Backyard Improvements: A Global Perspective

They say that Australian outdoor trends often follow on from American ones so we thought we’d share the opinions of Barbara Corcoran with you. Barbara is a real estate legend in the United States - she started her own real estate company and then sold it for tens of millions of dollars in 2001. Such was the reputation she gained that her views on all things real estate are still highly sought after and she is in demand as a commentator, consultant and speaker.

Barbara was recently asked to rate the backyard improvements that add the most value to a home. If you’re considering adding a retractable roof for a patio, then we have good news. Barbara Corcoran believes that outdoor rooms and covered patios can raise the value of a home significantly, and this is certainly in line with the evidence we have seen in the Australian real estate market.

Another American backyard trend that is mirrored here in Australia is the “less lawn” phenomenon. We have spoken before that Australians have fallen out of love with their lawns to a certain extent and are now opting for structures, like a covered pergola or deck, as well as replacing grass with low-maintenance vegetation that saves on upkeep and time. For example, foot-friendly ground covers instead of grass that is full of weeds. Barbara also suggests that deep planting beds and wide borders with low-care perennials and shrubs add plenty of interest, and value.

Less lawn is one thing - more trees is another. Barbara says that trees are one of the few things that appreciate over time and let’s face it, every home buyer loves the idea of sitting under the shade of a tree. Younger is usually better when you plant trees, but if you’re selling within three to five years, you’ll need some size to show off the shade that trees provide, as well as the beautiful foliage. Shaded areas, in general, are big sellers, be it a tree or a retractable roof over an outdoor room. And if that outdoor room boasts a full outdoor kitchen, then Barbara believes you’re adding a massive amount to your potential selling price. Outdoor kitchens have become something of a backyard status symbol, and homebuyers are willing to pay big dollars to enjoy such a feature.  

You don’t have to go to such lengths as installing an outdoor kitchen. Backyard improvers can be as simple as garden lights. They bring several benefits for a relatively low cost; they show off your garden at night, they silhouette your trees for a stunning effect, keep everyone safe from tripping and they deter burglars.

A great backyard is a big selling point. As the trend towards outdoor living shows no sign of slowing down, then we suggest that you follow Barbara’s advice. With her experience and reputation, it’s safe to say that she knows what she is talking about.