Outdoor Projects – Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

An updated kitchen would be heavenly. A bathroom redo is probably long overdue. And installing new wood floors would add instant class to your interiors. Problem is, these and other indoor remodeling projects don’t always offer the best return on your investment these days—particularly if you plan to sell your home soon. Instead, consider upgrading your exterior with outdoor projects that are more likely to recoup a bigger portion of your renovation dollars.

Outdoor Project ROI 

Based on Remodeling’s recent 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners reaped a greater ROI on select outdoor projects. In fact, among the 10 projects promising the highest ROI, nine fit this criteria: manufactured stone veneer (95.6% of costs were recouped nationally, on average); garage door replacement (94.5%); fiber-cement siding replacement (77.6%); vinyl siding replacement (74.7%); vinyl window replacement (72.3%); wood deck addition (72.1%); wood window replacement (68.9%); steel entry door replacement (68.8%); and composite deck addition (66.8%).

By contrast, an upscale kitchen remodel only recouped 53.9% of costs, while an upscale or midrange bath remodel recaptured around 54%. 

Many of these outdoor projects help to make a strong first impression on buyers and visitors, and there’s nothing like making a good first impression. It’s harder to sell a home that lacks in curb appeal because if a buyer is soured on the house before they set foot in it, the battle turns uphill.

Outdoor Living 

Many of these projects fall into the increasingly popular “outdoor living” category.

Outdoor living is the hottest trend right now, and most buyers are looking for properties with such a space. That’s why adding a deck or patio as an outdoor project is a smart idea. Also, investing in low-maintenance and energy-efficient materials for the rest of your exterior—like new siding and vinyl windows—can save you over the lifetime of the home and improve its look.

Additionally, depending on your home’s price range, updating its exterior with an attractive and functional outdoor project also increases the appeal of your entire neighborhood. Remember that, as your neighbor’s home increases in value, so does yours.

Choose the Right Outdoor Project 

A leaky window leads to higher energy costs and older outdoor windows detract from your home’s appearance.

Another safe money bet is fiber-cement siding. It will last 50 years, won’t require painting or a lot of maintenance, and looks fantastic, which can make a big difference at resale.

Outdoor projects not mentioned in Remodeling’s report, but often talked about by home buyers and owners, include an outdoor kitchen/living area, above-ground pool, and a pool house.


An outdoor living space, complete with outdoor furniture, grill, and a fire pit or fire table, is hot today. It can often cost around $20,000 to start. But you’ll probably see an ROI in the 80 percent or higher range.

Pools, on the other hand, are often viewed as a net-zero improvement, with perhaps only half the value being recouped. Some people love them, but it may turn off others to your home.

A pool house can set you back anywhere from $4,500 to $30,000, with the installation. But the cost recouped on this can be low.

Before committing to any home improvement project, perform the necessary due diligence.

Ask yourself, does it add value in dollars or marketability? Does it preserve what you already have while protecting the value already in place? And is this something the market would broadly accept, or is it a niche product that you would like but most others would not?”