5 unique backyard renovation ideas to wow your home buyers


1) Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces

Who doesn’t like the crackle of a warm fire and the company of friends on a cool summer night? Outside fire pits or fireplaces are extremely popular additions for people who enjoy outdoor living and see the garden primarily as a social space—and they aren’t hard to install either.

They can fit into large or small gardens, either providing a centrepiece for a patio or supplying some comfy atmosphere for a separated seating area. For extra points, think about also planting some lemon thyme, lavender, basil, lemongrass or rosemary bushes in the same area.

This is a great way to seperate the space out from the rest of the garden, but these plants also double as powerful insect repellants. Nobody likes to socialise while they’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes, after all, and any potential buyer you have is sure to appreciate the forethought; not to mention it provides easy access to a variety of kitchen herbs for any over-the-fire cookups and BBQs.

Ideal for: Young couples, professionals.

2) Foldaway wooden picnic table

In smaller backyards, every addition or change you make has an even greater impact. Add too much, and you take away valuable space; add too little, and the garden becomes something hardly worth mentioning.

That’s why many people turn to multi-use garden furniture.

One particularly popular example is a foldaway picnic table. These help save on space while still providing handy outdoor seating for when guests come over. Alternatively, for the more practically minded, a hollow garden bench can be used as seating as well as storage for garden tools.

Ideal for: Young couples, professionals, retirees, any home with a small garden.

3) Garden retreats

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. Garden retreats offer that escape. Pergolas or open-sided sheds are a popular way of introducing a little private space even within the open areas of a garden.

You will need a fair bit of space to have one of these built, but they can completely redefine your garden should you choose to have one installed. Make the most of it and show it off to your buyers by staging it with blankets, pillows, long benches and heaters: the word is “comfort”.

And don’t be afraid to “culture” the retreat with some twisting vines and flowers on the inside. It’s still a garden feature, after all.

Ideal for: Families with young children, older couples.

4) Go native

Not every family has a keen gardener in their ranks, and many that do are simply too busy to take the time to capitalise on their green thumb.

That’s why it’s wise to invest in native plants, including grasses, shrubs and small trees. They’ll already be adapted to the New Zealand climate, and most NZ plants are already startlingly hardy and low maintenance.

If you’re stuck on your choice, the New Zealand government provides a useful guide that outlines the pros and cons of common native plants.

Ideal for: Busy families, professionals, retirees.

5) No-dig garden beds and vertical gardens

Speaking of those with a preference to avoid the hard work involved with a garden, no-dig garden beds keep all the joy of growing your own plants in your own backyard, without all the difficulty of digging out endless holes in the dirt.

Another bonus is they add texture to your garden, avoiding the common mistake of having a ‘flat and boring green square’ instead of a garden.

If having enough space is an issue, consider using a vertical garden instead. Trellises are a good start, but don’t be afraid to hang some boxes up your fence as well; it’s a great way to utilise otherwise underused spaces in your backyard.

Ideal for: Professionals, retirees and those with young children.

One final note

Regardless of what backyard overhaul you choose, the most important factor to keep in mind is who you are planning to sell to. Is your home ideal for a young family? A big family? Retirees? Young couples? Students?

The space you design needs to be appealing to them—busy families aren’t necessarily going to appreciate a high-maintenance garden, but they may be willing to pay more for extra room for the kids to run around in.

The garden can make or break your home sale. Ensure you make the choices that appeal not just to you, but to your potential buyers as well.



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