Summer 2020 has been the season of staycations and at-home gatherings. Now more than ever, we all want to turn our backyard into a private summer oasis. The more time we have to spend at home, the more we feel we want to make it more meaningful and beneficial. The ideal space is multipurpose for relaxation, working, entertaining, embracing nature, dining, and maybe even some cooking. Whether you might take some of this time to improve your backyard for yourself, or are looking to add value to your home before selling, consider these projects to enhance the appeal and marketability of the home.
Perfect the Landscape
Before adding anything to your space, start with tidying up the landscape. The landscaping should be neat and inviting. Green grass and blooming summer flowers not only welcome guests and potential buyers, but they set the scene for stunning real estate photos. An overgrown or unkempt yard leaves buyers worried about what the inside of the home looks like, and can turn them away before they even enter the front door. Improving the curb appeal can add 3-5% of value to your home!
You’ll also want to keep privacy in mind when changing or adding to the landscape. Privacy is always important to buyers, and now more than ever people want the option to feel secluded. Consider taller potted plants around furnished areas to add interest and tie the section together. Taller, full trees, like the popular fast-growing ‘“Green Giant” pine trees, can be planted around the perimeter of the property to create solitude from neighbors, add much-needed shade in the hotter months, buffer street noise, and look great compared to a fence alone.
Make sure you understand the maintenance needed as well as the specifics of your yard when deciding on trees and plants to incorporate, or hire a landscaping service to take care of it all! Uninformed choices might leave you with a brown yard in a few weeks or spending all your weekend time upkeeping the yard.
Photos: @at.augustine.homes, @oldsilvershed
An outdoor shower is a beach house necessity! The uses of an outdoor shower go on and on: washing off sand and mud, bathing your pets, rinsing off after the pool or gardening, a changing area, or even just cooling down during a hot day. Everyone can agree that an outdoor shower in the sun after a long day at the beach is so refreshing. It is also extra convenient if you have lots of guests staying over, and limited bathrooms with showers indoors. Without sandy feet and paws trailing through the house, this outdoor feature benefits indoors too!
The best part of outdoor showers is they can be pretty simple and affordable to install. If you already have a water line to use, you can order the entire shower and all the parts online. If you want to opt for something simple, portable outdoor showers hookup right to a garden hose. For something more permanent, plumbing work may be involved but it is still worthwhile. Of course before you do any work please check with the construction official in your town.
If you have a shed, or the space for one, cabana baths like this go a step beyond typical outdoor showers. These cool, cozy spaces provide all the benefits of a typical outdoor shower, and also make a great hangout spot. There’s even a rollout awning in case of any rain. Who wouldn’t love summer at home with this set up?
A worthwhile renovation to invest in is one that will provide an almost year round function and adds beauty to the home. According to a recent Houzz survey, renovating homeowners rated fire pits among the top three most popular backyard additions.
Adding a fire pit provides a warm and bright focal point where guests and family can gather for cozy conversations, late night gatherings, and most importantly, s’mores! One of the best parts about fire pits is that they are available at all price points and range in fuel options so that your fire pit is specialized around your wants and needs. They are a quick and easy installation, and maintenance-free!
Just like those colorful flamingo pool floats, outdoor bars are all about having fun! Add an additional entertainment or seating area while keeping guests hydrated and happy, all without having to go inside. Outdoor bars can be a super simple DIY project using wood planks, some paint, and a few screws. This is an extremely popular trend this year, and Wayfair reported that consumer searches for outdoor bars increased 155% in 2020. Happy hours are just a few steps away if you’re working from home still!
If you don’t have the space for an outdoor bar, purchasing or building your own bar cart is a great alternative, and they look so cute too. Use one with wheels so you can take it wherever the party roams!
Details for Entertaining: Sights, Sound, & Shade
To finish your backyard haven, check the details! You will need plenty of shade to keep guests outside and protect them from heat, sun, and rain. If you don’t have a lot of trees, definitely consider a canopy or umbrella so there is a covered area to enjoy.
A sound system is an addition that you, your family, and your guests won’t be able to get enough of. Being able to listen to your favorite music wherever you are in your yard, all controlled by your smartphone, is something you won’t realize how much you love til you have it. The sound quality is incredibly better than your little bluetooth speaker, and outdoor systems are designed to keep their function through inclement weather! Depending on the system you go with, they can fit nicely into your deck, patio, etc or can be concealed as natural elements like rocks so you won’t even know the speakers are there. Set up a projector too, and you’ll be ready for a perfect movie night!
Wrap it all together with outdoor lighting to boost the ambiance and keep the party going after dusk! Lighting will also keep everyone safe at night, and play a huge role in listing photos. Solar powered lighting is an increasingly popular option, not only is it eco-friendly but it also won’t increase your electric bill. Tiki lanterns by the pool, or twinkling lights strung around the seating area are both wonderful ways to create a welcome and warm atmosphere in the evening.
With these additions, your summer at home might be the best summer yet! Your family and friends will love spending time together outside, and potential buyers will be delighted to see the additions ready for them to enjoy, not install. If you liked this content, be sure to check out the rest of my blogs for more home inspiration and real estate information.