Upgrading Your Outdoor Space for More Fun and Profit

Small outdoor structures and flex spaces that can be used to walk through, sit in or have another practical use are also hitting homeowner wish lists, and experts say they’re ideal for introducing a focal point and punch of personality in a yard or garden. “Pergolas are a great way to define a space and provide some shade,” said Claire Goldman, who is a principal of R & R Landscaping in Auburn, Ala., and is on the board of directors for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

According to data supplied by Realtor.com, property views for homes with pergolas, gazebos, canopies and pavilions increased by 45 percent over last year, and they are selling 23 days, or 39 percent faster, than the same period last year. The median listing price for homes with these types of outdoor structures is up 13.4 percent year-over-year, reaching $453,000 in 2021.

Adding a wooden deck also drives return on investment. Data from Remodeling Magazine reveals that building a new 16-by-20-foot wood deck with stairs and railings can run just under $17,000, and has a resale value of $11,000, a return of 65.8 percent. But be wary of rushing a project like this, cautions the magazine’s editor in chief, Clayton DeKorne. “Demand for contractors is so high, and materials are still very delayed. The best advice may be to wait, put down a deposit and lock in the project for next spring.”

Alongside lush lawns and pretty landscaping, curb appeal naturally goes a long way at resale time. Even a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for drawing viewers in. The paint brand Dunn-Edwards has declared that trending exterior colors include mineral and nature-based hues like warm grays, sage and brown, along with charcoals and deep blues. Alternatively, colors that are best to avoid include orange, bright blue, yellow and red, which are more vulnerable to fading from the sun.

As for all the vegetable gardens planted during the pandemic, they’re probably here to stay. If anything, new iterations are becoming more purposeful, and are being tailored for fresh cut flowers and to attract winged visitors. “We have seen more openness to a wildflower and pollinator garden surrounding the lawn instead of more manicured shrubs,” Ms. Goldman said.

The hardest part might be in figuring out which outdoor project to start with first, and Ms. Goldman recommends approaching the process cautiously. “The biggest overall trend is more of an emphasis on thoughtfulness and function. Clients are looking for purpose in their outdoor space,” she said.

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