Orgeon Home with outdoor kitchen

17 Outdoor Living Space Upgrades With ROI

The outdoor living season is upon us and it’s time to consider creating a beautiful outdoor space where you can entertain and curl up and read a good book in the fresh air this summer. In this post we share 17 outdoor living space upgrades with ROI.

They key is to consider outdoor upgrades that increase your home value and ROI. When you sell your home, you will be glad that you invested in your home . Plus, if you upgrade your outdoor space then you can start to enjoy more time outdoors!

If you are considering adding an outdoor space the whole family can enjoy? If so, you’re not alone.

Our outdoor living spaces are more valuable than ever before, say 90% of all Americans. So relax and don’t worry about investing into your outdoor living space for ROI.

According to an exclusive January 2021 survey conducted for the International Casual Furnishings Association, people are relaxing, grilling, gardening, exercising, dining, playing with pets, children, and entertaining outside. An outdoor living space is an ideal way to increase the value of your home.

If you are the type of person who has an eye for the future, you may consider adding value to your home (increase ROI) by simply adding value to your outdoor spaces.

For example, a lovely patio, porch or deck no doubt adds curb appeal. Bottom line is homeowners are seeking ways to escape and enjoy the outdoors with a venue for entertainment and relaxation. There is nothing like an outdoor oasis.

Statistics on outdoor Living spaces

Outdoor Living Spaces That Increase Your Home Value

It is easy to justify investing in a fabulous outdoor room. A home with a functional livable outdoor space increases retail value of your home.  Even if you’re not planning to your home anytime soon, your home’s value will hold true through time, and you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful outdoor living space in the meantime.

These days, outdoor living spaces are just as essential as indoor living areas. Backyards have long been known as a playground and dog pen. These days, the backyard and patio spaces have become an area for the entire family to enjoy.

Whether you have a spacious patio, a tiny balcony, front porch, back patio or courtyard garden, the options are endless in designing the ideal outdoor area.  Keep in mind that many homes may have gorgeous lawns and spaces, but they aren’t really living spaces until they’re livable.

Outdoor Kitchen with upgrades for better living

What Home Buyers Are Looking For These Days

The Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features from the National Association of Realtors® found that while buyers loved the idea of a swimming pool, brand-new deck, and other luxurious backyard features, what they were actually prepared to pay more for was a garden that’s impeccably landscaped and well maintained.

The report estimates the cost of annual mulch application, mowing of 2,835 square feet of lawn, pruning of shrubs, and planting of approximately 60 perennials or annuals to add up to an average of $3,000. Plants and trees are expensive, but you will recover all of this cost – an incredible 100% return on investment especially when you plant for the long run. Mature shrubs and trees will always play into the value of your home.

Patios, decks, firepits, outdoor kitchens and water features can get a high return on investment. This is because upgraded spaces offer additional functional living areas without the price tag of a large scale home addition.

They also rate high on the “joy” scale for homeowners who get emotional satisfaction looking out at landscape lighting, beautiful planted pots, zen gardens, cafe lights, fountains etc and use their backyard more for relaxing instead of maintaining.

Anita Hearl Windermere Real Estate

Folding and sliding doors and windows are the most popular technique for connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, according to 74% of experts surveyed. 48% feel that using glass walls that can fold and slide is ideal.

With the connection of space from indoors to outdoors increases the relaxing vibes in a way a wall or standard door would not. The openness also creates a sense of bigger space for those with limited outdoor areas.

Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Space

We have 17 ideas to take your outdoor living space to a new level.

17 Ways To Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Space with ROI

1.  The Value Of Adding A Well Designed Porch Or Patio

Forty-eight percent of experts reveal that the combination of a porch and patio is what most people desire in a home. It makes sense that this combo is most popular because a porch can add to a home’s curb appeal while the patio offers a more private living space.

The image above is our concrete patio (poured with smooth cement). To see our patio remodel see here.

Whether your porch is small and highlights the front door of your house, or is a large extension of your home that wraps around the front or sides of your house, there are design tips and tricks that can enhance your space.

