Home Improvement Ideas

Improve Rental Value with the Outdoor Upgrades Tenants Want

outdoor upgrades
Written by Shiyamala

First impressions are lasting impressions. It doesn’t matter how many upgrades you have inside of your property if the outside leaves a lot to be desired.

Prospective tenants want to be able to imagine their daily lives in your rental. Creating outdoor spaces where they can relax and entertain friends and family will go a long way to increase your rental value.

Consider these upgrades to increase curb appeal and create an outdoor living space that is sure to attract and retain high value tenants, thereby boosting your bottom line.


When adding landscaping elements to your property, be sure to limit it to what you can realistically maintain. If you are considering more intricate landscaping, you may want to consider hiring a landscaping service to maintain a well-manicured property. Check with your property management company to see if they offer this service.

  • Lawn. It seems obvious, but the first step to achieving curb appeal is making sure that the property is clean of debris, weeds, and any overgrown trees or shrubbery. Plant grass seed in sparse patches and treat any crabgrass. 
  • Plants and trees. Trees should not be planted directly up against your building, cement sidewalks or driveways. Overgrown tree roots can cause significant damage to these areas. When tree roots encroach on your foundation or sewage lines, the results can be costly. 

Roots that burrow under sidewalks and driveways can cause the cement to crack and buckle, causing a safety hazard in addition to pricey repairs. 

When selecting plants, select robust perennials that come back annually without additional cost or planting. Many tenants may enjoy customizing their own gardens. Window boxes, raised garden beds and potted plants can all be great options with a relatively low price tag.

Decks and Patios

The goal with a deck or patio is to create a place where luxury meets leisure. If you choose to install a deck or patio, it’s sure to become the center stage to your outdoor space. 

There are many factors that come into choosing your material. From your initial budget to the aftercare and maintenance, you want to do your homework before taking on the project. 


With a full range of textures, colors and materials to choose from, adding a deck that will last for years, with minimal maintenance is easier than ever.

  • Pressure treated wood. Wood is still the most popular option for decks. Almost 75 percent of all new decks are built with pressure-treated wood. Unlike traditional wooden planks, pressure treated wood has been chemically treated to withstand mold, insects and rot. With a price ranging from $1.50 to about $2.50 per square foot, it’s an attractive and affordable option. 
  • Tropical hardwood. Tropical hardwoods are grainy, hard and durable. They are naturally resistant to issues like insects and rotting without the need for chemical treatment. Tropical hardwood can cost upwards of around $12 per square foot. They don’t accept wood stains very well and you need to keep them treated with a UV-blocking wood preservative every three to four years.
  • Redwood or Cedar. Redwood isn’t readily available, especially in the eastern regions of the country, which is why it typically costs $6-$8 more per square foot. While these woods can provide beautiful natural options, including natural tannins and gorgeous color, they do require annual power washing and a coat of finish two to three years. 


Patios are a cost efficient way of creating a natural aesthetically pleasing space that is also functional for soaking up the afternoon sun, or outdoor gatherings. There are a wide array of materials that can be used to create a great patio space.

  • Concrete. Concrete may be the most affordable way to install a patio. Just like the landscaping, your patio will need to be properly maintained. If you live in a wintry area, you may want to opt for concrete slabs that can easily be replaced if the cold causes cracks or other damage. 

You can stick with plain concrete if you are only interested in the practicality. However, there are many tile and paving stone options that you can place on top of the concrete for a more intricate, decorative look.

  • Gravel. Most people don’t think of gravel when picturing a patio. We often assume a patio has to be a solid and uniform surface but that’s not the case.  Gravel is generally an inexpensive material and relatively simple to install, even if you aren’t the handy type.

Gravel offers exceptional drainage so water won’t pool on the patio. It can also keep weeds from growing into your patio, which means less maintenance for you.

  • Pavement. You may assume that pavement and concrete are the same thing. While concrete can be considered pavement, there are also other pavement options that are not concrete. For example, an asphalt patio is different from concrete. Pavements generally require professional installation and will cost substantially more than the other options listed above. 

Regardless of the material you choose, a patio or deck will be an investment that can be enjoyed by your tenants for years to come. 

Fire Pits

Fire pits are all the rage. Not only do they provide a beautiful centerpiece to your outdoor living space, but create a cozy and inviting atmosphere for friends and family to gather. Before your prospective tenants step foot into your rental, they will already be able to imagine themselves relaxing, sipping wine, roasting hot dogs and making s’mores around a fire with their loved ones. 

Here a few ideas on DIY firepits:

  • Pavers. Pavers are the fastest, easiest and most inexpensive option for installing a fire pit. Retaining wall blocks, sand and pavers will likely cost you less than $75, but the finished product will look polished and professional.
  • Cement Blocks. Cement wall blocks laid in a bed of sand can be a simple and inexpensive way to add a stylish fire pit. With a price tag under $100, this is another great option to update your outdoor area. 
  • Alternatives. If building a fire pit isn’t within your skill set and you aren’t in a position to pay a professional, there are plenty of pre-made options online, including smokeless, gas and table top options. With so many low-cost options, you can spring for the marshmallows when your tenants jump at the chance to sign the lease.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best outdoor upgrades to attract quality tenants is essential to boosting ROI. However, not every upgrade delivers the same back for buck! That’s where a professional property management company can help! Experienced property managers not only understand property investment and ROI, but they know their market and which upgrades to choose to find the best tenants.

Leave a Comment