By Paul Ryan

Rarely has outdoor living space been so important and appealing. After being cooped up in the house due to COVID-19, today’s homebuyer wants to be able to escape to the backyard. A properly staged outdoor living space in Houston can help seal a sales deal.

Preparing your home for sale is more than cleaning out a closet or sticking a sign in the front yard. Since buyers  begin their search by checking out properties on the internet, staging each setting and taking professional photos is crucial.

Check out these five tips for staging your outdoor living space.


1. First Glance

After viewing photos on the internet, buyers catch their first real glance of the property as soon as they reach the curb.

Trimmed lawns, flowerbeds, pruned trees and bushes, and clean walkways tell people you haven’t neglected your home. Showcase all hurricane-resistant landscaping and native Houston greenery like yaupon holly and Mexican plum. A clean yard, sculpted landscaping, and a piece of outdoor paraphernalia (like a Houston Astros flag) shows your home has been taken care of. This will also help with curb appeal!


2. Outdoor House Projects

Before putting the house on the market, make a list of easy DIY projects:

  • Clean the yard
  • Replace or fix torn screens and broken windows
  • Paint or stain trim, doors, handrails, shutters, and window boxes
  • Power wash the driveway, patio, walkways, and fences. Wash the windows too
  • Buy new house numbering
  • Trim trees away from windows
  • Install new light fixtures with energy-saving LED bulbs

Pro Tip: Ideally, lightbulbs should be ‘LED Soft White’ and the same throughout the home for professional photography


3. Declutter

Buyers understand that most homes are occupied until the home is sold , but the home should be free of clutter and cleaned to showcase the home in its best light . Removing clutter from the inside and outside allows the potential buyer to envision the home with their own belongings . To reduce outdoor clutter, try storing lawn equipment in a shed or in the garage, put children’s toys away, and keep trash and recyclables in their appropriate bins.


4. Backyard Living

It does get a bit warm in summer, but Houston has comfortable outdoor temperatures in winter, spring, and fall. Show off great backyard living with an outdoor kitchen and ample shaded areas. A pergola or gazebo is a huge selling point in the summer, as is a fire pit in the winter.  An attached (or detached) wooden deck is a nice place for sunbathing, grilling, and entertaining.

Fencing is a must for young buyers with children and pets. Security and solar lighting portray the house as well-protected. As for entertainment, adding a pool can also help add value to the home. In 2019, swimming pools added an estimated $36,000 to the home’s overall value according to the Houston Chronicle

The hot summers of Houston are perfect for xeriscaping (landscaping that needs little or no water). While we worry about our outdoor spaces during hurricane season, it doesn’t take much for Houston to return to drought conditions. Desert plants such as cactus and aloe and drought-tolerant plants like pink muhly grass, firebush, and esperanza don’t need much care, and they can withstand those hundred-degree-plus temperatures. You can also place variously-sized rocks among the greenery to help keep moisture in the ground.


5. Peace and Serenity

A thriving garden is one way to show off a peaceful suburban existence. Houston’s native flowers add color to those home photos. They also bring pollinating birds, butterflies, and bees to the yard. Fill a flower garden or deck containers with Texas lantana, autumn sage, black-eyed Susan, and purple coneflowers. Place a birdbath nearby and hang a suncatcher.

Vegetable gardens also show off the homey attractions of your property. Check out Houston’s planting calendar to determine what grows best and when to harvest. Be sure to take lots of pictures! Schedule open houses and home visits when the garden is near ready to harvest. 

Whether you hire a professional or stage the house yourself, showing the property in its best light will bring the best price. All the world’s a stage, and it starts with your Houston yard!


Paul Ryan is an aspiring novelist who supports his hobby with his investment properties. He owns three homes in Texas, which he maintains himself and rents out. His biggest pet peeve? Tenants who don’t mow the lawn regularly.