On average, the cost of building a patio can be as high as $5,300, depending on size and materials used. It’s estimated that well-designed patios not only add 8-10% home value, but also earn an ROI of over 80%.

Another option would be to refinish or repair an existing patio, as repair estimates average around $1,400. This can provide an ROI of nearly 500%.

2.  Outdoor Structures

You don’t have to live in Southern California to have the ideal backyard room. By adding an outdoor structure like a pergola or an arbor for example adds interest and functionality to any yard or patio.

Stay outdoors no matter the weather. Outdoor curtains and shades can be built right into the structure.  Consider installing an arch, trellis or doorway leading to your outdoor room. This structure can give guests the distinct feeling of entering a radically different space, and you can add interest to the design with colorful climbing plants.

3. Outdoor Privacy Ideas

I think it is safe to say that home owners want a sense of privacy. With that said, a fence can be used to define a space. A fence is a simple way to define a space and give it purpose.

Hedges or tree lined properties, are ideal way to gain privacy. Constructing a wood fence is also a quick way to add instant privacy. There are a variety of woods to choose from, ranging from light to dark, and just as many style choices, wood fencing does more than boost backyard privacy—it also boosts design. 

Whether you decided to install a simple or elaborate trellis, it provides a direct yet self-effacing solution to the privacy problem. A trellis works an ideal support for any number of climbing plants or flowering vines, a trellis can become an attention-grabbing focal point in the design of your outdoor living area. 

4.  Outdoor Kitchens And Entertaining Space

As an entertainment hub, the outdoor living space has been determined to enhance the value of a home making for an ingenious and lucrative investment. Think about the entertaining opportunities you would have by adding a simple barbeque kitchen island to a fully-functional outdoor kitchen area.

An outdoor hardscape that is an extension off your home is a worry-free, low-maintenance option that can increase your property’s value and appeal. Hardscapes are built into your property and include things like patios, walls, outdoor fireplaces, and pavers.

Increase Your ROI With A Hardscape Patio

These spaces are a great way to enhance outdoor lounge areas, typically including seating options and tables.

A study by suggests that landscaping and hardscaping can deliver a return on investment as high as 150 percent – an ROI that puts it ahead of popular home improvement projects like kitchen or bathroom updates.

Enjoy your outdoor space even in inclement weather by constructing a roof over your head. It’s a simple solution for a cozy outdoor living space.

Outdoor room with TV
My Gal Pal Molly’s Outdoor Space

In the past most families had a barbeque outside and that was it. These days, notably in warm climates, you will often see homes with a full outdoor kitchen set up with a large outdoor cooking area. An outdoor grill is always a great investment and can be used all year.

For instance, my friend Molly Mancini and her husband Darren uses their outdoor room all year around. Living in the Pacific Northwest, building an outdoor entertaining space with a roof is key.

Check out Molly’s awesome room above. They have installed everything you need to entertain guests including a refrigerator, warmer and storage for serving dishes and glasses.

How much does it cost to add an outdoor kitchen?

Depending on the size and materials, the average cost for a 300-square-foot outdoor kitchen is $13,000. However, many extra features, such as ice machines and pizza ovens, can increase costs. The average cost for a fire pit is $850.

According to Rymer Strategies Company, 78% of boomers and 68% of millennials are willing to pay more than $5,000 extra for a great outdoor living space when looking for a new home. Both boomers and millennials have gained a new found appreciation for alfresco-style entertaining, capturing the luxury of open-air dining.

Outdoor fireplace with TV above for the best outdoor living
Oregon Outdoor Room

5.  Outdoor Technology

With entertaining, comes the desire for outdoor technology. Watching sports or streaming movies has increased the demand for Wi-Fi boosters that work well with outdoor speakers and TV’s. If you had any sort of outdoor room, consider wiring it for a television and speakers.

See more information below about outdoor lighting . Illuminating the patio at dusk and turning it off in the morning is a small touch that can make your home look smart in almost no time.

Installing outdoor cameras a sure way to increase value to your home and protect your valuables in one swoop! There are so many great outdoor cameras out there.

If you want to add smart technology to your patio but don’t want to buy any new gadgets, consider using a smart plug.A smart plug is a small device that plugs into any outlet and allows you to control whatever is plugged into it remotely.

