The 5 Biggest Yard and Patio Staging Mistakes

By Amalie Drury, guest contributor


Photo credit: Crate and Barrel

A great outdoor space is at the top of many home buyers’ checklists. So even if your listing doesn’t include a large lawn or an over-the-top patio, it’s important to show buyers that the home still offers the perks of an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Be sure to avoid these common outdoor staging mistakes.


1. Overgrown Landscaping

Banish the weeds, and trim the bushes. Nothing makes a house look unloved faster than an overgrown lawn or a patio with dandelions poking through every crack. If the home’s current owners aren’t around to keep the landscaping in check, encourage them to hire a weekly service for the duration of the listing.


2. Lack of Furniture

It’s hard to imagine reading on the porch or serving dinner on the patio when there’s no furniture around. On the other hand, if buyers see a dining table with a festive umbrella or a pair of cushioned lounge chairs with a side table for drinks, they’ll perceive the space as valuable additional square footage where they can unwind with family or entertain.


3. Dust and Dirt

When patios and walkways go unused, they collect a layer of grime that should be removed when staging the home. Consider pressure washing surfaces and pay special attention when sweeping and dusting spots like exterior window ledges, thresholds, and basement stairwells.


4. Clutter

To the buyer’s eye, certain items your sellers are used to seeing in their yard or on their patio can look like unwanted junk. Encourage your sellers to clear the clutter. Plastic storage boxes, toys (except for nice swing sets, which can be appealing in family neighborhoods), tools, faded furniture cushions, dated lawn sculptures, rusty grills … all must go.


 5. No Flowers 

In the right season, colorful blooms in containers, window boxes, or beds can greatly improve the perception of a home’s exterior and outdoor space. Even in winter, you can fill planters with greenery and berries to welcome potential buyers and make the home appear cozy and well tended.

Amalie_MG_9500ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amalie Drury is an expert on home design and furniture trends, writing on behalf of Crate and Barrel. She has covered related topics as a senior editor for magazine publisher Modern Luxury and as a city editor for women’s lifestyle site PureWow. She has also written for Time Out, the Chicago Tribune, and Sophisticated Living.



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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Randy Mitchell

    Great ideas. I might also add that, should you have a patio, screened porch, or deck, go above and beyond in making it look great for the photos that are taken for the listing. Too many sellers spend time on inside features to prepare for listing photos, but neglect taking the time to stage their outdoor living areas. Set the patio table for drinks. Open the umbrella. Set a vase of fresh cut flowers on the table.

  2. I love this article! So true… My poor husband hates that I am always taking all of our patio furniture and putting it in my listings backyards. So important! Many times I have relisted a home that previously had negative feedback about the backyard. After I staged it, it was a selling feature. I just ALWAYS have to counter my furniture out of the offers hahaha.

  3. Sellers might be confused and think that no. 2 is a good thing when sometimes it’s not. Staging a home isn’t an easy task and we can all learn from this guide to avoid these common mistakes.

  4. The yard and patio can be considered as the home’s first impression to potential buyers. If not done right, it gives a bad start to an otherwise would-have-been-awesome showing. Do it correctly though, and you set yourself up for success.

  5. In home selling, a mistake is a mistake, no matter how small or big it is. Which is why it’s important to care for your curb too and give it as much attention as the home itself. Getting it right from the get-go arranges you to a much more successful showing.