Many of us look around our home and imagine makeovers. But while you’re considering those indoor improvements such as new cabinet hardware and bath fixtures, don’t neglect the exterior of your home. From little details such as flashing tape to big-ticket items like a new roof or a paved drive, you can get a substantial return on investment (ROI) by upgrading your outdoor spaces. Here are a few improvements that are worth it:
Taking care of maintenance
With warmer weather, take time to walk around your home and do a mini inspection. What toll did winter take on your home’s exterior? Assessing and fixing broken items earlier may mean the difference between a small cost now or a larger one later. Not only will maintenance prevent damage and make your home more livable, but it will also help to maintain or increase your home’s value. Here’s a punch list of what to check:
- Doors: Do you need to paint or repair your exterior entrances?
- Drainage, grading, and retaining walls: Check after a rain. Where do you see water pooling or standing?
- Garage: If your garage door isn’t working well, you may need to fix or replace the door or motor. If it’s squeaky, lubricate the rollers.
- Wallcoverings, flashing and trim: Check for cracks or missing pieces. Be sure your home is watertight. Wash away any dirt or algae growth with a power washer, but be mindful of paint and timbers, which can be damaged by high pressure.
- Patios, drives and walkways: Do you need to repair cracks or lay new blocks or concrete?
- Balconies, decks, steps, and porches: Pay special attention to railings and boards that may be loose. Check closely for wood rot.
- Roof, including chimneys and skylights: Are there missing shingles? Bring in a pro if you don’t have a safe way to inspect.
- Downspouts and gutters: A faulty gutter or downspout can lead to leaks and a damaged foundation. Don’t take any chances.
- Windows: Do you see any cracks or damage that should be repaired? If you have windows that won’t open or are leaking air or water, it may be time to replace them.
Build a garden deck
A new deck can be a lovely addition to your garden. Today’s materials allow you to build almost any shape and size —find a design that matches your style. Check out your options for materials, sizes, colours, and special features. Look at your landscape and what will fit best: multi-level, multi-coloured, curved or straight, two-story or ground level.
Materials matter. Decide between traditional treated wood or low-maintenance composite deck boards. Composite comes in many different hues and textures, as does wood, which can be stained light or dark, brown or grey. While wood is less expensive, composite will save you from having to seal the wood year after year.
Add lighting, comfy seating and beautiful accents such as pillows and outdoor rugs. Lights can be as simple as solar caps for your posts or hard-wired into the construction of your deck. String lights are a fun, temporary way to make your deck more festive.
Think about the accents that will most help you feel at home. Water features and fire tables are increasingly popular. Add a swing, a hammock or a lounger to make space your own!
Improving your garden can be a big job, but it doesn’t have to be. Start simple: make your lawn greener. Raise your lawnmower blade a half-inch, give the lawn a good soak early in the morning, use the mulching feature on your mower for added moisture and use fertiliser and weed killer at the recommended time. Keep soil from compacting by aerating annually.
If you have more time and interest, cultivate beds around the garden and add potted plants to porches and decks. Use risers to keep pots off deck boards to avoid wood rot. Also, make sure the pots have proper drainage; add rocks and drill a hole in the bottom. For flower beds, clean out weeds regularly and reapply mulch to retain moisture. Look at landscaping magazines and websites for inspiration.
Survey your trees and shrubs and cut back any dangerous limbs or overgrown vegetation. If you’d like to plant new trees but don’t have the lifting and digging power, consider having a professional bring in equipment to help make the job easier. If you decide to DIY planting trees, dig a hole about two to three times the size of the root ball.
Give your neighbours something to talk about
If you’re ready to make a splash, consider bigger exterior improvements, but always calculate the ROI. A new conservatory can have a return on investment as high as 108%! While this may be considered an interior renovation, it’s a lovely way to bring the outdoors in.
Other big investments with strong ROI include a new roof, an extension, a new fence or a garage. Talk to a trusted builder to make plans and estimate a budget. Enjoy your exterior spaces more and get more quid when it’s time to sell!