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DIY

Landscaping Your Rental On A Budget

Image Courtesy of Felix Mittermeier

The kitchen and bath may entice your potential tenants, but offering a beautiful, inviting outdoor space can be the tipping point for a place they’ll want to call home. The cost of beautifying a property varies greatly depending on the scope of the job and materials used. Since your rental property is a source of income, any expense must justify itself with a return on its investment — resist the urge to over-decorate. If you’re working with a limited budget, there are inexpensive landscaping design concepts to make the area more attractive.

Declutter the yard

Costing you not much more than your time, this is one of the easiest and cheapest way to spruce up your yard. Merely pulling some weeds and removing any dead or overgrown vegetation can freshen up the yard’s look. This may be all you need, but if you decide some landscaping is in order, you’ll have a clean palette to work with.

Outdoor Lighting

On a warm, sunny summer’s day, the outdoor area may look fine, but after sunset, it may lose some its charm. To experience what your tenants will encounter while enjoying a starlit nightcap, stop by the property in the evening and see for yourself. Is it inviting and attractive or boring and unfriendly? Landscaping lighting fixtures not only bring a dramatic look to the yard, but they can also double as an added security measure. There are several options that can brighten a drab looking space. For the garden, spiked lights can illuminate boundaries and walking areas, while providing a pleasant accent. Depending on your budget, spiked lighting can be hard-wired, battery-operated or solar powered. Another inexpensive alternative is tiki lights or string lighting with a timer or photosensitive switch. Easy to install, they can be strung through trees, from eaves or over patios or decks to highlight the space while providing a warm glow.

Paving Stones

If the outdoor area is small and/or receives limited sunlight, trying to maintain a lush lawn will become an effort in futility. Installing stone pavers will eliminate any dry or muddy dirt patches, instead turning it into an appealing useable patio area. After properly leveling the pieces and filling in the cracks, you’ve got yourself a multi-season functional outdoor space.

Flower Boxes

Flowers brighten even the most boring spaces by adding color and vibrancy, but unless you want to spend your time gardening, they aren’t always the best choice for a DIY landlord. If you insist on flowers for the yard, but don’t want the maintenance headache, incorporate flower boxes into your design. They are cheaper and require much less work than traditional flower beds — virtually eliminating the need for weeding. You can use old care tires or recycled wood for rustic DIY feel. For a bit more pizzazz, paint the rubber or wood frames to add color to your outdoor space.

Ornamental Grasses and Evergreen Foliage

Perennial ornamental grasses are versatile and incredibly inexpensive as compared to other flowers, trees or shrubs. Ornamental grass is super low maintenance, while adding lots of color and texture. Evergreen vegetation, such as small trees, bushes or shrubs add a dynamic that most tenants will enjoy. They require very little maintenance while producing a warm, plush setting with just an occasional trimming. Though most grasses and evergreen plants will thrive from direct sunlight, most will do just fine in partial shade. Plant or pot them near the patio, along walkways or fence lines for privacy.

Disregarding the outdoors can cost you with fewer walk-throughs and potentially excellent renters. Even if your property is a drab, concrete jungle, there are inexpensive, low-maintenance landscaping ideas to add color and character to the yard. Potential tenants might love the kitchen, but if the outdoor space looks like an abandoned graveyard, many will consider alternative properties. Renters shop on emotion, so if the space makes them “feel good,” that might be all you need to snag yourself a long-term tenant.