Written by Amalie Drury
Everyone loves the idea of indoor-outdoor living, even in climates where it’s only possible a few months out of the year. And when you’re selling a home, staging your outdoor space can be an important way to show off one of your home’s best features while attracting prospective buyers.
Whether your property has a sweeping lawn or a small city balcony, here’s how you can help buyers envision themselves happily hosting an al fresco dinner party, passing breezy summer afternoons on the porch or sipping a glass of wine under the stars—making your home their own.
Today’s homebuyers want to be able to use their patios, yards and porches like extensions of their living and dining rooms. Show them how it can be done in your home by arranging comfortable, clean-lined outdoor furniture in both lounge and dining settings on your home’s patio. Make an outdoor sofa or sectional the star of the lounge area, and add an outdoor coffee table and side tables to make the space look even more functional. Use an outdoor rug and a few planters or large lanterns to create room-like definition for the space.
Outdoor rugs also work well under dining tables to add a sense of indoor comfort and texture, and a patio umbrella over the dining table gives the space a fun, festive look. For private showings and open houses, consider leaving a cold pitcher of lemonade and a (covered) plate of treats to tempt buyers to linger and take in the feel of the space.
If you’re working with a small space such as a balcony, use a bistro table and chairs to invite buyers to imagine sunny, intimate breakfasts outdoors or unwinding at the end of the day with a cocktail hour for two. A small woven rug or runner can also make the area feel more inviting and special. On a porch, a pair of low lounge chairs with cushions and brightly patterned pillows looks like the perfect spot for watching the world go by. And as with staging the interior of your home, consider placing simple bouquets of fresh flowers on tables for an extra bit of cheer.
Fire Pit, Grill and Lights
If the home you’re selling doesn’t have a built-in fire pit, you can purchase a metal one, add some attractive logs and arrange a welcoming grouping of chairs around it on your patio. If you have a nice grill, by all means, shine it up and make it part of your outdoor staging so buyers can imagine themselves hosting a family cookout or holiday weekend barbecue. Consider hooking a new pair of tongs and an oven mitt on the side of the grill for a touch of realism.
Year-round string lights have become a popular way to make outdoor spaces large and small look festive after sunset, and if you really want to play up your outdoor space as a selling point, consider hanging the lights and asking your photographer to come back and take a few photos at dusk, before it’s truly dark outside. As long as you’re at it, light a few candles on your tables.
Flowers and Landscaping
In the right season, flowers are a foolproof way to improve the look of your outdoor space. The goal should be lush and vibrant, not overgrown or out of control. If you have bare spots in your flower beds, ask an employee at your local garden center for easy-care blooms that will add color and interest for several months. To create a more welcoming vibe on your porch or patio, scatter some clean, neutral pots and planters of various heights filled with pretty but hardy plants—the last thing you want to have to do is replace them if they die before you sell.
It’s important to keep your outdoor space ship-shape throughout the selling process, from the day your listing photos are taken until the day you close on the sale. After all, you never know who’s driving by—or even if your first contract will make it to closing. Be sure the grass is neatly mowed and any weeds along the walkways or on the patio are kept in check. Trim the bushes, neatly store away hoses, and add a layer of fresh mulch to your landscaping wherever it looks dried out or faded. Remove anything that adds clutter: old rain bins, plastic storage containers, toys. Rinse and sweep your porch, walkways and patio regularly, knock down cobwebs, check for errant pieces of litter and pick dead blooms off your flowers. If your doormats are looking a little worse for the wear, update with fresh ones.
Make your home’s outdoor space look tidy, comfortable and lovingly cared for, and buyers will be more motivated to make an offer and start enjoying it right away.