Five Popular Outdoor Renovations That’ll Add Value to Your Seattle Area Home

By Evette Zalvino, Freelance Writer for HomeLight, for Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb

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Renovating your backyard is a great way to prepare for a summer of entertainment, and these five renovations will add a lot of value to your Seattle home.

2020 was one heck of a year, wasn’t it? Now that 76% of Seattleites are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, it’s time to make plans to invite guests over for barbecues, parties, and a good ole’ game of volleyball (or whatever your family and friends like to play). It’s also the perfect time to give your backyard a complete overhaul and turn it into a fun and beautiful oasis that everyone will want to use and enjoy.

The question is, where do you even start; or if you’re looking to sell your home, which projects will add the most value to your home?  After gathering some insights from real estate agents and landscape architects in Seattle, these landscaping renovations are what many homeowners want the most:

1. Outdoor living space

Homeowners are treating their backyards as an extension of their homes, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that nearly every homeowner wants an outdoor living space. This renovation isn’t just popular in Seattle, 52.5% of surveyed real estate agents from all over the country report clients say this is on their “wants” list.

These outdoor spaces can be as elaborate as you’d like, but many people opt for a simple seating terrace, with a separate dining area. It’s important to note that these spaces are not just relegated to the backyard – you can create a beautiful (but private) front garden where you can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.

2. Lawns for playing

If you have young children (or you’re a child at heart), having a luscious lawn that’s large enough for playing outside is important for at least 50% of residential landscape clients, and can go as high as 100% for people with young children). The best types of grass for the Seattle area include Fescue and Ryegrass. These varieties are extremely resilient and, the right soils, sun exposure, watering, and regular mowing program, can withstand rigorous game-playing.

Having a large grassy area for games doesn’t mean that the rest of the landscaping must be boring or drab. You can use hardscaping to create a path that separates the lawn from garden beds filled with your favorite perennials, annuals, and shrubs.

3. Outdoor grilling setup

You may have a charcoal grill that’s seen better days, so why not plan a renovation suited for the grill master that you are? An outdoor grilling station will give you a place where you can whip up delicious barbecue while entertaining your guests – after all, who wants to be left out of all the juicy gossip or life updates?

There are a variety of options when it comes to creating the ideal grilling station that suits your needs. Many if not most people prefer to keep it simple, locating their grills on the edge of a patio, against a wall.  However, you could consider erecting a pergola over your grill for rain protection, or you could install a built-in brick, wood or stone grilling station with a countertop for food preparation. There are a lot of possibilities to tailor the set-up for your particular needs.

4. Outdoor fire feature

While everyone calls them fire pits, “fire feature” is a more accurate term to describe all the various design options available to people who want to enjoy the heat and light that an outdoor fire can provide. Seattle landscape architect Brooks Kolb reports that at least 35% of his clients request a custom fire feature, while nationally 76.8% of real estate agents represent clients who either have or want fire pits. A fire feature is a great place to relax on the cooler nights while enjoying your garden or chatting with friends and family.

One affordable solution is to purchase a catalog-order fire table, which can double as an outdoor coffee table for your conversational setting, but if budget permits, custom-built fire features can incorporate masonry that matches or compliments your home’s architectural design.

5. Raised garden beds

There’s nothing like fresh herbs and vegetables to take your cooking up to a whole new level. However, bending over to tend to the plants or harvest them can be difficult for some homeowners. To remedy this or to provide an easy way to cut flowers for indoor bouquets, many people ask for raised garden beds to be a primary feature of their new landscape design.  Moreover, if your garden has heavy clay soils, raised beds are almost a necessity, as they facilitate bringing in a loamy topsoil.

Whether you want to spend more time in your garden, you’re looking forward to entertain guests outdoors, or you just want to boost your property value, these landscaping renovations are a great way to start. With a little bit of imagination and planning, your landscaping is sure to be the talk of the town!

If you’d like more specific suggestions or recommendations on all these garden design features, please contact Seattle landscape architect Brooks Kolb, at 206-342-0858.

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