This Backyard Project Has a Huge ROI — And It Improved My Quality of Life

published May 9, 2023
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large back yard with trees around
Credit: Shifrah Combiths

My family and I are coming up on the one-year anniversary of moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, from Florida, and we have a long, daunting list of projects that still need to get done around the house. One thing that wasn’t on our list, though, was a big yard project we chose to tackle because not doing it was drastically affecting our quality of life. 

Over the past year we’ve enjoyed the novelty of the changing seasons (something we didn’t experience much of in north Florida), but we learned the hard way about what the combination of soggy lawns and dogs can do to a backyard. As our grass became dormant in the winter and the rain came, our yard turned into a muddy mess. Meanwhile, our dogs churned that soft earth with their spirited play. 

The problem wasn’t only that we had a backyard that didn’t look its best: When the kids and the dogs came back inside, so did the backyard’s red-colored dirt. It was getting everywhere, from clothing to area rugs to throw pillows on the family room couch. Our days were punctuated by sessions of wiping eight wiggly paws and spraying stain remover on the clothing we didn’t want ruined for good.  

So I called in the experts: landscapers who could tell us the best way to address the issue. We were expecting them to tell us how they could re-seed the lawn and bring it back to life. Instead, they said that the best thing to do was to re-sod. Seeding would take months because the best time to do it is the fall, and even after it was done, we’d have to keep kids and dogs off of the delicate new growth for a good while afterwards. Re-sodding would address the immediate problem and we’d have a yard we could use in less than a month after the project was completed. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

The estimates were not inexpensive. Our yard is huge and sod isn’t cheap. But we were happy to learn that re-sodding a yard is a home improvement with one of the highest ROIs. HomeLight reports that nice landscaping can add 5 to 12 percent to your home’s value. Indeed, another HomeLight report estimates that a $300 expenditure on lawn care services can yield a 352 percent ROI. Similarly, Fortune Builders estimates a 100 percent ROI on landscaping improvements.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

We took the plunge and had our entire backyard re-sodded. It cost us $13,000 for 11,000 square feet, which was a good-sized investment. The entire process, from removing the old sod to placing all of the new sod, only took a few days. Before the sod was placed, we added a dog run off of our porch so that we can let the dogs out into a space where they can play and do their business without touching the beautiful grass. We still let them out on the grass to play, but only under supervision. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

We’ve enjoyed our re-sodded backyard for over a month now, and it has improved our quality of life even more than we anticipated. Not only are we free from having to constantly wipe the dogs’ paws and make sure the kids take off their shoes the second they walk in from the back porch, but we’re all spending much more time outside. This is great news, considering the huge backyard was one of the main reasons we decided to buy the house. In addition, just looking out onto the expanse of green from inside the house instantly relaxes me. Although it wasn’t something we planned on doing, we’re confident it was a good decision and we enjoy it every day.