10 Way to Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Spaces
Expert Advice

With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to revamp your home’s outdoor living spaces. Investing in strategic upgrades can enhance your home atmosphere, improve your quality of life, and increase your home’s resale value.

Whether you want to do a complete transformation or make a few simple, high-impact changes, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 outdoor home upgrade ideas from our friends at Hippo to consider, along with the estimated cost and difficulty for each:

1. Freshen up your paint

The fastest way to refresh your outdoor space is to put on a new coat of paint. Repainting your home’s exterior — including walls, window boxes, decks, and doors — can make your home look newer, cleaner, and more modern. Plus, if you use a weather-resistant paint, you’ll also set your home up for less wear and tear over time.

If you want to hire painting professionals, you’ll save time and energy, but you could end up spending a few thousand dollars. DIY painting, on the other hand, costs just a few hundred dollars in paint and supplies, but it can take dozens of hours, especially if you don’t have painting experience.

2. Enhance your lighting

Upgrading your outdoor lighting has practical and aesthetic benefits. Investing in flood lights, pathway lights, garage lights, sensor lights, and door lights can help you see better in the dark — and potentially prevent trespassers from entering your property.

Meanwhile, porch, patio, and garden lighting can improve the ambiance in your space, amp up the cozy factor, and give you an excuse to spend more time outdoors. Depending on the look you want, you could try string lights and hanging lanterns or investigate lamp posts and sconces.

Lighting can be expensive, especially if you need someone to install it for you. If you purchase wall-mounted sconces, for example, and set them up on your own, you can probably keep your spending under a thousand dollars. But if you buy recessed garage lighting or flood lights, you might end up spending several thousand dollars in materials and labor.

3. Redo the landscaping

Landscaping makes a massive difference in your space’s look, livability, and overall monetary value. Depending on the time and money you want to spend, you can do some basic upgrades to your landscaping, or go all out. Here are some ideas:

  • Plant trees, flowers, and shrubs
  • Trim trees and clear dead vegetation
  • Mow your lawn and use grass thickener
  • Add a gravel or stone walkway
  • Add planters
  • Add an arbor

You can do basic landscape maintenance — like watering planters or mowing your lawn — on your own, but more complex projects usually require a professional landscaping service and can cost upwards of $5,000.

4. Add a fence

Adding a fence to your outdoor space gives you more privacy and can also help deter wildlife and trespassers. The fence material you choose depends on your style, particular needs, and local weather.

Wood fences are classic and versatile, chain-link fences are cost-effective and good for containing pets, and aluminum fences are great for wet weather. Vinyl fences are some of the most durable and weather-resistant, but they’re also more expensive.

The cost of fencing depends on the material you buy and whether you hire someone to help build and place it. If you’re handy (and have a chunk of time to spare), assembling and painting a fence can be a gratifying DIY project.

5. Create an outdoor eating or lounging area

A surefire way to make more use of your outdoor space is to design it with eating and socializing in mind. If you don’t have a designated outdoor dining or lounging area, consider creating one.

If you already have a sizable stone or gravel area somewhere in your yard, you’re one step ahead: all you need to do is add some outdoor furniture. A dining set, hanging umbrella, or pair of outdoor couches and cocktail table can turn an unassuming space into a go-to hang zone. You can also bring in an outdoor rug, couch pillows, and planters to make the area even more inviting. Of course, if you have the means, you could also invest in a built-in bar, grill, or pizza oven.

If you’re just adding furniture, you can easily DIY this project. Depending on the furniture — and whether you purchase it new or secondhand — you could spend anywhere from $500 to a few thousand dollars creating an outdoor lounge area. However, if you want to add a built-in bar, grill, or pizza oven to your space, you’ll need professional contractors and several thousand dollars to spare.

6. Repair your pavement

If the pavement in your yard or driveway is cracked or covered in potholes, consider repaving. Repairing your pavement helps improve your home’s curb appeal and functionality. That’s because smooth, level pavement isn’t just safer to walk on and easier to clean — it’s also easier to embellish.

In addition to repairing cracks and crumbling, you can stain your pavement or add stencils and patterns to match your home’s aesthetic.

It’s a good idea to enlist professional help to repave your concrete areas. The cost depends on whether you decide to repair existing pavement or pave an area from scratch. The former can cost upwards of $1,000, while the latter can cost $4,000 or more.

7. Add a fire pit

A fire pit is a relatively affordable way to ramp up the style, warmth, and coziness in your outdoor space. You can center a fire pit in your dining area or use a fire pit to create a separate zone for chatting and roasting s’mores.

Depending on the look you want, you can either purchase a table with a built-in gas fire pit, build a traditional campfire-style pit in your ground, or construct a more traditional fireplace attached to your home’s exterior.

If you buy a small portable fire pit and assemble it yourself, you can expect to spend a couple hundred dollars. But if you want a more lavish fire pit or one built into your space, you could end up spending anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

8. Build a deck

If you don’t already have a paved area in your outdoor space, a deck gives you a dedicated place to gather, eat, and entertain. Depending on the layout of your outdoor space, your view, and the weather where you live, you could take a few different approaches:

  1. Build a raised deck that connects to the second floor of your house so you can look at the view
  2. Build a covered deck that provides shade and insulation from wet weather
  3. Build a small simple deck off the back of the house

Building a deck is akin to a backyard remodel, which means it’s a pricey project. If you’re a competent builder, you could spend around $1,000 on materials and DIY a basic deck. But if you want something more complex and need professional help, you could end up spending anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for materials and labor.

9. Revive or create a garden

Gardens require regular maintenance, but with the right care and attention, they add an incredible amount of visual intrigue and tranquility to your outdoor space. Plus, they’re a beautiful selling point for your home.

In a small outdoor area, you can build boxes for your favorite herbs, vegetables, or flowers. However, if you have ample outdoor space, you could create a walkable garden with different sections and sitting areas. Depending on your style, you may want to add rows of fruit trees, stone statues, or koi ponds. You could even build a gazebo or pergola if you want a dedicated space to visit and admire the backyard view.

If you’re just purchasing seeds and soil, you can build a garden for a couple hundred dollars; all you need are some basic gardening tools and a good work ethic. However, if you want to purchase more expensive flora or build a pergola or gazebo, you could end up spending a few thousand dollars on labor and materials.

10. Build a pool or hot tub

Putting a pool or hot tub in your outdoor space instantly ramps up the luxury factor in your home. Even a modest-size swimming area can increase your home’s resale value, not to mention enhance your quality of life.

If you have a bigger budget and space (and if the weather allows), consider building a pool. If you have a smaller area or wooden deck, a standalone hot tub could be the perfect way to unwind in the evenings.

Pools and hot tubs are major investments. You’ll need a landscape designer and professional construction crew to map out your space and build a pool, which can cost anywhere from $30,000 on the cheap end to over six figures on the pricey side. Even standalone hot tubs are at least $5,000 if you buy them new.

Insure your outdoor upgrades 

Upgrading your outdoor living spaces takes time and money, but it’s a great way to make the most of your property — and set your home up for stronger resale.