categories | articles | write a review | design your space
log in | sign up ARE YOU A HOME PRO?

What features your backyard should NOT have from a value standpoint

As the Gen X’ers continue to improve and invest in their homes, luxury-sporting items are again in demand. Whether pools, saunas, or tennis courts, the 40-50 somethings are spending their money on creating outdoor escapes for their houses instead of investing in summer homes or cottages. Unfortunately, not all luxury items increase the value of your home.

Here are a few of the pitfalls to be aware of and some better investment options to consider.


For years, pools have had a stigma surrounding them. Realtors and home evaluation experts preached the idea that a pool investment would reduce the value of your property. We now know, according to the National Association of Realtors (2015), that while a pool may reduce the amount of buyers interested in purchasing your home, they also attract a different buyer who would have otherwise been uninterested.

In Canada, your home value stays constant. Unfortunately, this means that the entire investment of the swimming pool comes out of your pocket with no hope of seeing a return. When deciding if a pool is right for you, make sure to count the total days in the summer that you can use it; multiply this by the length of time you want to be in the home; and divide that into the total installation cost of the pool. You’ll probably realize that it will cost you between $140 and $165 dollars for every day you actually swim.


Does this mean you should definitely NOT get a swimming pool? Not necessarily. Here are some reasons to consider having a swimming pool:

  • If you plan on using it! Think backyard BBQs, friends and family coming over for swims.
  • You want access to a pool for health benefits. Water aerobics is great for health injuries.
  • If you’re living in your ‘forever home’ and don’t plan on selling it. The amount of time you use the pool will give you your money’s worth!

Have a few minutes? Watch this video we did about concrete pools!

If you’re still contemplating purchasing a pool, visit our directory of swimming pool contractors to get started on your backyard project.


A more economical solution to a swimming pool, saunas have continued to be in demand as a 4-season outdoor water feature. With a marginal return-on-investment, hot tubs, Jacuzzi’s and soakers are more than just the default for homeowners unwilling to spend the money on the swimming pool (we’ll attest to this – they can be costly!). The biggest complaint that sauna-owners consistently make is that after the first year, they use them less and less. The key to use is all about the design of the space. Saunas that are in secluded spaces in the back with easy access to an entry point get used more often. If you want one, plan on some great privacy screens and a way to keep the snow shoveled in the winter.

backyard hot tub

If your backyard is too small for a pool, or you’re not interested in paying the hefty price tag, consider a hot tub or Jacuzzi! Speak to a hot tub and spa expert to find a unit that’s right for you.

Tennis and Sport Courts

As an avid tennis player, it pains me to say that putting in a tennis court just doesn’t make sense for a majority of homeowners. Aside from the cost of the installation and the maintenance, very few building lots are really large enough to have a full court without looking totally overwhelmed.

If you are among the lucky few with a big property that can house a court, consider going with a multi-purpose sport court instead of a true tennis court. Sport courts combine the lines and the equipment to play a variety of games including basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton. When it comes to attracting buyers, more options are always better.

Summer is too short to have a tennis  court in your backyard. Make it a multi-purpose court to increase use!

Summer is too short to have a tennis court in your backyard. Make it a multi-purpose court to increase use!

Want a custom backyard complete with a sports court to accommodate your family’s activities? Speak with a design & build expert listed on our directory! Start dreaming up your backyard visions because it could soon become a reality with their help.

Putting Greens

While big in the 90s and early 2000s, putting greens have decreased in popularity with more homeowners opting to just install artificial turf instead. Done properly however, a good putting green can replace the need for a lawn in the back with something that still looks green but actually has a purpose. Technology and design has allowed golfers to adjust the speed of their home greens to match the ones at their golf club so that they get true putting consistency.

Round of golf, anyone?

Round of golf, anyone?

Get your lawn in shape for a round of golf with a lawn care professional!

At the end of the day, these types of luxury items in the backyard aren’t really about making money though. They are about creating a space that works for your family. At least now you can spend the money with a little more confidence that you aren’t hurting the value of your home.

It’s our job at eieihome to put you in touch with the right experts! Our directory features a database of landscaping and design contractors who can create an outdoor retreat. If you’re looking for custom outdoor work, check out this list of custom design contractors to see what they’re capable of!

About the Author: Carson Arthur is an outdoor design and lifestyle expert and co-host of HGTV’s Critical Listing. For more information, visit

More in Outdoor Renovations

From the editor: Give your outdoor living space an overhaul

Landscaping: The ultimate guide for homeowners

Array ( [0] => 836 )