Easy and effective ways to upgrade your outdoor space

When making any home improvements or investing in renovations to your property, you want to ask yourself two important questions: Will I enjoy this upgrade while I live here? Will this project add value to my home? 

The answer to these questions should directly impact how much time and money you invest in the project. You want to ensure you are making improvements that will translate into added enjoyment for you and your family, and/or increased resale value. 

Here are 5 easy and effective ways you can upgrade your backyard this summer:

  1. Build (or upgrade) a deck or patio
    Buyers are willing to pay top dollar for homes with a finished backyard, and a deck (made of wood or composite) or a patio (made of stone) is an excellent place to start. Not only does it add value, it eliminates the need for grass-cutting and makes it easier to arrange lounge furniture. Be sure to do your research. Check your municipal building requirements, as a building permit may be required for decks above a certain size and height. And, be sure to use materials that can withstand extreme weather conditions.
  2. Build (or replace) a fence
    If your property does not have a fence, consider all the benefits, including privacy, security and resale value. If you do have a fence, you may want to consider replacing it or giving it a facelift. Think about your specific needs and the aesthetic of your backyard, as well as property lines and regulations (i.e. minimum height requirement and locks on fences surrounding a pool). You may be able to split the cost with your neighbours. Have a chat with them before you begin.
  3. Landscape your property
    Professional-grade landscaping is a great way to add value to your home, whether it’s a flower or herb garden, trees or bushes, or a unique rock or water feature like a pond. It can also be a great way to increase privacy from your neighbours using natural elements. When designing your backyard landscaping, consider the ongoing maintenance required, and choose plants and features that do not need more attention than you’re willing to give. 
  4. Add outdoor Lighting
    Installing outdoor lights is a great way to add that wow factor to your backyard. Not only does it cast a warm glow over your garden oasis, it will also make more of the space useful after sunset, and it’s safer for any little ones running around outside in the evening. Options like string lighting; path lighting or spotlights; lanterns; or, wall sconces can be relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Alternatively, recessed deck lighting or exterior pot lights along your roof’s overhang will be a bit pricier, but may increase the resale value of your home. 
  5. Install a sprinkler system
    Typically, homeowners use 50% more water on their lawns than what they actually need, resulting in unnecessary increases to hydro and water bills during the summer, not to mention potential damage to gardens and landscaping due to overwatering. Consider installing an automatic sprinkler system, which regulates the time of day and amount of water used. This solution could save you money over time, is environmentally friendly, and will add value to your home when you sell.