It is never too late or too early in the year to focus on improving your home. From switching up your interior paint, to making outdoor home improvements on your yard and driveway, there are dozens of ways you could spend your time. If your goal is to improve both the value and overall integrity of your home, we suggest focusing on outdoor upgrades.
There are a couple of ways to tackle your outdoor home improvements.
You can take the DIY route, which can save you money and be quite rewarding, or you can contact custom home builders to have a professional knock out your projects quickly and with top-quality results.
No matter how you plan to approach your outdoor improvements, you will surely be thrilled with the results. The only question left is, which projects should you take on first? Here are a few of the best outdoor home improvements you can make this year to raise the value of your home.
Driveways, Patios, and Porches
The concrete and asphalt surfaces surrounding your home need consistent maintenance to ensure they maintain their structural integrity and aesthetic appeal. Concrete patios can become cracked after a few cold seasons, which can lead to weeds and other plants sprouting up between the fissures, causing further damage down the line.
That’s why, when it comes to outdoor home improvements, we believe the maintenance and repair of these surfaces should be a top priority.
Upgrading your porch, patio, or driveway doesn’t have to just be about filling in cracks, though. There are a lot of ways to quickly enhance the look of these surfaces that can even be done by the do-it-yourselfers among us.
Enhancing Quality with Tile and Stone
One of the fastest ways to take a porch or patio from functional to fabulous is by introducing architectural tile and stone into the mix. Tile pathways leading between your cement structures is one way of implementing beautiful stonework that can often be handled without the need for professional help.
Homeowners also like to implement precious stones like marble to their outdoor spaces for a more luxurious look. Consider adding outdoor counters, decorative barrier walls, or even adding ceramic tiles along the sides of a hot tub or pool. No matter how you jazz up your space with stones and tiles, you are bound to see an impressive return on your investment.
Enhancing Prolonged Integrity with Upgraded Materials
Driveways tend to be constructed in three ways: pavers, asphalt, and concrete slabs. If you are dealing with a driveway filled with easily broken pavers, chances are you’ve already made up your mind about upgrading your driveway surface. Paver driveways and patios can be beautiful but do not hold up to frequent use, and replacing stones with exact matches can be frustratingly difficult.
So, if you are upgrading your driveway or patio, should you switch to concrete or asphalt. Let’s take a look at each to determine how you should handle your list of outdoor home improvements
- Concrete: Has the potential to last longer than asphalt, but the installation and upkeep is considerably more expensive.
- Asphalt: With proper installation by top-quality asphalt paving services, asphalt can last just as long as concrete surfaces and is often cheaper to repair.
If you are looking to spend more money upfront for the potential to save money down the line, you will likely prefer concrete surfaces. However, if you know your structure is looking at future damage no matter the underlying material, asphalt may be able to save you a lot of money, both upfront and over years of use and repairs.
If you are looking for a way to quickly enhance the look and value of your home, upgraded landscaping can do the trick. In fact, a survey by ally showed that over 42% of homeowners plan to enhance their landscaping this year. Likely because they know it is one of the easiest ways to boost the value of your property.
Even if you have existing landscaping work done, we still think you should include this on your list of yearly outdoor home improvements. Switching up your plants and decorative elements to match the seasons can be a lot of fun and keep your home looking fresh and updated, year-round.
If you have never completed any professional landscaping and are starting from scratch, you will first need to contact a land surveying service. This type of company can send a property surveyor to your home to take precise measurements of your property. These measurements determine the exact location of your property line and help create maps and blueprints for contractors to work from when planning and completing a landscaping project. This pre-planning is important to keep you from sinking money into the materials for projects that physically cannot be completed on your property.
Once your property has been surveyed, you and any professionals you are involving can begin planning the design of your property. Maybe you want a simple design with some installed gardens and privacy bushes, and that’s it. Alternatively, you might want various heights of planting spaces, stone structures, a new pool, a koi pond, and topiaries in the shape of your favorite zoo animals. No matter how big or small you take a landscaping project, the results will add impressive value to your home and turn your yard into a work of art.
Adding Structures to Your Property
If you’ve got a big, unused piece of property, you might be considering adding a new structure. Adding an entire building, whether it be a garage, shop, pool house, or any other structure, can be a scary task. This is because you know once the structure is there, you can’t readily remove it if you decide you don’t like how it looks.
Still, when it comes to outdoor home improvements, adding a beautiful and functional structure to your property can be a fantastic investment.
Adding a Garage
Installing a garage onto your property can add to the overall square-footage of your home which means your resale value will skyrocket. Not to mention, a functional garage is often a “must have” item on many home buyers lists. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home, you will feel truly spoiled by the space for activities and storage that a garage can provide.
Typically, you can make a garage in whatever dimensions you desire, and a residential garage door comes in varying widths and seven feet in height. This is a great choice for smaller garage additions or those considering using prefabricated garages.
