Make your backyard an outdoor living space


Home staging isn’t limited to a home’s interior! Home stagers are paying more and more attention to creating lush and inviting outdoor living areas. Use of outdoor spaces for entertaining, hosting, and living is nothing new, but architects and homeowners alike are beginning to take an interest in furnishing these outdoor spaces in comfort and style. Most popular among outdoor living upgrades are grills, water features, fire pits and fireplaces, and comfortable, well-lit seating and dining areas.

The following are some tips to keep in mind when staging a back yard or deck area:

1. Surprise people. The House Warmers’ Caitlin Fowler advises homeowners to have three things in their staged outdoor areas: tables and chairs for al fresco dining, a comfortable seating area, and a secluded, sheltered, garden-like area with a fountain or stream and more seating. Designers suggest placing this secret refuge at the end of a heavily vegetated and sinuous path. This both encourages visitors to “explore” and rewards them for doing so.

2. Keep human traffic patterns in mind. Clearly delineate pathways by laying down decorative stones or tiles or use hardscape materials (such as water fountains, bird baths, or other decorative items) as guide markers. You can also be subtle and strategically use trees and shrubs to delineate borders and boundaries.

3. Zero in on something. Your home’s outdoor living space should have a point of focus, some area that sucks people in. Nothing draws a group of people together like a fire. Add a fire pit or fireplace to your cozy seating area to add spark to the staged outdoor living space. Just make sure to check applicable building codes regarding the placement of a fire pit on the property. A water feature such as a pond or stream can also be the natural building point from which you stage the rest of the outdoor area, around which you orient furniture and décor.

4. Remember the little things. Whether you’re on a tight budget or not, it’s the small details that matter. Browse antique shops and flea markets for repurposed or secondhand items that can lend visual zest to your outdoor living area. Tabletop fountains, unusual planters, cast-iron globes, small sculptures, and other such objects spruce up a staged area without being too costly.

5. Add color, texture, and variety. Vivid upholstery, colorful pots, and seasonal flowers add splashes and blotches of color to your outdoor room, brightening the space and attracting the eye. Have a bunch of different seating options: stools, chairs, sofas, loveseats, benches, and everything in between.

6. Double the functionality. Consider using furniture with secret storage compartments or coffee tables which double as planters. Add shelves and hooks to tables. Think about how you can combine the decorative with the functional and blend comfort with utility. It’ll make your home more functional and more attractive to prospective buyers.

7. Clean up the empty space. Bare stretches of brick, stone, or cement leave visitors’ eyes hungry. Potted plants with trailing vines, inexpensive signage, wall sculptures, and even antique or vintage clocks dress up the empty space and lend a cultured feel to the outdoor living area.

Sprucing up an outdoor living area can be as simple as switching out your wicker porch furniture’s upholstery for something more colorful and eye-popping. Or it may be as elaborate as laying a tile path to the hidden bamboo grove and putting down a cast-iron bench and a sundial, or adding a stream or a pond or a pool. But if you take the time to dress up the outdoor living areas and pay heed to the details, you’ll increase the value of your home and draw the buyers’ interest time and again.