Nearly every homeowner — about 90 percent — dream of making some upgrades to their home. As we spent more time in our homes in 2020, outdoor improvements became especially appealing. However, in considering a return on investment, some improvements are minor decisions, such as adding butyl tape to a deck build, while others require bigger costs, such as a new roof.
When it comes to upgrading your outdoor living space, you’ll want to consider costs, but also which projects will add the most value to your everyday life. Here are 12 to start the wheels turning on your next home improvement.
While many home improvements disrupt your life and your pocketbook — like ordering takeout for days during a kitchen renovation, financing a new roof, or relocating all of your furniture for new flooring — a deck is relatively easy. And it’s an addition that can double your entertaining space and increase your home’s value. On average, homeowners who added a deck recouped about 85 percent of the project’s cost.
Updating your porch can give your home’s curb appeal a great boost. You might opt just to paint the deck and add some fun accessories or go for a complete remodel if the porch is in poor shape. Please pay attention to the stairs and flooring of the porch to ensure they haven’t suffered from wood rot. If so, you may need to replace boards or do a complete replacement.
A patio provides a lovely way to connect your home and garden. Add a border of bright annuals to invite guests to sit and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Container gardening has grown in popularity, especially during the pandemic, as a way to grow veggies and flowers just steps from your back door. Be sure to elevate your pots with risers, so they don’t stain your patio concrete or pavers.
Add a pergola to your deck, patio, or as a stand-alone element in your garden. A pergola adds height to your outdoor living space and gives you many options for shade, hanging plants, or beautiful vines such as clematis or climbing roses. Some pergolas come with louvered slats and retractable canopies to offer more cover from the heat and other elements.
As you’re planning your outdoor living space, don’t forget the opportunity to incorporate your garden. For example, you might want to create an arbor entrance with climbing flowering vines or a hedge around your patio. Use the shade of mature trees to your advantage and hang up a hammock or place a comfortable chair for reading or napping.
6. Greener lawn
A well-manicured lawn is not only aesthetically pleasing but also makes a statement about how you care for your home (especially if you plan to sell your home in the near future). Bring in a professional to evaluate your soil and make recommendations on feeding and watering or mail in a soil test. Wrangle your weeds to the grown and buy the right fertilizer. Water deeply, but not necessarily daily, and consider a drip irrigation system to keep moisture consistent.
The right lighting can add magic to evenings. Whether you’re adding solar caps to your deck, stringing up Edison bulbs over your pergola, or hard-wiring lighting in lampposts, you can make your outdoor living space safer and more useable — especially as days grow shorter. If you have older, worn-out lighting, swap in something new.
A firepit can add warmth and family fun to your backyard. You can build your own firepit from a kit or buy a metal all-in-one container. Then, try out a new s’mores recipe with the kids. But be sure to follow any local fire codes and precautions and ensure the pit is extinguished when no longer in use.
9. Garden shed
We all have unsightly garden tools, children’s outdoor play toys, and sporting paraphernalia. Unclutter your yard or carport by adding a garden shed to the backyard. Check with your locality to determine if you need a permit for your new structure.
10. Patio furniture
The comfort of your patio furniture can significantly impact how often you use your outdoor living space. Who wants to spend time on deck with a stiff folding chair? So, while it may be a little challenging in the fall to buy new patio furniture, put it on your to-do list for first thing next spring.
11. Outdoor living accessories
Accessories such as an outdoor rug and weather-resistant pillows can make your deck or patio feel cozier. Add lanterns, art, and any other décor that makes you and your guests feel at home. However, as we head into colder weather, you may want to stow away these items to protect them against the elements. Additionally, consider bigger accessories such as an outdoor television, a pizza oven, or an outdoor bar. These additions will make your outdoor living space your go-to for fall.
Before you head into winter, check out your exterior doors to see if any paint or updates are needed. According to Zillow, if you have a garage door, make sure it’s in good order — it’s actually one of the best home improvements to make for the money.
Enjoy the crisp fall air and make the most of this temperate season to update your outdoor living. Of course, nothing beats the beauty of autumn colors!