Which Home Renovations Generate the Highest ROI?


Did you know that not all home renovations affect your home’s value? In other words, your ROI could be next to nothing on some renovations. Even if you do see a return on your investment, it’s sometimes less than half of what you paid.

Was it worth it?

Fortunately, many home renovations provide an exceptional return on your investment. Knowing what they are and how much of a return you’ll get can help you decide. 

Why Home Renovations Affect Your Home Value

Before we get into the list of renovations you should consider, let’s look at why home renovations affect your value.

When you improve your home, you improve its features or its quality, both of which affect the home’s value. Buyers are more likely to pay more for a home that’s recently renovated than one that needs repairs and/or is outdated. But which home renovations should you do?



The Top Home Renovations to Consider

Focus on the areas of your home that need major improvement, especially if safety or stability is an issue. Other than that, consider these renovations to improve your home’s value.

Garage Door

You may not think of the garage door when renovating your home, but it can provide almost a 95% ROI. With an average expense of $3,500, you can improve your home’s value by almost $3,300 with this change. Think of it as improving your home’s curb appeal.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Renovating it doesn’t have to mean tearing down walls and reinventing your kitchen. Painting the cabinets, switching out appliances, and updating the faucets or light fixtures may provide an ROI of 77% or more.

New Windows

Windows are another great way to improve your home’s curb appeal, but they also affect the home’s energy efficiency. They can be a hefty investment, but you’ll typically recoup almost 75% of your investment. As a bonus, you’ll likely reduce your energy usage in the home which may further increase the return on your investment.

New Siding or Paint

New siding or a fresh coat of paint are other exterior projects that can increase your home’s value. This is especially true if your siding is damaged and faded, or your paint is cracked and pealing. Replacing and repainting with something fresh is the way to go.

Most siding and paint investments provide a 75% ROI, plus it increases the curb appeal of your home if you choose a color that’s trending right now.

Final Thoughts

Before you make any home renovations, talk to a professional (like me) to see how much of an ROI you’ll receive from the renovations.

Some homeowners renovate their home just to make the home look how they want or to give it features they want. But, you should always have your ROI in mind so you get the most out of your investment. You probably won’t be in your home forever, so why not get the most out of it by improving its value with the renovations you choose?

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Making a Zen Garden is one way to create a meditative space in the yard. While some gardeners exploit color theory, taking advantage of the calming effect of "cool" colors, such as blue and lavender, you can achieve the same purpose with a more elaborate design for enjoying serenity in the backyard.
 

A gardener who idolizes nature and who likes to interpret the world symbolically is a good candidate for Zen Gardens. But lovers of low-maintenance landscaping should think twice before installing such a design. Zen Gardens may look simple (which is part of their appeal), but they're a lot of work—both to make and to maintain. Nor is this style a great choice if most of your gardening fun comes from growing showy plants, which immediately disqualifies most of us (growing plants being almost synonymous with gardening for most people).


What Is a Zen Garden?


Japan is a mountainous nation of islands jutting out of the ocean. This natural setting is awe-inspiring, and the Japanese people value the raw beauty of nature that surrounds them. It's this appreciation, in part, that accounts for their innovation of the Zen Garden.


Developed by Buddhist monks in ancient Japan (with some Chinese influence), Zen Gardens are often dubbed "miniature landscapes" because their components symbolize aspects of nature. Most notably, the expanse of white gravel (which is easier to work with than sand) raked to have ripples represents ocean waves, and the tall, narrow boulders jutting out vertically represent mountains. Meanwhile, the shorter, more rounded rocks or the flat ones in the "sea of sand" represent islands.


Plants, too, are part of nature and therefore have a place in the design, although their use is restrained by Western standards. But short, green plants may be grown on or around the "islands" to represent island vegetation, and architectural plants can serve as accents. Any short trees or shrubs that are included in the design must be pruned meticulously. In fact, shrub topiaries can be pruned in such a way that they represent islands (instead of using rocks for this purpose).


Zen Gardens can be characterized in several different ways. Because of their stark, artistic quality, they're quite abstract when compared to, say, English cottage gardens. Along the same lines, they can be considered minimalistic. Their symbolic use of raked gravel to represent water leads to the characterization of being "dry landscapes." Their heavy reliance on rocks leads some to refer to them as "Japanese Rock Gardens," although the intent (meditation) behind making them differs from that behind other rock gardens.


Since Zen Garden design evolved over the course of centuries, it's pointless to try to ascertain a single "authentic" set of components for it. Most gardeners interested in the topic who live in lands far away from the far East are content to incorporate enough of its classic components in their construction to suggest a true Zen Garden.



Tools and Supplies You Will Need


  • White gravel (calculate amount needed)
  • Rocks in a variety of sizes and shapes
  • Steel garden rake
  • Wooden Zen rake
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Tape measure
  • String, string level, and stakes
  • Tamper
  • Landscape fabric
  • Edging stones
  • Back brace, work gloves

Site Selection and Preparation


Select a flat area in your backyard and mark out a rectangular portion of it. Size can vary; on a small property, a 12 foot by 18 foot rectangle may be appropriate. You can reduce your workload (which is significant) by settling for a smaller space. If you'll be growing plants in your Zen Garden, their sunlight requirements factor into your site selection, so decide ahead of time whether you will be growing sun-loving or shade-loving plants and locate your meditative space accordingly.


The traditional Zen Garden was a walled-in space. The seclusion thus attained was conducive to meditation. For most homeowners, building a masonry wall for a meditative space in the backyard is either undesirable or unaffordable. Substitute a lattice fence to achieve inexpensive privacy. Consider this a separate project, to be undertaken before you make the Zen Garden (but include a wide gate to make it easy to bring supplies inside).


Best Plants for a Zen Garden


How to Make a Zen Garden

  1. Clear the selected rectangular space completely of anything sticking up out of the ground (plants, weeds, stones, etc.).
  2. With a shovel, remove the top layer (a few inches) of the existing soil.
  3. Check for level by pounding stakes into the ground end-to-end (both lengthwise and widthwise within your rectangle), tying string between them, and making use of your string level.
  4. Using the steel garden rake, rake out uneven spots.
  5. Tamp down the soil.
  6. Run stone edging along the lattice fence. Cobblestone is a good choice. This edging will retain the white gravel.
  7. Dig holes for the rocks you'll be using to represent mountains and/or islands. Arrangement is subjective, but, for some guidance, consider how these features occur in nature and arrange the rocks accordingly (definitely not in symmetrical patterns, circles, straight lines, etc.). Also, dig holes for any plants you'll be installing.
  8. Install the rocks and plants in their holes. Much of the length of those tall, narrow rocks (representing mountains) should be buried. This tip-of-the-iceberg placement will make them look more natural.
  9. Lay landscape fabric over the soil, making cuts to accommodate rocks and plants.
  10. Apply a few inches of the white gravel. Spread it with the hoe to distribute it. Rake ripples or swirls in it with the wooden Zen rake. Part of Zen Garden maintenance is to rake these designs back into the gravel after the elements have disturbed them.


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