Backyard staging is often overlooked but by using this winning strategy to create backyard zones, you can increase the chances of selling your home. Creating separate zones can help potential buyers envision living there.
WHY SEPARATE YOUR BACKYARD INTO “ZONES”
Think of all the different ways you use your backyard – especially during the summer. You barbecue and eat outside, you lounge around while entertaining, and of course your kids use the backyard space for all their fun and playing too. Why not show potential buyers how enjoyable your backyard is?
Instead of just leaving your backyard like a blank canvas before viewings, you can use these simple staging tips to create visual zones that give potential buyers a sense of what’s possible on your property. The following are 5 suggested backyard zones you can create that are inexpensive and will truly create a positive impression.
You can find more information on home staging by visiting our home sellers page for details on Preparing Your Home For The Real Estate Market.
Backyard Staging Zones
- A cooking, barbecue, outdoor kitchen zone
- A dining zone
- A casual seating, campfire, or gathering zone
- Kids zone with toys, sandbox, playground etc.
- Adult game zone (horseshoes, cornhole, bocce ball)
Even if you have a smaller backyard, it can still be staged into 2 or 3 of the above zones. Read on.
Setting up the Backyard Zones
THE OUTDOOR COOKING ZONE:
Like most Canadians, when the warmer weather hits, we like to fire up the barbecue and enjoy some hamburgers and steaks! Yes, some houses do have an entire outdoor kitchen with prep space, refrigerator and cooking surfaces, but you’ don’t need to have all that to impress your buyers.
Generally, having the barbecue close to the house is convenient so you can run inside and grab needed ingredients. But if you don’t have a full deck or patio, don’t just set your barbecue on the lawn. Not only can this burn your grass, but it can also become an obstacle for the lawn mower.
Instead, pick up 2-3 concrete patio stones – you can often find them used and readily available on Kijiji. You can also pick a few up at a home improvement store. From there place the patio stones down in a convenient location and place the barbecue on top of them. Remember not to place it too close to the house, especially if your house has vinyl siding. A hot barbecue will melt and warp any vinyl siding or shutters long after you’re done cooking.
If you add a few more patio stones you could set up an additional table or rolling cooler next to your cooking area for additional prep space. It doesn’t have to be huge – but consider the location in case you’ve got to run inside and grab some more of that special barbecue sauce.
PRO TIP: Don’t just put your barbecue in the grass.
THE DINING ZONE:
Have you ever noticed when you entertain at your home, people tend to gravitate towards the kitchen? When dining outside, people will tend to mingle around the cooking and dining areas too! A welcoming dining area is a great place to have an outdoor chat with family and friends over a good meal. Buyers love seeing outdoor staged spaces, so they can imagine having their own summer parties in this space too!
Dining al fresco can be so simple!
If you’ve already got a deck or patio, choose one area for your dining space. A patio table or even a wooden picnic table can be dressed up for entertaining with a simple table cloth and some cute outdoor dishes. You can separate this dining space with some plants in urns in the corners, or if you have one, use a pergola or gazebo to add that cozy feel.
Feeling even more creative? Strings of lights hung above the dining space can create a “virtual ceiling” and add a warm ambience to a quiet night. You can even create a very appealing zone by simply running lights across the yard from the house to a backyard fence for example.
PRO TIP: if you have evening showings, turn these lights in order to give that warm ambience to the yard.
THE RELAXATION & ENTERTAINMENT ZONE:
Some people opt-in to having a separate area in their backyard for relaxing and just hanging out. Adding a campfire pit is an amazing way to encourage your guests to gather, but even just an area with chairs and side tables can be a great place for conversations too.
Start by creating a circle
Fire-pits and fire tables are always a great place to hang out with friends because we naturally sit in a circle; everyone can see each other and memories are made. But even without a fire-pit, chairs sitting across from each other invite guests to relax. You may wish to stage this area with a few chairs and an outdoor coffee table for those late night glasses of wine.
Lighting also plays a role in inviting guests to relax. Simple solar lights in the garden can create pathways to this seating area, and add a little sparkle to the flower beds. Tiki torches – when used safely – can keep bugs at bay and so can lemongrass or citronella plants. Your relaxation zone can truly be outlined with simple lights creating a cozy space that is separate from the rest of the yard.
THE KIDS PLAY ZONE:
No one uses a backyard quite like kids do. If they have a play area, swing set or even a sandbox, kids love the freedom to play in the grass and enjoy the sunshine. And while they will definitely spread out and use the entire backyard, having a dedicated kid zone – for the storage of toys and games – is a great way to stage your backyard for potential buyers.
Get creative with storage and accessories
A smaller table with kids’ chairs is a great spot to do crafts and have their own dining space. Children will naturally flock to this spot for quieter activities. You could stage this spot with a simple kids tent, and tuck toys away neatly into waterproof bins. Remember to keep a lid on the sandbox because they attract neighbourhood cats. And during showings, just make sure this area is tidied up so buyers aren’t jumping over action figures in the grass.
REMEMBER GROWN-UPS LIKE TO PLAY TOO
No kids? No problem! Adults love a good game of horseshoes, bocce ball or cornhole. You can really add some visual interest with your backyard staging if you show a nice level spot to play games with your friends. One amazing benefit of backyard staging is that it really shows buyers that the backyard really has good value and that it adds an entire outdoor recreation space that they may not have imagined.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT TIDY
No matter which zones you choose to use in your backyard, when it comes to staging, the same principle always stands: keep it simple.
If you don’t have a green thumb, opt for pre-potted plants from your local nursery. Keep your lawn cut and remove any large weeds or overgrown areas. Pick up dog droppings in the grass, neatly coil up garden hoses and make sure everything is in its place before you have buyer showings.
You want to feature this outdoor space as an extension of your indoor space. It really can give buyers the feeling of additional, usable square footage. And that means added value.
Get creative. Don’t just sell them a patch of grass – sell them on all the things that can be done in this outdoor space, and you’ll be impressing buyers all the way until the SOLD sign is placed on your yard.