Guest post by Kris Kiser, president/CEO, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Most Texans enjoy four-season access to their yards, so your clients should give attention to staging an “outdoor living room” as they do indoor spaces. The yard expands a property’s living space without expensive renovations, and there’s a growing body of scientific research that proves spending time in green space—including our own backyards—is good for our health and well-being.
Here are 5 tips for staging an outdoor living room at your next listing.
Spruce Up the Landscaping
Do some basic landscaping clean up to create a neat space. Keep the grass cut to a healthy height—two to three inches for most Texas varieties—and never cut off more than one-third at a time. Fixing bare patches in the grass, pruning bushes and trees, and using a leaf blower to clean out flower beds are other key steps. When everything’s cleaned up, add a fresh layer of mulch around trees and flower beds for a polished look.
Declutter and Clean
Store lawn equipment, children’s toys, and pet play things in a shed or garage. Have your clients stash lawn ornaments and yard art, especially anything that is personalized. Remove furniture and patio accessories to make the space look larger. Finally, give the entire area a good scrub down, sweeping away dust and debris to create a fresh, clean canvas to help potential buyers envision themselves in the space.
Ensure Living Landscapes
Nothing says “welcome home” quite like a beautiful living landscape, complete with flowering shrubs, trees, flowers, and other vegetation. Encourage your clients to freshen up their yard by planting flower beds and pots with colorful flowers and verdant plants. Vases of flowers can also help bring life—and a pop of color—to outdoor dining areas. Determine which plants will fare best in your corner of Texas by visiting the Best of Texas plant database.
Define the Outdoor Spaces
Delineating spaces in the yard help buyers imagine what they might do with the outdoor living room. A big patch of sturdy grass (Bermuda is a good choice for Texas) is a welcome invitation for kids and pets to play. Shrubs and bushes offer privacy from neighbors, camouflage unsightly pool equipment, or designate play areas from sitting spaces. Planters full of colorful flowers strategically placed between sitting and eating areas on a patio add visual interest while also creating an urban habitat that invites birds and other pollinators into the space. This adds a whimsical touch for showings.
Invite the Outdoors In
Blending interior and outdoor living spaces helps the yard feel like an extension of the home, not an afterthought. Before showings, open the blinds and curtains to the backyard. This will highlight the outdoor retreat before the potential buyer even steps through the backdoor. If the weather is nice during a showing, leave sliding or French doors open to showcase the space’s seamlessness.
Kris Kiser is president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation. OPEI is an international trade association representing 100 small engine, utility vehicle, and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and the creative force behind the environmental education program TurfMutt. For more information, visit opei.org and savelivinglandscapes.com.