When it comes to renovations, homeowners express some of their highest satisfaction with outdoor projects such as a new wood deck, water feature, statement landscape, or a new patio. These home improvement projects had “Joy Scores” of 9.7 or more out of 10, according to the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report released jointly by the National Association of REALTORS® and National Association of Landscape Professionals. Personal finance site MagnifyMoney recently highlighted a few ways to update an outdoor space for summer entertaining.
Create a dramatic focal point. A water feature or fire pit, for example, can draw the eye, and many homeowners say they have a greater desire to be home since adding items like these. Fire pits scored a perfect “Joy Score” of 10, according to the NAR and NALP survey. Homeowners stand to recover about 67 percent of the cost to add a $6,000 fire pit with natural stone and a gas burner on a flagstone patio (10 feet in diameter). A container garden can also be a way to add curb appeal, says Kristen Coffen, a landscape architect and owner of Garden Architecture in Fork, Md.
Enhance the lighting. Use lighting to highlight a focal point outside or to create a more inviting atmosphere. Installing 20 LED lights and a standard 600-watt transformer will cost an average of $5,000 but could make a big difference, according to the report. “It can also be quite lovely to uplight some of the specimen trees, or if there is a water feature or a pond … to have some lighting in that,” Coffen says. Lit pathways or even just a few string lights on the trees can enhance a space, says Alice Cramer, owner of Alice Cramer Interiors in Atlanta.
Focus on nature. Green up the space with plants and trees to increase the outdoor ambiance. Landscape architects say consumer demand is highest for native plants and low-maintenance landscapes, according to a 2018 ASLA survey. Coffen recommends planting a specimen tree or shade tree by a patio. “It’s like a piece of living architecture outside,” Coffen says.