We’re seeing a trend these days in Denver real estate. Homebuyers want great outdoor spaces, perhaps more than ever. While single family homes in Denver continue to sell at an incredible pace, downtown condos, for example, are struggling – in part because of the lack of outdoor space. The median sales price for downtown condos are down almost 20% from last August (wow!).
So you need a great outdoor space, both for yourself and down the line when you sell. You know that. But like many central Denver neighborhoods, yard space is at a premium in Central Park, if you’re lucky enough to have any space at all. So where do you start? And if you have a smaller yard, how do you max out what you have and get your space looking and functioning like a larger yard?
I dug through some of our recent Focus Real Estate listings and client purchases to give you my very favorite easy and effective backyard tips. After putting together this blog post, I’m already regretting not trying these long ago (ugh … I really want a swing!). So don’t make the same mistake I have!
It’s time for a swing. For real.
You heard that right. Life is too short to not have an adult and kid-friendly swing. Check out a recent listing of ours, 10930 E. 26th Ave. You can’t tell me you don’t want to jump on and start swinging right now. These 3 swings completely change the feel of the side yard.
This porch swing is one the best examples I’ve seen recently of a small addition taking an outdoor space to another level. Add in the chalkboard and sandbox, and I can see myself swinging a summer afternoon away in the shade while the kids play in the sandbox. The seller of 5925 Beeler Street did great job of taking a unique backyard layout and turning it into something special.
Add the right colors ASAP
Check out this backyard in Central Park North. This is a recent Focus listing from Joe Phillips.
When I’m scanning this backyard, the bright orange umbrella and seat cushions, the multi-colored pillows, and the green grass and trees cause my eyes to pause. My eyes settle on each one of these colors as I scan the backyard. Instead of a large swath of brown mulch, or green grass, or patio, the colors break up the yard into smaller bite-sized experiences, which can help make a yard feel bigger.
If you’re stuck in the brown/beige patio furniture world, try adding 3-4 bright outdoor pillows or seat cushions. See if you can grow your yard (psychologically) 5% by just popping some color out there!
Bridge skinny spaces with a deck
One of my favorite successful home projects (there have been many misses as well, trust me) was when we added a small viewing deck to our downtown townhome. There was a skinny, awkward space next to our HVAC unit on the roof. Space was at a premium, so we needed to find a way to use that area. We ended up adding a raised 5′ x 5′ “mini-deck” into the nook. We popped a small table and two barstools onto the deck and voila, we had a downtown viewing platform which ended up being the best part of the townhome.
Check out this home Ashley Parsons Faller’s buyer purchased here in Central Park. I love how the homeowners took a skinny, harder-to-use space between two garages and created something amazing. The deck itself is just big enough for a smaller evening dinner party, an afternoon of online learning with the kids, or Sunday afternoon dinner with the family.
Go outside and find your most awkward yard area. Even if it’s a small space, picture adding a deck or patio. You might surprised!
If you don’t have grass, add green elsewhere – even vertically
“I’m impressed with how lush and green this backyard is here in the neighborhood,” Kailee Ackerman at Focus told me, and she’s right. What a lovely way of taking a more typical patio area with no green and turning it into something special.
If yard space is at a premium, maybe you don’t want to throw down a few strips of turf to ensure you have a splash of green. Between a sprinkler system, regularly mowing, water, and so on, it doesn’t always make sense to add turf (though I love artificial turf, which helps with a few of these issues). Instead see if you can go vertical.
And you don’t necessarily have to go super high to go vertical. Check out this cool backyard from a listing by Amy Atkinson. The homeowner didn’t go vertical – as in 10 feet up. Instead, these wispy grass plants pop this cool backyard with tons of green by going up 3 vertical feet.
De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter (in other words, it’s all got to go!)
This is both a listing tip, as well as a feng shui tip. Especially if you have a smaller yard, take a long look at what you’re storing in and around the yard. If your yard has patio chairs, old flower pots, multiple hoses, kids’ toys, and more (like mine)? It’s got to go, especially if you’re thinking about selling your home!
Treat your yard like you would one of your rooms. If you’re pondering whether something should be outside, take it away. Shoot for no more than 1-2 miscellaneous objects that are sitting on the ground other than your furniture. For example, in the picture above I’d recommend that the flower pots, lawnmower, and storage unit all go into the garage.
My quick tip on how to de-clutter? Take EVERYTHING you possibly can out of the yard. Empty it. Then pause on what you really need, and if you must, take the affirmative step of re-placing the item.
So there you have it, friends! Also be sure to check out Top 10 hottest home design features right now – from Northfield to Eastbridge and everywhere in between if you’d like to some more ideas about how to make your Central Park home stand out.