Renovations aren't a one-dimensional investment. On one hand, you're preparing for a feature you want in your home; on the other, when you plan a home renovation strategically, it becomes a development that can return and even increase the value of your house. Here are a few things to consider when planning a renovation so that you get the best ROI. 

For example, replacing the siding on your house is a home renovation project that gives you an 80% return on investment, and replacing exterior doors gives you a 101% ROI. Replacing your garage doors gives an 88% ROI, and paving a gravel driveway can earn a 50-75% ROI. Even adding outdoor lighting, a very small change, can give you a 50% ROI.

Determining the ROI of decks, patios, and other places to enjoy sitting on outdoor furniture is a little more complex. The average ROI of a professional deck construction is 73%; however, this rate tends to be higher for higher-quality wooden decks, and lower for composite materials. Patio additions, meanwhile, have a slightly lower ROI of 30-60%. If you have a porch, think carefully before deciding how much to spend to screen it in: spending $35,000 to screen in your porch has an average return of 75%, while spending $50,000 only has an average return of 50%.

Don’t forget that the value of curb appeal extends to your yard as well; landscaping can add as much as 28% to the value of a home in addition to cutting the time a home spends on the market by 10-15%. You can strategically plant windbreaks and shade trees that will cut your heating needs by as much as 15% and air conditioning needs by as much as 75%. Also, make sure that your plants are native to your area in order to save money; maintaining an acre of native plants costs $3,000 over the course of 20 years, while the cost of maintaining non-native turf grass over that same time in $20,000.

In the backyard, outdoor kitchens are becoming very popular and are considered an outdoor room. Adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average ROI of 100-200%, but this depends largely on the climate (with higher ROI in warmer areas) and if durable materials are used. Fire pits are also desirable to buyers; a properly styled fire pit can earn an ROI of 150%, as long as it’s purchased and installed at a reasonable price.

Pools and other water features are trending downward, and considered by many buyers and real estate agents to be a maintenance chore. Even if the pool is well-maintained, relatively new, and in a warm climate, it will only add an average of 7% to the home’s value.

If you don’t have the budget for major home renovations, there are several low cost options for staging your home's exterior in order to increase its value. Re-sodding your lawn, trimming and weeding your garden, adding flowers to your home’s entrance, sealing your driveway, and adding mature plants to a new garden all cost less than $1,000 (often significantly less), yet each project has an average ROI of up to 200%!

Your home may be your castle, but at the end of the day, future buyers will pay more for a castle with a beautifully landscaped front gate and an outdoor kitchen. Investing in outdoor renovation projects today will pay off in the future.

Contributed by Williams Ski & Patio