5 Outdoor Enhancements That Cost Less Than $1000

Updating your home doesn’t have to break the bank.

With the start of a new year, many of us consider what changes we want to make in 2019, whether it’s to eat healthier, get more exercise or reconnect with old friends. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to save more money, and as a result, we let things that we believe cost a lot of money fall by the wayside—like home updates.

We all know the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so we allow dated furniture and flooring to take over our homes. But by chipping away at the old this year, and letting in the new by starting with the areas that get the most foot traffic, the updating process suddenly seems more attainable and more affordable.

Most realtors and home staging experts will tell you that the most important upgrade you can make is to increase your curb appeal. It’s what gets potential buyers through the door, and it’s the first thing your guests see when they visit. Recognizing this as a great place to start, what are some changes you can make to your exterior, even on a budget? Here are some recommendations:

Head to your local nursery

Nurseries carry a plethora of options that are both seasonal and, more often than not, locally grown. This is great for two reasons: whatever plants you purchase will be able to withstand the environment you’re in, and secondly, they will usually be more affordable than at your local hardware store. Look at the exterior of your home carefully before making the trip to consider whether you want to invest in shrubs, trees, flowers or a combination of flora. Some plants will not only require more care than others, but will also require more light.

“Most plants do well in a mix of sun and shade,” according to Janet Albrecht of Perennial Palette. “Full deep shade is more challenging as most plants require some light to thrive, and full sun, which is a total of six hours daily, allows for a wider array of plant selections. From here, you need to determine the amount of space that you have to plant in order to determine which trees, shrubs and perennials are best for the site.”

She also suggests building your landscape slowly rather than buying in bulk. Purchase a few plants, look where the gaps are and fill in from there.

Make a statement with a bold color

Rather than painting the entire exterior of your house, pick a focal point and paint it a bold color to help your home stand out from others on the block. The entire job should require a simple base coat to cover any existing paint and a couple of coats in the new color.

“If the house has a feature you love, like a big window or a big front porch, make sure you’re enhancing it rather than hiding it,” said Showhomes franchisee Dana Baggett.

Get creative with natural materials

While wood can be pricey when you start buying it in bulk, you only need to purchase a few stones to make a big impact. Many retailers sell individual stones, giving homeowners the opportunity to use their imagination. Consider making a path to your front porch rather than paying to pave a traditional sidewalk, or make a border to highlight your new garden.

Install synthetic lawn turf grass

“A buyer might look at five houses in a day and will probably only go back to three of those houses the next day through process of elimination,” said Baggett. “Of all of the things that might bring someone back the next day or not, do you really want the reason to be because your house was ‘the one with the terrible yard?’”

Synthetic grass is a great solution for those struggling to keep their lawn looking lush in a hot and dry climate. Retailers typically charge by the square foot, so if you have a big yard, this might not be the most budget-friendly option out there. However, for homeowners with a smaller lawn that are looking to spruce up their exterior appearance before putting it on the market, it’s a relatively affordable way to maintain the look and feel of your yard in any climate.

Make your porch look like new

Building a new porch can be expensive when you add up the cost of the materials and the labor, so why not work with what you have instead? Staining is a great alternative to make your porch look like you invested a lot of time and money into it. Instead of hiring someone to do the job for you, head to your local hardware store and buy a few tools to do the job yourself. The process isn’t very time consuming and when you’re done, it only takes about 24 hours to dry—meaning the job can be done even when you’re pinched for time.

With these tips in mind, resolve to make your home a great return on investment this year.