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5 Outdoor Projects to Boost Home Value

Susan McCallion

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Hi! I’m Susan McCallion, Sanibel resident, former non-profit executive, mother of four, and Broker and Principal of McCallion & McCallion Realty...

Mar 27 8 minutes read

Spring is here! It’s time to think about planting, cleaning, and upgrading our outside spaces. Which outdoor projects add the most value to your home? Check it out:

1. Outdoor kitchen for entertaining

Outdoor kitchens shot to popularity during the pandemic, and they’re sticking around. Why? They’re versatile, fun, and great for entertaining. They take outdoor gatherings and backyard grilling to the next level, offering a full suite of cooking appliances, running water, and prep space in one convenient outdoor spot. Forget about running back and forth from the indoor kitchen to the backyard; with an outdoor kitchen, no one has to miss out on a minute of the party. Additionally, an outdoor kitchen can help you save money on utility bills—especially during their highest-use time in the summer. Cooking outdoors helps reduce indoor heat buildup, decreasing the need for additional air conditioning.

What about the ROI? According to Absolute Outdoor Kitchens, “CNN Money, and Remodeling Magazine support that outdoor kitchens nationally return 100% to 200% of the improvement cost” when you go to sell later. Using the national average cost for an outdoor kitchen ($13,180), that means you’re adding anywhere between $13,180 and $26,360 to the value of your home. For maximum value boost, think about universally usable features that every buyer will love. For example, is your outdoor kitchen easily accessible from your house? Did you opt for top-of-the-line appliances? Does it have tons of counter space for easy prep? Don’t overlook the basics like storage and functional plumbing. Opulent finishes and clever gadgets could improve your enjoyment of the space—which is important—but if your main concern is resale value, think well-designed and highly functional.

2. Luxe outdoor living space for relaxation

Build this space for the ultimate entertainment area and unequalable relaxation. How do you do it? Many homeowners treat the outdoor living space as an extension of indoor luxury, meaning you can let your indoor aesthetic flow right out onto the patio. This creates a unified look that makes your outdoor sanctuary feel like a cohesive part of your home.

It’s a good idea to cover all or part of your retreat to protect it from wind, rain, and sun—and you can screen it in to keep the bugs out, too. When you think about furniture, consider aesthetics, durability, and comfort. You can opt for freestanding patio furniture, or go with something more permanent with cushioned built-ins. How much value can you expect an outdoor living space to add to your home? According to Better Homes & Gardens, just a patio or deck alone can add almost $20,000 in value. Boost it even more by keeping your region’s weather patterns in mind and designing accordingly.

3. Cozy fireplace to gather ‘round

Picture it: you and your loved ones laughing and telling stories around a crackling fire—anytime you want, because it’s in your backyard. Whether you opt for a built-in stone fireplace or a freestanding firepit, the ROI for this feature is great. Home renovations in general typically return 70% of their cost when you sell your home, and the ROI for this project is around 78%. Those numbers are strictly monetary, which means they don’t factor in your improved quality of life or how much more you’ll enjoy your home when the project is complete.

In Southwest Florida, the outdoor fireplace can be used year-round for warmth on during cooler winter evenings, or even to keep the bugs away during the warmer months. Please remember to follow burning regulations and safety precautions including never leaving a fire unattended. 

4. Trees for shade and privacy

Lush landscaping done by a professional is always valuable—and poor landscaping can reduce your home’s value by 30%. If you need to focus on one aspect, choose trees. Trees are the single most impactful landscaping element when it comes to home value, and just a single healthy tree can have a significant effect. interviewed real estate expert David North, who said. “A tree is one of the most natural and interesting ways to add color, texture and contrast to any home’s yard. The natural beauty of a tree can be especially powerful when it distinguishes one property from others, whether by different shape, color, or size.” He goes on to explain that location is key—and planting a tree in the right spot will provide privacy, shade, and even noise protection.

5. High-efficiency irrigation for water  conservation

Sanibel has always advocated using native ground coverings and reducing the amount of sod that requires constant care. But, if you do have areas of grass and lawn, it would be best to invest in a high-efficiency irrigation system to help conserve water and resources. Installing an irrigation system has a decent ROI.  Experts say you'll recoup around 86% of the installation cost when you sell in the future. Buyers see the value of an irrigation system because of reduced maintenance time and costs.

Click here for information on using reclaimed water for irrigation systems on Sanibel Island. Existing sprinkler systems can be connected with little or no modification. Irrigation is permitted between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. only. Odd-numbered addresses may irrigate on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Even numbered addresses may irrigate on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

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