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Stunning Backyards for Frugal Landlords


As an extension of your home, a backyard or patio has enormous potential for entertainment, relaxation, play and added income – no matter the season. After seemingly endless days of snow and ice, summer sunshine is always a welcome breath of fresh air. Longer hours of daylight mean more time for grilling, swimming and playing outside.

But as cooler weather arrives, you don’t need to pack up your backyard like seasonal clothing. With a little creativity and effort, you can create a space that you’ll enjoy all year long (without breaking your budget). And don’t even get us started on the added property value! It’s all about making the most of your Rent Estate™ investment.

Consider Getting Shady

If your backyard gets a lot of sun, consider adding some cover. While planting trees will provide shade and enhance the natural aspects of your yard, it isn’t an immediate solution, not to mention that it can be labor and cost intensive as well. Umbrellas and canopies are a faster and less expensive alternative. The shade they deliver provides protection from the sun’s strong rays.

Adding shade canopies or planting fast growing greenery like climbing vines can even help cut down energy bills by reducing some of the heat that enters a home. There are many options available for adding shade to the backyard that won’t break the bank. For less than $60, you can create a simple DIY canopy that is portable and perfect for a backyard or patio. Apartment dwellers can also use this idea; just place the poles in pots weighted with rocks and fill them with sand or soil.

Landscape Architect Monica Mroz has the following recommendation for “using removable canopies or umbrellas in climates like Southern California where the patio can be used in winter.” She adds, “You’ll be shaded from the summer sun and enjoy the warm sunshine in winter.”

Make a Splash!

If you’re looking for something
a bit more fun and trendy to
update your backyard, consider
adding in a spa or hot tub. As
the hot summer months begin
to cool into fall and winter, a hot
tub in the backyard is an excellent
way to continue enjoying
your backyard space. Soaking in
the hot water during the cold,
snowy winter conjures up visions
of skiing. Plus, after raking leaves
or shoveling the driveway free
of snow, your muscles will thank


Heat It Up With a Fire Pit

Fire pits are hot right now, especially with Gen Y – and Pinterest is full of DIY ideas for you to consider. From the simple to the complex, there’s sure to be a fire pit that fits your budget and style. No space for a fire pit? No worries! Try a fire bowl instead. You’ll get the same ambiance and gentle warmth, with more space for entertaining. Patio heaters are another great way to add warmth during the cooler months.

Transitioning From Season To Season

As the seasons change, maintaining your backyard is the key to keeping the space looking great. Fertilize and aerate lawns and gardens during early spring and fall to keep grass looking green and lush during the warmer months. Trim back branches and overgrown shrubs every season. In the fall, rake leaves and remove weeds along with any winter preparations you need to make. Store away items you don’t plan on using and stock up on fuel for that firepit or grill.

When you’re starting out with a small space, it may seem that your options are limited. I disagree. While you may have less of everything to start with, dramatic change is possible.

-Sarah Richardson, Sarah Richardson Design


It really is possible to get the backyard of your dreams without spending a lot of money. It may take time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end. By undertaking any of the enhancements suggested in this guide, you will impact your property value given that successful Rent Estate™ requires a bit of elbow grease to attract and retain tenants. These are the very features many are looking for in their quest to find the perfect rental property.

If you need help keeping up with property management needs, Renters Warehouse can help. Take a look at our Professional Landlord services and get your FREE Rental Price Analysis. Let us help you find the right tenant, take care of maintenance, and make sure your properties are safe and rented.

If you have any landlord or property management questions, we are also happy to answer them. Tweet at us @ProLandlord or visit our Facebook page.