This means that you can easily turn on your outdoor lights, schedule your sprinklers to go off, or even control your fan without ever having to leave the comfort of your chair.

6.  Landscape Design- in Harmony With Nature

In your landscape design, make sure you consider that the outdoor space is in harmony with nature. The natural materials (like the crushed oyster shell pathway above) you incorporate into your landscape scheme should blend into the overall look and feel of your outdoor lounge area.

Looking for inspiration to design a new pathway? We have you covered here. Consider planting a boxwood hedge along the walkway. This adds privacy and to add a touch of elegance.

The goal is to create a framework for our outdoor space that is designed to have an aesthetic and ecological relationship to indigenous landscape through the use of native plants.

Basically, design a space that not only fits the style of your home but also blends nicely with the native plants and trees. Think of the landscape as the wallpaper to your outdoor living space. Plant boxwoods to define your space for example.

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), 79% of Americans rank a lawn as the most important feature when renting or buying a home. 

7.  A Place For Rest and Relaxation

Every outdoor living space needs comfy seating. Lounge seating is the ideal type of furniture for any living room. There are so many great options for outdoor furniture these days that include high quality cushions and throw pillows to take your comfort to a new level.

Patio furnishings don’t need to be really expensive. Check out our favorite Walmart patio furniture and decor pieces in this blog post here.

Recent home trends include adding a place to chill in and outside your own home.

8.  Give It Light

Install lights on your steps for safety and esthetic. If you have the opportunity to hardwire walkways lighting do it. You can set schedules, dim or brighten lights, and even turn them on and off from anywhere in the world.

Some outdoor lighting options are even integrated with other smart home devices and are compatible with smart home hubs like the Google Nest or Amazon Echo.

Up lighting on a tree is a good example of a way to bring your garden to life at night. If electrical lighting is not an option, consider solar lights. Steps and walkways should also be illuminated for safety.

You can also use solar-powered accent lights or low-voltage lights to add drama and interest to the landscape and to highlight paths. Combine a mix of lighting sources to make your backyard getaway a magical place after dark.

By adding strings of lights to an outdoor lounge areas ads so much charm. Simple string lights Soft lighting can add a gorgeous glow to your outdoor room. 

Outdoor living spaces at night with lights
Outdoor living spaces at night with lights

Whether you prefer traditional lanterns, modern hanging lights, or LED strip lights, outdoor lighting is relatively easy to upgrade.

French Doors and Patio
French Doors and Patio

9.  Design Your Outdoor Room Like You would Your Inside Room

When planning an outdoor room that blurs the line from inside to outside, make sure you know what function your room will serve.  Furnish and decorate your outdoor living space just like you would inside your home.

Think about for floor material. Consider adding a outdoor rug to help define your cozy sitting area. A rug will make your outdoor seating areas feel more like an outdoor living room.  Furnish the space the same way you would in your indoor living space.

Large outdoor water fountain
Water Fountain

10.  Water Feature

A recent study from the American Association for the Advancement of Science found that simply looking at a water feature improves a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Adding a water feature to your outdoor space does more to add value to your living space than it may adding value to your home. Most people agree that a water fountain, bird bath or waterfall adds a physical benefit to any outdoor living area.

A Psychology Today review of almost 40 recent studies about water features, found that they reduce stress and lower the risk for depression.

Beautiful Residential Mature Garden Aerial View
Beautiful Residential Mature Garden Aerial View

11.  Mature Landscaping Can Add Value To A Property

It’s widely known that mature landscaping not only adds beauty to your lawn, but when planted correctly, can also increase a home’s value.  Mature trees and large shrubs add privacy and shade to a hot summer day.

Something else to consider is the fact that native plants are trees, shrubs or flowers that grow naturally in your region. These plants can increase property value because they often require less maintenance because they naturally thrive in their native region.

Incorporating fragrant plants in your garden can have very calming effects since aromatherapy is one of the best ways to get relaxed. There is a variety of different plants you can choose from. Consider potted plants, hanging plants, or planting them around your seating area. Gardenia, lavender, and clematis are some of the best choices. They will provide a very sweet, yet light fragrance that will help you relax in your garden after a long day at work.

