Your backyard is an extension of your home and often the first thing people notice when they visit your property. With the right improvements, your backyard can become an inviting oasis that adds value to your home. According to landscape economist John Harris, an appealing outdoor space can increase a home’s value by as much as 28%. Additionally, the average size of a backyard in the U.S. is about 0.5 acres or 23,301 square feet. With some creativity and strategic upgrades, that outdoor space can be transformed into a gorgeous backyard retreat.
Upgrading your backyard not only increases curb appeal but also enhances your quality of life. Time spent outdoors has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost physical health. Whether you want to entertain guests or simply have a private sanctuary to relax, a well-designed backyard is essential. However, maintaining an attractive outdoor space does require an investment. The average cost to install new landscaping is $1,271 to $6,006 while building a new wooden deck runs $4,000 to $12,000. But improving your backyard yields an excellent return on investment in terms of increased home value and enjoyment.
Here are a few ways you can enhance your backyard. With a combination of DIY projects, hired help from landscaping professionals, and high-value additions, you can create a stunning outdoor living space. Follow these tips to take your backyard from drab to fab.
1. Upgrade with Built-In Pellet Grills
If you love to barbecue, consider installing built-in pellet grills. Pellet grills combine the convenience of gas with the smoky flavor of charcoal or wood. Built-in pellet grills like those from Memphis Wood Fire Grills deliver professional results integrated seamlessly into your outdoor kitchen. With temperature precision and smart technology, pellet grills produce incredibly consistent and delicious results every time.
Built-in pellet grills range from $5,000 to $9,000 installed. Opt for a larger model with multiple racks to accommodate smoking large quantities of meat or other barbecue. With this feature, your backyard becomes the ultimate spot for effortless grilling and entertaining.
2. Build a Patio or Deck
One of the best ways to improve your backyard is to add a patio or deck. These structures provide a designated space for outdoor furniture, entertaining, and everyday enjoyment of the yard. The national average cost to have a 200-square-foot wooden deck professionally built is about $4,000. For a DIY deck, expect to spend $10 to $15 per square foot or $2,000 to $3,000 for a medium-sized deck. Opt for low-maintenance and weather-resistant materials like pressure-treated lumber. Add character by incorporating built-in benches, planter boxes, or a pergola.
Installing a paver patio costs $8 to $15 per square foot, including labor and materials. For a DIY paver project, plan to spend $5 to $8 per square foot. Choose pavers in hues that complement your home and landscaping. Incorporate curves or patterns for visual interest. Outfit your new patio or deck with comfortable, weatherproof outdoor furniture so you can fully utilize the space.
3. Create a Multifunctional Fire Pit
Fire pits provide ambient lighting, warmth, and a cozy gathering place in your backyard. Prefabricated fire pits cost $500 to $600, or you can get it customized for about $3,000, which can be quite expensive. If you want a minimalist look, go for the above-ground firepits, which are also the least expensive option, costing around $50 to $60. Consider incorporating benches or stone seating around the fire pit to create an inviting space for relaxing on cool evenings.
Select a gas-burning fire pit for convenience, or go for the classic crackling ambiance of a wood-burning model. For functionality, choose a fire pit with a cooking grate for grilling appetizers or cooking s’mores. Position your fire pit on a paver or stone patio for safety and easy cleaning. A fire pit extends your enjoyment of the backyard long after sunset.
4. Install a Water Feature
The pleasant sights and sounds of moving water can instantly upgrade your backyard. Small, self-contained water features like tabletop fountains start at just $50. For a focal point, opt for a mounted wall fountain or freestanding water feature; the average cost is $2,683, depending on size and materials.
If you have the space, consider adding a pond with a cascading waterfall. Professionally installed ponds average $1,000 to $18,000, whereas a DIY kit can cost as little as $450. Be sure to incorporate aquatic plants and lighting to get the full effect.
The tranquil ambiance of a water feature creates an oasis right in your backyard.
5. Build a Pergola or Gazebo
Installing a pergola or gazebo adds visual interest while providing shade and a place to relax in your backyard. Prefabricated gazebos vary from $2,000 to $10,000 installed, depending on size and materials. Building a custom pergola averages around $5,500 to $11,000 or more.
Set your pergola or gazebo over a patio or deck to deliver shade during the hottest parts of the day. Decorate the structure with hanging lights and climbing vines or flowers. Add a comfy outdoor sofa and side tables to create a living room-like space outside. All these arrangements can make your pergola or gazebo your backyard’s crown jewel.
6. Build a Pool, Hot Tub, or Splash Pad
Taking a dip in your own backyard is a dream for many homeowners. Inground pools average $50–$125 per square foot but add significant value to homes. More affordable options include above-ground pools ($1,800 to $5,000), hot tubs ($3,000 to $10,000 installed), or splash pads ($6,000 to $12,000).
Consider saltwater pools and hot tubs which use chlorine generation for low maintenance and make sure to include safety fencing and lighting so you can enjoy the pool day or night. By offering swimming and soaking at home, a pool or hot tub creates a backyard resort.
7. Add Seating Areas and Dining Spots
Create designated spaces for relaxing and eating al fresco in your yard. Arrange weatherproof patio furniture – like all-weather wicker sofa sets ($1,953 – $5,722) – on your deck, patio, or lawn. For intimate conversation areas, choose chairs circled around a fire pit or overlooking the garden.
Also, using weatherproof rugs, throw pillows, and sofa throws can immensely cozy up the seating area. Consider adding a dining set to your patio or under a pergola for outdoor meals. Include a built-in grill, Kitchen Island, and bar area for seamless entertaining. This comfortable, well-appointed seating will encourage you to spend more time enjoying your backyard.
With limitless possibilities, your backyard can become your private oasis. Whether you want to install a pool, create an outdoor living room, or simply relax amidst flowers and trees, upgrading your yard pays dividends for years to come. Use these tips to turn your lackluster backyard into an enviable outdoor space that becomes an extension of your home. With strategic improvements, you can increase your home’s value while also enhancing your lifestyle. Investing in your backyard improves your outdoor living space and provides an inviting area to relax, entertain, and make memories. Follow this guide to create the backyard of your dreams — and boost your home’s curb appeal at the same time.