Whether you’re just getting into your home or you’ve been there a while and know that you might want to sell the house in the future, homeowners like you and I tend to want to develop our backyard space.
If you are building something from scratch or adding to an existing backyard, the temptation to design and improve this space can be overwhelming. But does adding an outdoor living space really add any value to the home?
Location, cost, and popularity of specific outdoor projects can affect how much value it adds to a home. There are things to consider that might affect your decision. However, if you & your family will thoroughly enjoy what you put into your outdoor living space, it will be worth your investment.
Since there is some value to be had in revitalizing or actually building from scratch an outdoor living space in your backyard, why don’t I go over what might affect whether that backyard boost is worth your time, aggravation, and money?
Why Should I Make Improvements to My Outdoor Living Space?
First of all, whether you rent or own your own home, creating an outdoor living space or improving the one you have can provide you with a stress-free zone. It can provide you and your family and friends with a place to congregate. It can be both a relaxing and enjoyable space that, if it’s used enough, will give you enough enjoyment that it is worth your investment.
However, a lot of people who add outdoor living space to their homes or improve the ones they have, do so because they want to add value to their property. This reason is obviously for homeowners. They see the chance to not only enjoy the improvements but hope to get a return on that investment once they are ready to sell their home. Will they?
What Does Location Have to Do with Whether an Outdoor Living Space Will Improve the Value of My Home?
The location has everything to do with whether adding or improving an outdoor living space is worth all of your investments into it (whether that investment is time, aggravation, energy, money, or all of the above).
There are some parts of the world and even our country, that has a very short warm or growing period. In those places, adding a backyard garden or spending a lot of money on a patio and swimming pool may be wasteful. Meanwhile in the southern United States, for instance, most of the year is warm enough for outdoor spaces to be worth it.
The location has a lot to do with which improvements are going to be the most popular and make the most sense for an investment. Again, if you live somewhere without a lot of warm seasons, a nice fire pit is exactly what you and your friends need in the backyard. In warmer areas, a swimming pool would be ideal. In some places (I’m looking at you Florida), and in certain neighborhoods, having a swimming pool is common, almost expected.
Whether you live in a region with a lot of heat or in a temperate climate zone, a patio of some kind will almost always come in useful. You just have to decide what other things you want to add to that basic outdoor living space.
What Are Things to Know and Consider Before Investing in My Outdoor Living Space?
The first thing you should know is how much your home is currently valued. This is going to be the basis for all of your calculations into how much the project costs versus what value it could potentially add to your property. Usually, a home improvement’s value will be measured as a percentage of the home’s base value.
Take for instance the average value a swimming pool will add to a home in the United States is 7% – 9% of the home’s value. Again, this percentage might be higher or lower depending upon where you live. But let’s get to the math. If your home has been appraised for $200,000 the value a pool will add –
9% of $200,000 = $18,000 in value on average to that property
So should you have a pool installed? If you have an average-sized inground pool installed and everything goes perfectly (permits are not expensive, the ground is perfect, the weather works with you, you choose materials wisely) you are still looking at approximately $1500 per linear foot or on average $30,000.
It could be higher or lower depending on materials and other expenses. There is also the mandatory fence and insurance to think about. If you want to know what else you should consider before deciding on a pool for your backyard, I have a detailed article about it.
If you and your family are going to have a blast with an outdoor upgrade or improvement, then that fact may offset the loss. And who knows – when you’re ready to sell, the improved outdoor living space might be the buyer’s deciding factor. However, it’s a good idea to go into each backyard project with the knowledge of how much value it can add to your home.
You also need to hire professional contractors or, if you want to DIY, you need to know what permits and rules you need to abide by – whether those come from the HOA, the city, or the county. Believe me, you can run into some sticky situations if you do not have the proper permits.
And if you break the rules of your HOA, you might wind up having to destroy everything you’ve built. Don’t be that person. If you signed up for a home in an HOA neighborhood, you have to go by the rules or get the rules amended.
What Are the Most Popular Backyard Projects and Will They Actually Add Value to My Home?
You can add a lot of value to your backyard by simply upgrading your landscaping to low-maintenance plants and adding some trees. You can also refresh old decks with cleaning and fresh paint.
Concrete patios can be transformed with staining or stamping. Perhaps all you need is new furniture to place outside? Adding the right amount of lighting can also add beauty, safety, and value to a home for a rather small price.
As of the publication of this article, the five most popular backyard improvements to add beyond the patio itself are:
- Fire Pits
- Pergolas or Gazebo
- Structures for privacy (landscaping or fences),
- Outdoor Kitchens
- Swimming Pools
Water features come in at a close 6th, but they can be relatively inexpensive to install and can add a few thousand to the value of your home.
If you want to look into upgrading your outdoor living space by going to the trouble to take on a home improvement project, be sure you know that it will bring value to your home through good use or by adding value to the home. Most outdoor projects will give a good return on investment but double-check – if that’s important to you.
And if you want to know more about those top five projects, check out my article about them, “Top 5 Backyard Projects that Boost a Home’s Value”.