From Spotlight: Backyard Makeovers To Maximize Outdoor Time

7 Amazing Ways to Transform Your Backyard

Because a primo backyard improves aesthetics and your home’s value.

After photo from a backyard reno
Image: Russell & Company Construction, Birmingham, Alabama

Nothing ruins a sunny day faster than a backyard that's too ugly to enjoy. Plus, a gnarly yard dings your home value, making it a double bummer.

Here are seven backyard before-and-afters to show how yards can become chock full of sunny-day delight — and home value.

#1 Go for a Total Yard Makeover

A before image of a front yard with wood risers for deck
An after image of a redesigned zen garden with wood bridge

Image: LandCrafters, Milwaukee, WI

Whoa. A total landscape makeover takes this home from "The Brady Bunch"-ugly to Insta-lovely.

Landscaping an entire yard is pricey, but you'll likely get all (or more) of the money back when you sell, says the from the National Association of REALTORS®.

And . . .  you'll get a fabulous yard to love right now.

#2 Dump a Dying Deck for a Pretty Patio

Decks are great. But when they need more repair than maintenance, it's time for plan B. This flagstone patio is set-it-and-forget-it, a classic look you'll still love when you're eligible for AARP membership. Plus, you'll recoup the cost if you sell before your membership kicks in.

#3 Swap Dying Grass for an Outdoor Room

Yes, grass adds value. But if mowing and seeding aren't your thing, it'll turn more gross than green. An attractive mix of hardscape and low-maintenance plants is money in the bank (returning around 100% — or more — of their cost) and gives you more living time, too. Fewer hours mowing mean more hours sipping cocktails on that fab patio.

Bonus: You can sell your lawnmower when the lawn is gone.

#4 Turn a Tiny Condo Yard Into a Mini Escape

What's better?

A) A patch of dirt

B) A serenity spot

Yes, exactly. It doesn't matter if Zen is your aesthetic. The point is you can transform a small yard by building the right features on it. This pint-sized yard lives large with the addition of a water feature, deck, and stone planter.

#5 Clear the Bramble and Make a Yard

Buyers LOVE well-cared-for lawns. A lawn is like an outdoor carpet — perfect to pair with a patio. The raised beds off to the side make gardening an option without overtaking the yard (and are easily dismantled if you want even more lawn).

#6 Upgrade Your Pool Patio

The rule of pools is that they're all about love; they don't generally add home value. But let your pool turn into an abandoned waterhole surrounded by overgrowth, and it totally can affect home value — in the wrong direction. A savvy upgrade includes a built-in fire pit and a gorgeous patio, which both have legit ROI.

#7 Plant a Petite Patio in a Flower Bed

A before image of a backyard with grass and dirt patch
An after image of a backyard patio with firepit

Image: Lovely Indeed

A master gardener would replant that dead flower bed. A master relaxer turns it into a budget-friendly patio with concrete stones and tidy brick edgers. It's money well-spent because patios almost always pay for themselves when you sell, so you'll feel even better about relaxing with a beer instead of tending to peonies.

Related: 8 Ways New Homeowners Trash Their Yards Without Meaning To

A headshot of Leanne Potts
Leanne Potts

Leanne Potts is an Atlanta-based journalist and serial home remodeler. She's tackled five fixer-uppers and is working on a sixth. She's written about everything from forest fires to dog-friendly decor and spent a decade leading the digital staff of HGTV.