Transform a Yard Into an Outdoor Sanctuary
Transform a Yard Into an Outdoor Sanctuary
Fold up the lawn chairs, roll away the rusty grill, and hide the tiki torches. Inviting, sophisticated outdoor rooms are in high demand among home buyers, and they serve as a way to extend your listing’s living space.
“Outdoor living spaces have become the new ‘great room’ in terms of must-have items for home owners,” American Institute of Architects Chief Economist Kermit Baker noted in a survey on the growing popularity of these spaces. Renters say it’s even a reason to leap into home ownership. Sixty-three percent of young adult renters aged 18 to 34 say outdoor living spaces and decks are “extremely” or “very important” in deciding which home to buy, according to the PulteGroup Home Index Survey.
Have you stretched your curb appeal beyond well-manicured yards to create outdoor spaces, using your front porch, deck, or even the lawn?
“You can blow the competition out of the water by creating outdoor spaces with a fabulous garden dining area, lounge seating areas with a fire pit, and if you have it, a relaxing hot tub scene,” says stager Lena A. Pereira with Westside Staging Solutions. “Way too often backyards are boring and not brought to their full potential. You can make a home stand out by showing buyers all the potential your property has to offer inside and out.”
This slideshow offers ideas for creating outdoor spaces that will help sell the lifestyle of a home:
Size Up a Listing’s Outdoor Space
An outdoor space doesn’t have to be huge to make a big impact. “A lot of times buyers walk into a backyard and say, ‘I don’t know what to do with this,’” says Maggie Claprood, a real estate pro with RE/MAX Carriage House in Mount Juliet, Tenn. “Let them see possibilities, like ‘this is the seating area’ and ‘this is where you could garden.’ It’ll make the space feel usable, and they’ll then perceive it as part of the home.”
Here are some ways to do it.
Cozy Conversation Areas
To stage an outdoor porch area, stager Lena A. Pereira with Westside Staging Solutions drew from the home’s “shabby chic” interior style and filled the area with vintage accessories and grouped furniture around a tabletop fire pit to show it as a great spot for get-togethers.
Kat Bryant, with the Phillips Realty Group and Associates in the Dallas area, staged a porch seating area using two outdoor sofas with colorful throw pillows, an outdoor rug, and plants and wooden birdhouse accessories “to invoke the feeling of comfort and serenity.”
Memorable Entertainment Spots
When buyers look at a deck or patio, get them to think: “Wow, imagine the fabulous entertaining I can do here!” says Jackie Wall, a home stager with Renew This House in Oriental, N.C. “You want them to think of intimate dinners with friends and loving family gatherings. Would broken lawn chairs, a rusty grill, and pots of struggling plants give your buyer that mental picture? Probably not.”
Pereira recently staged a home’s yard, placing a table and chairs in the middle of a garden area and stringing lights around the trees surrounding it, capturing a warm glow for listing photos and evening showings.
A recent report by the National Association of Home Builders found that outdoor kitchens add 130 percent to a home’s value. If your listing has one, showcase it. Dawn Marie, a broker-owner of Kahala Associates in Honolulu, wanted to show off the built-in grill and dining space of a home. So she minimized the furnishings, dressed up the stone barbecue using Tuscan Sienna marble slabs, and added half-round wood molding glued to the exposed edges for a “bullnose effect.” She also covered the neighbor’s “unsightly” cinderblock fence with matchstick bamboo and planted a garden and herb bed at its base.
Paint an Idyllic Scene
Send buyers a subtle message of relaxation and entertaining by creating vignettes. For example, whether it’s just draping an afghan over the outdoor sofa, leaving a gardening magazine flopped open on the coffee table, or a pitcher of lemonade with glasses on a bistro table, you can give buyers an image of a peaceful retreat.
Pereira created an inviting hot tub vignette at a home she staged with two glasses of wine, rolled-up towels, and a candle, with the hot tub bubbling.