Backyard ideas that will add style, functionality and value to your home.
It’s time to prepare for summer! Outdoor patios and living spaces will soon be occupied with people hosting neighborhood barbecues and various social gatherings. That also means that prospective homebuyers will be looking to take advantage of homes that are adequately prepared to host an outdoor event. So whether you are a homeowner or a rehabber, the summer months offer the perfect opportunity to upgrade your backyard.
It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish lavish interior living spaces from functional outdoor lounges. The lines that once separated the two are now nothing more than a nostalgic memory. Homeowners, now more than ever, are looking to incorporate indoor elements into their backyard designs. In fact, functional outdoor living spaces have gone from a luxurious amenity to a must-have in today’s homes. It is no coincidence that comfortable, outdoor lounge spaces have made the list of top backyard trends for 2016.
Whether you are a homeowner looking to create your own private retreat, or a rehabber trying to increase a property’s resale value, outdoor lounges can generate a lot of appeal. Outdoor lounge space has proven, time and time again, to help increase property values and investor spreads. Even adding something as simple as a wooden deck can retain value at resale.
However, it is no longer enough to stop there. The deck or patio needs to feel like an extension of the interior. That means it must boast comfortable furniture that looks like it belongs inside, but can also withstand the elements it will be subjected to. The addition of a wall-mounted flat screen TV and a cozy fireplace will also go a long way in helping you bring the indoors outside. Of course, pay close attention to the weather patterns in your area, and make sure each addition is equipped to handle the outdoor elements. At the very least, an outdoor lounge will maximize your home’s functional living space.
Now we have research that shows that homebuyers will pay a premium for a nicely landscaped property, particularly one that features elements like an outdoor fireplace and finishes in stone or brick. The new mantra in home buying is location, location, landscape.”
Adding a pergola or arbor to your outdoor space can protect you from the elements, giving you year-round access no matter the climate. Add space heaters and ceiling fans to make it even more inviting. Built-in is best, but if you're looking for a more affordable option, head for your local improvement or big box store, where a variety of hard- and soft-top options can easily transform your space and give you the coverage you want without having to hire a construction crew.
The perfect backyard seamlessly blends indoor elements with those of the natural world around them. What better way do this than with the addition of a water feature? Whether you are trying to reduce the noise coming from an obnoxious neighbor, recreating your favorite natural wonder, or just trying to harness the relaxing nature of your surroundings, the addition of a water feature is a great way to increase functionality and interest in your backyard. In fact, water features have been growing in popularity for years.
The landscaping of a backyard can set its entire tone. Some yards can mimic lush, tropical rainforests, while others are equally impressive concrete landscapes. That said, landscaping is a very subjective concept, and is specific to each individual homeowner. There is really no correct way to landscape a yard that makes everyone happy. However, the concept of landscaping is not what is trending at the moment, but rather the materials being used.
One of the top backyard trends is large pavers. Stained and stamped concrete also remains popular as a way to achieve a high-end look that mimics stone for a minimal cost. Either way, landscapers are focusing on oversized paving elements. Matching patio pavers to the style of your house creates continuity that boosts overall appearance and helps preserves value. Brick and manufactured pavers are traditional; natural stone is more country casual.
Aside from pavers, homebuyers are increasingly turning to grass alternatives. With droughts continuing in many regions of the country, homeowners do not want to have to worry about the cost of maintaining a lawn. Want a picture-perfect lawn? Maybe fake grass is the answer. It solves watering, weeding, and fertilizing woes. Synthetic grass for landscaping and recreation is growing 10% to 15% a year in the U.S.
Data suggests that water-conscious landscaping can use up to 50 percent less water than their conventional counterparts. Of course, the actual amount of water saved will vary based on the amount of turf removed, the type of plants installed, the irrigation system and the soil type. That said, it is important to landscape accordingly.
Trees are one of the few things that appreciate over time. Almost everything else depreciates the moment you install it. Experts say that younger is usually better when you’re planting trees, but if you’re selling within three to five years, you’ll need some size to get the full effect. The best size to buy is 8’ tall, 1-2” in diameter, sitting in a 15-gallon pot.
Full Outdoor Kitchen
From $15,000-$100,000, they include refrigerators, grills and sinks. The fancier the brand and the bigger the size make it today’s backyard status symbol.
Often called "Malibu lighting,” it runs on solar power and is easy to install. It shows off your garden at night, silhouettes your trees, keeps everyone safe from tripping and keeps burglars away.
If you don’t have the time or interest in watering yourself, consider an irrigation system to keep the backyard looking good. It’s expensive — at least $3,000 — but potential buyers will love it.
A ‘Year-Round’ Yard
Your yard can look leafless and drab in the winter months, but flowering shrubs, colored bark, ornamental grasses and colored berries all add color in the cold seasons. Hedges alone raise property values by 3.6 percent.
Make a five-year plan
Everything doesn’t have to happen all at once. Plantings mature at different rates, and you can add new features each year.