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April 21, 2021 | home-renovations

How Much Do Backyard Renovations Cost?

Katie Duncan

Finance Writer

Backyards are the new gathering place of the American home. Outdoor spaces have so much potential, with the ability to build, improve, and plant in an open space. With a little elbow grease and imagination, it’s a place that can be radically transformed. Whether you want a relaxing oasis or a place to host friends and family, a backyard renovation can be your ticket to a paradise that is your own.

Don’t let the cost of backyard renovations hold you back. Renovations will cost some money upfront, but you’re ultimately improving your living space for the long term. Many people are improving, upgrading, and reinvigorating the spaces they already know and love. Your renovation may also add value to your home, depending on what the project involves! There are projects for every budget and even financing options available. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve broken down some major considerations that go into the cost of popular backyard renovation projects.

Factors that Influence Backyard Project Costs

There are a lot of different factors that can influence your costs— no matter the project or size. Here are some basic considerations to start with:

  • Current condition of your backyard: Is your existing backyard in poor shape? If so, it may take more work to get it in good condition. Poor soil and drainage, steep slopes, or trees that need to be removed should be taken care of before work begins.
  • Size of your backyard: Prices for backyard projects can sometimes be calculated by the square foot. If you have more space to fill up with landscape design, seating, and amenities, your final bill may be higher than someone with less room to work with.
  • DIY vs. contractors: If you’re going to need to hire a contractor to complete the project, expect to pay more than you would for a DIY project. The cost of labor is a major factor in renovation projects. The cost might be higher—but the added value to your home could be higher, too.
  • Quality of parts: How long do you want the renovation to last? Investing in quality materials may cost you more upfront, but you’ll be rewarded with a backyard oasis that entertains for decades to come, not for just a few years.
The overall goal of a backyard renovation: to improve your living space!

Though these projects can involve high upfront costs, it’s important to remember the overall goal of a backyard renovation: to improve your living space! The bonus? You might also be adding value to your home.

Backyard Renovation Costs and Ideas

The sky's the limit when it comes to backyard possibilities. Here are some of the most popular backyard project ideas.

Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

If you have the room, there’s nothing quite like a swimming pool to make your backyard a warm-weather hangout. Pools nowadays are built to bring a touch of luxury into any backyard and can include features like:

  • Tanning shelves
  • Incorporated water or fire features
  • LED lighting
  • Unique mosaic finishes

If you want to get even more out of your new pool area, consider adding a relaxing hot tub or jacuzzi.

Average pool installation costs: According to HomeAdvisor, the cost for an in-ground pool installation ranges between $35,000 and $100,000. In-ground vinyl pools are the cheapest option, while concrete and gunite pools are amongst the most expensive options.

Outdoor Kitchens and Cabanas

With today’s modern outdoor kitchen facilities, anything that you can do inside, you can do outside. Smokers, ovens, grills, stoves, refrigerators, sinks— they have all been specially designed to go outdoors. Entertaining is much easier when you can mingle with the guests while doing the food preparation, eliminating the need to go in and out of the house.

Average outdoor kitchen costs: Outdoor kitchens are very customizable, but, on average, cost between $5,500 and $22,000. If you’re looking for a luxury cabana, including lavish finishes, outdoor showers, and other amenities, you might pay closer to $100,000.

Outdoor Living Areas

More and more people are bringing the living room outside with large-screen televisions and comfy outdoor furniture seating arrangements. These are great for big game events and hosting movie nights under the stars.

Average outdoor living area costs: The typical cost range of a basic outdoor living area transformation is between $4,150 and $11,200. Additional features like fire pits add to this cost.

Pergolas and Gazebos

In warmer climates like Texas, the summer sun sends people running for shade. If your backyard lacks trees, a pergola or gazebo is a great way to create a shady refuge. These structures come as pre-built structures but can also be custom-built to fit your specific needs.

Average pergola and gazebo cost: Most homeowners end up paying between $3,400 and $9,550 for the materials and installation of a gazebo or pergola.

Exterior Home Offices

With more and more people working remotely from home, the need for work-life separation has become more apparent. Exterior home offices are a great option for those looking to create a space that is separate from their living area.

These small, self-contained structures can serve as more than an office, too. They can be a hobby house, creative retreat, or even a secondary residence for guests. This kind of versatility can make your home more saleable should you decide to move.

Some people choose to DIY this project by buying a pre-built shed, insulating it, and creating a simple interior. Custom-built guest houses give you more flexibility with design and use. Before you build a new structure, make sure you check with city and county zoning laws.

Average exterior home office costs: The average cost to construct a custom building ranges between $45,000 and $100,000.

Gardens and Greenhouses

As more people make an effort toward living sustainably, gardens and greenhouses are growing in popularity. Gardens are a quick way to turn a backyard into a beautiful space that provides you with delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Greenhouses can protect your garden year-round, providing shelter and warmth for your plants in the colder months.

Average garden and greenhouse cost: Gardens can be easily DIYed and cost around $250 for supplies and plants. Add in a greenhouse for year-round growing, and you can spend anywhere between $5,000 to $25,300.

How to Pay for Your Backyard Renovations

If you don’t have enough cash stashed away in your reserves to cover the cost of your dream outdoor project, you have other options. As a homeowner, you might qualify for a loan product like a:

  • Home equity loan
  • Home equity line of credit
  • Home improvement loan

All of these are good options for folks looking to make improvements to their home, including creating your dream backyard.

Renovate Your Backyard

It’s never too late to transform a bland backyard into an amazing living space. Imagine how you and your family might use the extra room—or the dinner parties you might have with your friends. Rather than an unused corner of your property, your backyard could become an extension of your home. Remember that you have options when it comes to financing your home improvement projects. The possibilities are endless!

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