tools belong, not lying in the yard.

8' x 12' Elite Quaker Style Wooden Shed

2. Make your outdoor living space homey and inviting

Buyers want to envision how inviting and comfortable their backyard can be. If you have a patio or deck, you’re a step ahead in the game. Make it appealing with comfortable seating, tables, and lots of plants in a variety of pots and vases. If you don’t have an outdoor living area, consider adding one. A gazebo or pergola can create a cozy living space and add visual appeal to your yard. These and other outdoor structures are available in a variety of styles and sizes. A warning though: No one wants to see bare concrete slabs. If you’re stuck with one, consider paint, tile, or adding an outdoor rug. This will help prevent your patio from looking like a parking space.

3. Don’t let your yard intimidate potential buyers

Remember, the trend is toward low maintenance. Buyers don’t want a wide swath of grass that needs mowing, weeding, fertilizing, and watering. Likewise, they may not want to be stuck with pruning lines of rose bushes along the fence line or fruit trees that draw insects and need constant care. A buyer may see your dream garden as a maintenance nightmare. Tough as it may be, pare down vegetation that suggests a lot of upkeep. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to cut down on the turf.

  • Create wide flower beds along the fence and against the house. Fill them with colorful mulch and plant native perennial flowers, native grasses, and small, neat, well-spaced shrubs. If you’re going on the market in fall or winter, choose seasonal plants that will add a touch of color and keep your yard from looking drab.
  • Install pathways of paver stones or gravel. These add visual variety and break up the expense of turf.
  • Make a seating nook or create a zen or meditation garden.  Use some pavers for flooring and arrange a garden bench and chair. Potted plants are a nice touch. Even if you have a patio or deck, a gazebo in the yard can be appealing and cut down on the amount of grass. A swing set or playground will appeal to buyers with children, but only if it’s in pristine condition.

conversation seating on an outdoor patio at night

4. Add trees

If you have good trees, you’re in luck. Make sure they’re well-shaped and remove any dead branches and low-hanging limbs. Nobody wants to duck branches while they mow. If you don’t have trees, invest in one or two that are native and low maintenance. Pick ones that aren’t water-guzzlers and are at least 8 feet tall. Surround them with circles of colored mulch when you plant to give them a spark and make them easier to mow around. You may have to invest a few hundred dollars, but good trees actually appreciate in value and can increase the return on your home.

5. Think about lighting

What’s a great backyard if it’s only lit by a dinky, old porch light? Outdoor lighting is an important selling point for both security and aesthetics. You’ll find a wide array of outdoor lights in different price ranges at stores and online. Many include low-cost LED bulbs, and some can be programmed and operated through smart devices. The right lighting will impress a potential buyer who looks forward to evenings outdoors.

Be cost-effective in your backyard planning. Experts estimate that attractive landscaping can add 6 to 12 percent to your home’s value. So do the math and determine what you should spend to get a good return on your investment.

If you are interested in adding an outdoor structure to your yard, contact us today to request a quote. You can also come and view our inventory at our Shrewsbury, PA and Finksburg, MD locations.

About the Author: Neil Scarano is a retired real estate agent who enjoys redecorating and flipping houses in his spare time. His specialty is designing backyards with a unique flair.