Consider upgrading outdoors spaces

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Backyard

If renovations are on your to-do list, consider upgrading the space just outside your back door

When looking around your home for a place to upgrade, you may want to look outside. In Arizona, residents spend a good deal of time enjoying the year-round warm weather, including cooking, playing and entertaining outdoors.

Improving your outdoor living areas can not only increase your immediate living space, but also add another level of appeal when it comes time to sell. The 2011 Design Driver Survey from AvidBuilder found that 31.4 percent of buyers seeking larger homes said they either must have or really want an outdoor fireplace. Here are five more reasons to consider the renovation possibilities in your own backyard.

1) Arizona weather makes outdoor living features usable year-round.

Imagine stepping through multi-slide, exterior doors onto your patio – in February. When other parts of the country are dealing with snow, Arizonians are enjoying sunny skies and a monthly average temperature of 60 degrees.

Since the expansion can be used most of the year, installing a patio, deck, outdoor kitchen and/or outdoor fireplace in a fenced-in area may qualify as adding to an Arizona home’s square footage. Furthermore, if your outdoor kitchen is considered an actual kitchen, the return on the remodel – or about 65.7 to 69 percent – is about the same.

Other elements that enhance the outdoor experience are a multi-room audio system, ceiling fans, seating/dining areas and lighting. So be sure to include pre-wiring and connectivity for electricity, cable, water and gas in your renovation planning.

2) Patios and decks have strong ROI when it’s time to resale.

According to, patios, decks or porch additions have an average return on resale of upwards of 90 percent. The home-and-garden website estimates a homeowner will spend about $11,000 on a 16 x 20 ft. pressure-treated wooden deck with a simple pattern and can expect about $10,000 of that back when selling the home.

Less expensive than decks, brick patios start at approximately $11 per square foot and can be installed by contractors for about $3,500. Concrete is a little more costly than brick, or you can splurge on flagstone at $15-$18 per square foot.

3) Landscaping is a cost-effective way to improve your home’s value and curb appeal.

When it comes to planting pretty shrubs and bushes, it’s a no-lose proposition. According to the 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey, respondents named gardens and landscaped spaces as the top thing they expect to be in demand. In short, buyers love manicured yards, and it’s not a big-ticket item.

The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and another $1,465 on a designer, says the American Nursery Landscape Association. estimates the average of resale on landscaping at 100 percent. In short, homeowners love manicured yards too.

4) Buyers appreciate additional space.

Of the top 10 features homebuyers want, open concept homes with spacious, flowing floor plans rank #1. If you have an older home, adding more room with outdoor living space can create that feel easier than adding another bedroom or office/den. Every 1,000 square feet added to a home can increase the sale price by more than 30 percent, according to a National Association of Realtors study.

5) Your home’s equity can be used to make renovations that increase its use and value.

To finance renovations, many people look to the home itself. A home equity loan is a financial line of credit secured by the value of your home. You can work with your credit union to establish how much equity, or value, you have acquired in your house, how much is available to borrow and what loan terms work best for your budget.

No matter what improvements you decide upon, most experts recommend that you renovate your house according to what you want and can afford. After all, home is where the heart is.