However, if you are wanting a larger garage door that can allow you to park RVs or other large vehicles inside, you will want to look into commercial garage door installers. These providers can create doors based on your specific measurements, budget, and aesthetic desires and install them for you. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Adding a Custom Shed
Sheds are fantastic property additions because they range from small buildings for storing rakes and other yard supplies to large add-ons with electricity and water that can be used as activity zones or even small apartments.
If your list of outdoor home improvements includes filling in an unused piece of property, we highly recommend utilizing a shed.
First, determine how you would like to use the shed and the space available for the structure. If it is a small shed, you can likely find a level piece of land, or level with concrete on your own without too much additional cost. However, if you are considering large, customized sheds, we highly recommend reaching out to a professional that can both help plan for the concrete base as well as design you’re the perfect building for your property.
General Maintenance and Repairs
Sure, upgrading your landscaping and adding buildings to your property is a lot of fun, but you shouldn’t neglect the general outdoor maintenance of your home. It doesn’t matter if you are planning on living in the home into your golden years or selling at the end of the year, your need to keep the home in good repair. Here are some important areas for your upkeep focus:
- Windows and Siding
- Roof and Gutters
- Pest Control
- Weather Sealing
Windows and Siding
One of the most important items on your list of outdoor home improvements is the windows and siding. Maintaining the integrity of these is vital to keeping your home structure safe from water, mold, and pests.
If you find your home is having trouble maintaining its temperature during the depths of the summer or winter, you might have drafty windows or damaged siding. This can increase your energy bills and lead to increased home damage down the line.
If you are unsure whether you need window repair, look for some of the signs:
- Constantly Foggy Windows
- Water Getting Inside
- Windows are Difficult to Open and Close
- Constant Increase in Energy Bills
- Pests Keep Getting Inside
- Visible Cracks or Warping on Windows
Any of these signs indicate that you should contact a professional to assess your windows for repair or replacement immediately.
Luckily, identifying damaged siding can be a lot simpler to identify. Just look for signs of physical damage like missing pieces of siding, holes and blistering, cracks, or a general rotting appearance.
Roof and Gutters
Roofing contractors will know about all types of roofing materials. People who are interested in effective but cheap roof installation may need to choose specific roofing materials. Understanding the basic classification of roofs can help them.
Contemporary roof shingles are actually constructed using many distinct materials. Some of them are made from plastic. Wooden shingles are also used quite often. Manufacturers will usually use cedar wood in these shingles, although it’s also common to use white oak or elm wood.
Some more expensive roof shingles are made using flagstone or slate material. These shingles are often considered decorative, although almost all roofs can seem fashionable.
Lots of other shingles are metallic. The metallic shingles are specifically formed using steel. However, that steel will frequently have another metallic coating. It’s common to use zinc or a combination of aluminum and zinc in that coating. Shingles that are effectively made using three different types of metal can be incredibly resilient.
Still, lots of people get great results with roof shingles made from asphalt and similar composite materials. Many roof shingles can be used easily in almost all climates. People can choose the roof shingles that they like aesthetically.
We’ve included roof and gutters into the same item because neglecting your gutters can lead to roof damage, but also because if you are going to have to climb a ladder for maintenance, you might as well only do it once! These are some of the more bothersome areas to maintain because of the sheer effort involved, but also the most worth it.
Roof repairs can be extremely costly and replacements more so. If some consistent maintenance can save you tens of thousands of dollars in roof replacement, why wouldn’t you do it?
However, if the time for general maintenance – like removing leaf litter and checking for loose shingles – has come and gone and you are facing a major repair or replacement, we highly recommend reaching out to local roofing contractors for advice and pricing.
Replacing a roof is more than just an important item on a list of outdoor home improvements, it is an investment into the life and value of your home. You don’t want to go with a third-rate repair person and find you need additional pricey work in a short amount of time. A properly installed roof should last you at least ten years, so the investment in quality work is worth your while.
Plus, when it comes to selling your home a roof is important. Homes for sale can vary in the level of landscaping and other amenities and still easily sell. However, a good and functional roof will be legally required for any home sale. You don’t want to find out a week before closing that you cannot sell your home without replacing the roof.
Swing sets, Decks, and Other Entertainment Structures
This wouldn’t be a list of the best outdoor home improvements without mentioning all the amazing add-ons a carpentry contractor can offer. From custom play structures to gorgeous decks, if it is made of wood – a carpenter can make it for you.
These yard add-ons are not only a lot of fun, but they are guaranteed to bolster your home’s resell value. In fact, decks have on the of the best ROIs of any home improvement coming in at an average of 80%, but some sellers have reported an over 120% return on an investment after adding a custom deck to their property.
Some other ideas for custom woodwork are:
- Pool Room
- Gardening Boxes and Storage
- Pergolas/ Gazebos
- Porch/ Railing
Take Outdoor Home Improvements One Step at a Time
When it comes to outdoor home improvements, it is important to not get too bogged down in the idea of finishing everything on the list. Whatever you don’t get done this year just becomes fun plans for next year! So, start with important improvements like roof and window maintenance, and move outward from there.
Whether you finish everything this year or put off a thing or two, you will still feel immense satisfaction as you watch your home’s exterior flourish with your own customization and tastes.