The Home Depot Shares Three Inexpensive Ways to Enhance the Outdoor Living Experience


Sometimes the simple things matter the most.

Relaxing in a hammock or lounging on patio furniture and throw pillows under festive string lighting or in a semi-private space offer residents some basic outdoor living pleasures. Best of all, they are among some easy-peasy ways that property managers can improve the outdoor living experience at apartments without investing big CAPEX dollars.

Here are three inexpensive ways that properties can enhance their outdoor living areas, according to Jeff Watson, Regional Pro Sales Manager at The Home Depot.

1. Relax your residents with swinging, swaying hammocks

Swinging, swaying hammocks are taking backyards, parks and other recreational areas by storm, so much that there is actually a Hammock Initiative waving beyond the trees and National Hammock Day on July 22.

New technology has created lighter-weight, stronger hammocks that still spread out but can be stored in something as small as a plastic baggie. Your residents can relax in a cotton rope hammock that costs about $60. String a few attached by decorative, weather-resistant cedar posts, and the outdoor area quickly transforms into a sleepy, relaxing experience for residents.

“We’ve seen a lot of really neat things with hammock grounds,” Watson said. “It’s fairly inexpensive to take an 8’ x 8’ cedar post and sink it in the ground, maybe in the shape of a zig-zag or the letter ‘M’. In between the posts you hang a hammock, and now you have an interesting social gathering spot that extends your living space.”

Hammocks are the latest way to do just nothing. If you haven’t heard, Hammock Initiative’s vision statement is promoting way for people to hang out with “an opportunity for people to be, not do.”

2. Toss in a few pillows and string some festive lights

Updating patio furniture and adding lighting can make a big difference, Watson says. Today’s outdoor chairs and tables are weather resistant and less likely to fade in sun light. Simply adding some throw pillows, which cost about $13 each, or a rug under a canopy creates a relaxing experience for residents.

Also, stringing party lights or other outdoor lighting adds a festive touch. Outdoor incandescent lighting comes in various shapes and sizes, from Edison-type bulbs to lanterns that range in price from $20-$30 per string.

Solar-powered LED Christmas-type strings cost a few bucks less and ensures low energy use and longer-burning lights. The lights come in a few different colors to create moods, and are great for multiple strings in large areas, unlike with incandescent lights that may tax breaker boxes.

3. Create semi-private areas out on the grounds

The outdoor experience shouldn’t be limited to just patio and pool areas, Watson says. A small gathering spot farther out on the grounds can offer families privacy and the feel of relaxing in a park or recreational area.

Creating semi-private seating areas away from higher density common areas can be easily done without costing a fortune, says Watson, who has seen a large uptick in multifamily properties creating semi-private linear areas that are divided by horizontal fencing and screens.

“If you have a lot of common ground you can create multiple areas with cedar screens, creating smaller environments so multiple groups can enjoy the same common ground,” he said.

Screens and lattice combined with horizontal cedar-plank fences provide sturdy, weather-resistant options for creating section that can include a simple fire pit or seating. Together, they offer a little more privacy.

Granted, the expense may be more than a couple of hundred dollars, but the investment is still minimal and improves the look and feel of the property, Watson says.

“It’s very contemporary, soft looking and very popular, especially in the urban environments,” he said. “It really kind helps put an updated look on your common grounds as well.”


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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