Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features

This report takes a deep dive into why homeowners complete outdoor remodeling projects, the value of taking on lawn and landscape upgrades and enhancements, and the increased happiness experienced by homeowners once an upgrade is completed. It also explores the benefits associated with landscape enhancements to commercial property. The report covers the following:

  • The typical cost of 11 outdoor residential projects as estimated by members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The costs were calculated by averaging the responses from the anonymous survey data.
  • How much REALTORS® estimate homeowners can recover on the cost of the outdoor residential projects if they choose to sell the home and the share who recommended these upgrades before selling.
  • The experience consumers had after taking on each of the 11 projects and their Joy Score with the finished project.
Bar graph: Joy score for outdoor remodeling projects

Curb appeal plays a significant role in tackling any outdoor project. Among REALTORS®, 92% have suggested sellers improve their curb appeal before listing a home for sale. When working with a residential seller, 97% of NAR members believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer (75% very important, 22% somewhat important). Ninety-eight percent believe curb appeal is important to a potential buyer (63% very important, 34% somewhat important).

Among NALP members, 92% found a greater demand for contracting in remodeling work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 79% of NALP members cited the scope of the project increased in size since before the pandemic.

While most consumers (88%) cite they would have taken on the outdoor project regardless of the pandemic, 84% of consumers reported that after undertaking this exterior project, it made them want to remodel other areas of their home or yard.

When consumers remodel, it is to add features and improve livability (35%), to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials (24%), and because it is time for a change (18%). Most consumers are satisfied with the overall result, and 66% would tackle the project the same way, while 28% would make a few different choices, such as finishes or materials.

After remodeling, 68% of owners have a greater desire to be in their homes. Sixty percent have increased enjoyment in their home. Fifty-two percent feel happy, and 45% feel satisfied when they see their completed project, with a typical Joy Score of 9.7. Sixty-four percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of their completed project.

Thirty-seven percent reported that the single-most- important result was beauty and aesthetics, 29% cited better functionality and livability, and 11% reported durable and long-lasting results and materials.

Forty percent of consumers did the entire project themselves, including labor and purchasing materials. Thirty-seven percent of the owners hired a professional for the whole job, 13% contributed some do-it-yourself (DIY) labor, and 10% hired the labor but purchased the materials.

This report provides a cost recovery estimate for representative outdoor remodeling projects. The actual cost of each remodeling project and cost recovery is influenced by many factors, including project design, quality of materials, location, age and condition of the home, and homeowner preferences.

Bar graph: Cost recovery on outdoor remodeling projects

For the purpose of costs collected, NALP members were told to expect the average size house according to U.S. Census data—a 2,500-square-foot house with a 14,000-square-foot lot—built after 1978 and without hidden issues. To ensure the most applicability, projects and materials represent standard or typical quality; a few projects feature "better-quality" materials. But there are no top-of-the-line projects.

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