Curb appeal is critical. As Jody Stein Davis, Realtor with The Mountain Girls at Keller Williams Realty, says, “Curb appeal is HUGE in order to get buyers out of their car and inside. The wrong first impression can tank a sale.”
But sometimes you have to go beyond curb appeal. Flowers and shrubs are great, but the accessories you buy for the yard tell a story. They create a vision that prospective buyers fall in love with. Buyers will imagine themselves entertaining friends on summer nights underneath the twinkle of bistro lights, or curled up with a hot toddy and a blanket around the fire pit in the fall. They’ll dream of tending to their vegetable garden, snipping flowers from the window boxes, and learning the ins and outs of filler, spiller, and thriller as they ready their planters each season.
And this is all before they get inside.
These recommendations don’t just look nice — they’re selling a lifestyle. That’s why these are the seven accessories you should always buy for your yard according to real estate pros.
Even if most people will see your home during the day, there’s something about bistro lights they can’t resist. Josie Rees, a Realtor with eXp Realty, says, “In the backyard, bistro lights can spark visions of entertaining family and friends for any occasion.” It’s that allure of the twinkly lights — strung up like they’re in a European cafe, they immediately get buyers imagining a warm, romantic spring night with a chilled rosé. Who wouldn’t want to call this place home?
Is there anything more charming than a home with window boxes? The answer is decidedly no, so, of course, they’re a worthy addition to your yard. If you’re worried about the maintenance, don’t fret. “It may be difficult in colder months to maintain fresh flowers but luckily, Amazon has some realistic faux flowers that have helped my past sellers in a pinch,” says Rees.
Tricia Gray Hendricks, with Long & Foster in Cape May, New Jersey, recommends showing off landscaping potential not only with flowers, but also an herb or vegetable garden in a quadrant in the backyard. Consider a tidy raised bed to get green-thumbed buyers dreaming of all the tomatoes and lettuce they’re going to grow as soon as they make your house their home.
If you haven’t put a lot of time into your yard or you’re dealing with a blank canvas, Hendricks says a quick fix could be as simple as bringing in a few classic Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. “Buyers like to be able to imagine or see themselves enjoying the outside as an extension of indoor living,” she says. Plus, idyllic, timeless Adirondack chairs are one of those furniture styles that will appeal to almost any buyer. (P.S. A fire pit that is part of a more permanent structure could bring in a 500 percent ROI!)
Don’t lose a prospective buyer simply because your ratty doormat is tracking in loose coir fibers behind you. “A fresh doormat sets a good tone before they even step inside,” Davis says. Opt for a simple selection rather than cheeky (though I know there are so many good ones out there!).
To add both a sculptural and floral punch, look to planters that go beyond the basic terracotta pot. “If you have a smaller house, then just one near the door would be sufficient, if larger, then go for two flanking the doorway,” recommends Davis. Add seasonal flowers to grab buyers’ attention and get them thinking about next year when they’ll fill the planters with the florals of their choice.
Davis adds, “Be careful about size so they add to the appeal and do not detract from the doorway itself and/or the ability to get in without being hit in the face by a plant!”
Though not necessarily an accessory, Washington, D.C. area Realtor Maureen Weaver says no house should hit the market without this one easy and inexpensive purchase: fresh mulch. It’s a quick way to make the entire yard feel like it was just landscaped yesterday. Plus, a bag of mulch will only run you a few bucks.