7 Awesome Backyard Upgrades That Will Totally Make Your Summer

an outdoor living area under a pergola with strung lights, curtains, couches, and seats

Summer is right around the bend, but is your home ready? We’ve already dug into the ins and outs of gardening for curb appeal, so now might be the time to show your backyard some TLC. Here’s seven backyard improvements that add value to your home and enjoyment to your life.

#1 – Make a place to chill – a deck or patio

a wooden deck with two white sunning chairs, attached to a home with sliding glass doors
A deck automatically upgrades your outdoor space.

You might be struggling with how to design your backyard, but the best backyards have “areas.” Start your backyard redesign by giving yourself a seating area to relax. A deck or patio provides a great place to enjoy the wonderful outdoor weather that summer delivers. Plus, if you ever decide to re-sell your home, deck additions see an average of 67-72% return on investment, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value 2020 report.

#2 – Create an outdoor living space

a furnished deck with an outdoor couch, chairs, and a fire pit table in the middle
Make the most of your outdoor space.

Now that you have a deck or patio, it’s time to furnish it. Depending upon the patio furniture you choose, you can enjoy a lovely dinner under the stars with a bench and table set, or pop open a beer and relax in a lounger. If you want an outdoor living “room,” then choose a sofa, chairs, and a coffee table. Some patio sets also offer unique pieces like an “outdoor propane burning fire table,” which looks absolutely enchanting during twilight.

#3 – Lay a stone pathway through your backyard

a stone path set in grass leads to your outdoor living space
Lay a path to your outdoor sanctuary.

A stone pathway from your patio or deck to a new dining area adds a bit of charm and texture to your landscape. There’s no storage of designs, ranging from rustic natural stone to mosaic stones to brick and gravel. This is one of the harder backyard improvements that add value, so choose the type that best fits your style and level of DIY home improvement skill.

#4 – Add a gateway into your backyard

a white arbor over a walkway into a garden, covered with pink flowers and surrounded by shrubs
Welcome guests to your backyard with an arbor.

By placing arbors at the entrance to your backyard, you essentially transport guests to a summer sanctuary. Consider decorating the arbors with your favorite flowers or vines to give it a personal touch. If you’re looking to create some privacy, add a few trellises. These are one of the best cheap backyard landscaping ideas, separating your yard from your neighbor’s or preventing noise pollution from disturbing your relaxation.

#5 – Throw a little shade

wooden arbors covered with thick vines and orange flowers that create shade
Pergolas give you a break from the summer sun.

Pergolas serve so many purposes in a backyard – carving out a distinctive area, affording privacy, and providing shade from the summer heat. Plus, they are elegant in a well-maintained landscape with lovely vines and climbing flowers. But we really love pergolas because they are one of the best backyard improvements that add value to your home!

#6 – Light up your backyard

string lights in the backyard strung across the space between the house and a deck
Enjoy a charming evening, lit by string lights.

Installing patio string lights is one of the best diy projects. It’s an easy addition to your backyard and one of the most enjoyable. Stringing lights across your pergola, fence, and/or trees can help to create a living area you can enjoy after the sun goes down and a backyard your neighbors will adore. It’s also one of the best backyard ideas on a budget with outdoor, waterproof string lights available for as little as $29.

#7 – Add a few appliances to your backyard

a chef grills meat and orange vegetables on an outdoor grill
Is a backyard complete without a barbecue?

Invigorate your patio with a few appliance upgrades. Add a grill for those quintessential backyard BBQs. (Grill responsibly!) If you have a bit more money to spare, then consider upgrading to a backyard kitchen under your pergola.

Perhaps the best (and easiest) addition is a fire pit. Not only will this let you roast marshmallows during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, but when the hot weather starts to fade, the warmth of the fire will take you into the fall. Plus, this is one of the easiest backyard improvements that add value to your home!

What? No pool?

an in-ground swimming pool with a water jet
Swimming pools offer relaxation but also danger.

We love swimming pools as much as the next homeowner, but it’s important to know the tremendous responsibility that comes with owning a pool. According to, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional deaths in children ages 1-4, so when deciding to build a pool in your backyard, discuss the safeguards you need to implement once it’s built.

You should also take into account that pools don’t always add value to your property. Depending on your location and weather, adding a pool can actually lower the value and deter buyers from putting in an offer.

Should you hire a professional landscape designer?

a wheelbarrow filled with debris
Call the pros to update your yard.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that you may want to connect with a landscape designer. Whether you are looking to make the most of your yard or thinking about prompting potential buyers to make an offer, a professionally designed backyard will help make all your backyard dreams come true.

Get your home ready for summer

two cell phones in front of an affluent blue home with the vipHomeLink dashboard up on the screen
Download vipHomeLink today!

Here at vipHomeLink, our interactive app helps you to keep track of home maintenance tasks and provides tailored recommendations for home improvement projects. Whether you’re looking to complete easy diy projects or invest in a professionally designed outdoor dining area, we’ll help to inspire you and guide you. Plus, our Home Fitness Index tells you how “in shape” your home is and gives you the information you need to maintain it.

Download the vipHomeLink home management app today from Google Play or the App Store.

Originally published May 27, 2020; updated April 29, 2022

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