“Curb appeal has never been as important as it is today,” landscape designer and HGTV personality Carson Arthur told Inman.

With coronavirus lockdowns still in full swing, no part of the home is proving to be as valuable as the backyard and front yard. Those who have a garden or a tree-lined patio can spend time in nature while still socially isolated.

Many homeowners are using newfound free time to start outdoor home projects — from work in the garden to adding a new patio for outdoor dinners.

Stuck in lockdown and looking to start an outdoor project of your own? We asked some landscape design experts about how outdoor quarantine projects can increase the value of you or your client’s home:

1. What you see is what you get

These days, buyers are all about curb appeal — what it looks like, what kind of decor it has and the type of lifestyle it sells, Carson Arthur, a landscape designer who regularly appears on HGTV shows, told Inman. Making the front of a property more lavish could be as simple as giving the front door a fresh coat of paint or installing a planter.

“Curb appeal has never been as important as it is today, with many online experts stating that the first impression your home makes to a potential buyer can be worth between 8 and 10 percent of your home’s overall value,” Arthur said.

2. Outdoor eating for the win

A stylish outdoor patio, rooftop or balcony has always added sparkle to a property — anyone who visits immediately thinks of the evenings they will get to spend there with family or friends. But given how much time we’ve had to spend inside this spring, many buyers may start to see a patio or grill area as an especially valuable home feature to have during tough times.

“We recommend keeping your dining table close to your grill or an indoor kitchen, so its easy to transfer dishes and food back and forth,” Amber Freda, a New York-based landscape and garden design expert told Inman. “Think about how many [seats] you will need ahead of time and plan accordingly.”

3Don’t forget the garden and plants

When talking of increased home value, minds tend to jump immediately to fancy decks, pools and expensive renovations. But a vegetable planter or a garden full of flowers are easier to start and will automatically make a home look cared-for and stylish, Freda says.

“Plantings will instantly transform a home and increase the value,” she said. “You can also add an irrigation or landscape lighting system, mulch the soil for a more finished look, and add built-in features like fencing, a patio, a pergola, or an outdoor kitchen.”

4. Do some updates

New lights, a varnished and freshly-scrubbed deck or something as classic as a fresh coat of paint — these may not sound like exciting renovations but, when done, they make an enormous difference in whether a house looks luxurious or drab.

“This is a great time to save money and spend time outdoors by tending to your own maintenance, plantings, and built-in items,” Freda said. “There are so many great how-to articles, courses, and Youtube videos that can teach people how to do these things, and you may even find it so enjoyable that you want to keep doing it just for fun.”

5. In some cases, hold off

Current limitations on business and calling in contractors may make certain renovations impossible. Complex outdoor projects, such as installing a pool or doing a full-on roof replacement, should not be started without professional contractors. Use quarantine time to research and create plans for future updates instead.

“Redoing a project is never a fun thing and even worse if an improperly built deck or patio hurts the value of your home,” Arthur said.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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