Gray Shingled Home with whit trim
Our Front Door Landscape Design

12.  Curb Appeal- Don’t forget the front yard!

An inviting landscape usually brings to mind grass and plants, it also includes things like the facade of your house and the pathway leading to it.  Consider adding an unique winding path around your home. We added a lovely crushed oyster shell pathway that is so pretty it has our neighbors stopping to ask about it.

Same goes for the driveway, consider paving  your driveway or use a sustainable material like crushed oyster shells. Don’t forget to update your exterior paint color if needed.

Adding a gorgeous landscape is always a nice way to add a touch of elegance to any home.

Outdoor living space with a gas fire pit in early morning on our back patio porch

13.  Outdoor Fireplace Or Fire Pit

An outdoor fire pit and Fireplace not only adds warmth, but it adds esthetic too. Many outdoor fire tables can work as a coffee table and fire pit. You never have to worry about smoke with a propane fire pit.

It’s always fun to entertain guests outside next to an outdoor fireplace no matter what season. An outdoor gas fireplace surrounded by welcoming outdoor furniture pieces creates a serene feeling. Lounge chairs, couches with comfy pillows and warm blankets set the scene for an enchanting evening outside. Don’t forget to offer warm blankets to your guests.

14.  Outdoor Dining Room

It’s always fun to eat alfresco. By adding a simple picnic table with bench seating or a high end outdoor dining set to your outdoor space, it will allow for fun conversations and entertaining guests. A dining table is an easy way to add entertaining space to your main house. You may want to consider placing the table or picnic tables under a covered area so you can use the area all year around.

Bocce Court Oyster Shell
Bocce Court By Shellscapes

15.  Play Time

Bocce courts are all the rage and have been for years. All you need is a flat surface, a little space and some good company. But if a regulation sporting experience is what you’re after, there’s a lot more design planning that goes into it.

It’s a fun scene: friends and family gathered around your new bocce court made of sustainable crushed oyster shells on a lovely summer’s evening, as warm conversation, clinking glasses and knocking bocce balls score the scene in early twilight. Bocce ball offers seductive charm to any landscape because it looks pretty even when it’s not in use.

Picket Ball is another fun choice. Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. According to the USA Pickleball Association,(, last year alone over 1,000 new places to play pickleball were opened nationwide.

If you or your community haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, it’s time to make it happen. If you have room, it’s a fun thing for families to have in their backyard. You can add a basketball hoop at one end for multi-sport action. Recommended Total Playing.

Area – 34’x64° Height (Indoor Courts) –


16.  Backyard Cottages & Planting Sheds

Commonly called “granny flats” or accessory dwelling units (ADUs), these small structures are showing up wherever local codes allow them to be added to single family home lots.

Some are built on site; others are manufactured and trucked in. They are being used to house older relatives back from an assisted living facility, adult children needing a temporary home, tenants for additional income, or just to increase functional space to a suddenly cramped residence. Their many functions include study areas, spare bedroom suites, work from home offices, gyms or meditation areas.

If you have a large backyard, adding a beautiful planting shed and greenhouse structure is another outdoor improvement you can make. It’s a ideal addition if you have a vegetable gardens.

17. Hot Tubs and Pools

Forbes Advisors states, “generally, a hot tub is most likely to increase the resale value of your home when it is well-incorporated with the exterior landscape: a hot tub with complementary hardscaping around it, such as a stone pathway, gazebo and deck, is going to be more attractive to potential buyers than a freestanding hot tub that appears to be out of place.”

Real estate experts estimate that an average 14×28-foot inground concrete pool potentially adds 5 to 8 percent to the real estate value of your home. If your neighborhood and community members have pools, adding a pool is a sure bet.

Several other factors influence the added value of a pool. If you’re selling a house with a pool that’s been well-maintained, nicely designed, has amenities such as adjacent decks, patios and shade structures, and the surrounding area is attractively landscaped, a swimming pool is the key to adding value to your home.

 Click here to see a Palm Desert Home Remodel- Mid Century Modern with huge ROI!

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