How to increase your property's ROI with an outdoor room

By Carson Arthur
Let’s face it, when people think about investing in their property, they don’t often think about landscaping. Dollars are spent on bathrooms instead of backyards, and outdoor space can get ignored to the detriment of the owners.

I can’t say this enough… Don’t underestimate the impact of an ‘outdoor room’ on your property’s ROI. Creating a beautiful, usable space not only gives your property curb appeal, it also extends the square footage and living space of your home, a top motivator for buyers.

In recent years, we have seen more and more Canadians spending money on their backyards, especially with all the new technologies in outdoor appliances that allow us to design exterior spaces that look more like an extension of our living rooms.

Here are my top three tips for building an outdoor room to increase your property’s ROI:

1. Useable space. Creating a level surface in your backyard, whether it’s building a deck or a pergola, is probably the single most important factor for an outdoor room – and the numbers prove it.
According to Renovation Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value report, adding a wood deck to your backyard is one of the top smart investments in your home with a return of more than 80 per cent. Pair that with Century 21’s 2013 report that showed a wood deck can increase the perceived value of your home by 10 per cent, and you have a guideline of how much you can spend and how much you can expect to get back.

2. Materials. When building your outdoor room, using the right material is key. You want to use products that will last, that are cost-effective, and that will hold their value the longest.
Personally, I have been using MicroPro Sienna, an environmentally friendly pressure-treated wood that is perfect for outdoor projects. Easy-to-use and cost-effective, Sienna’s rich brown hue gives a gorgeous aesthetic that doesn’t require staining year after year, making this a simple choice for most homeowners.

3. Privacy. Creating privacy for an outdoor room is harder than ever with bigger homes being built on smaller lots. Don’t rely on the fence on the property line and the tree at the back to do the work.
Adding panels and details around the sides of your room work like walls by creating visual distractions. They work for privacy, but you can make them functional as well, incorporating built-in benches and shelves.
Every renovation we make to our homes not only has to meet our needs as homeowners, it should also increase the home’s value. This idea of return-on-investment has arguably become the most important factor influencing how we spend our renovation budgets.

If you can create a home that works for your current needs and, at the same time, know that it’s the type of home a future buyer wants: then it’s a win-win in my books!

Carson Arthur is a landscape design expert and host of TV programs such as 'Green Force' and 'Room to Grow.' He can be reached at

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