Anyone in the multifamily industry knows that curb appeal is important when attracting new tenants. While many apartments themselves have modern updates and amenities, communities that also keep their exteriors tidy and fresh can be perceived as higher quality. One of the easiest ways to keep current and future residents happy is by enhancing your outdoor spaces. Adding or improving your multifamily outdoor spaces instantly adds value and can be promoted as an amenity or upgrade. In addition, it adds to a sense of community as residents gather in your courtyard, patio, or other common space.
By improving your outdoor spaces, you may feel that you are adding unnecessary tasks to your maintenance staff’s workload, however there are several low-maintenance outdoor space ideas and improvements that can easily be implemented without overburdening them. With proper planning, property managers can actually reduce their amount of maintenance in the long run. Take a look at some of our suggestions for improving your community’s outdoor spaces:
Hardscapes– Well-kept landscaping, including mowing, is important but can require a fair amount of work throughout the changing seasons. By adding hardscapes like rocks and stones, you make your grounds pleasing to the eye while reducing the amount of maintenance. If you want residents to feel relaxed, you may also choose to promote walks around your property. By installing gravel walking paths or paver stepping-stones, you promote your property as a natural, peaceful place for an outdoor stroll. Throwing in a bench here and there also encourages people to sit, relax and talk to each other.
Landscapes– Many properties hire professional landscapers or have landscaping worked into their maintenance staff’s priorities. However, there are a few quick and easy upgrades any property can do without really increasing the landscaping to-do list. Try adding some hanging baskets of flowers around common areas like the clubhouse or pool. Flashes of color can make spaces feel more inviting and social. Plants like succulents are currently trendy and popular and require little maintenance.
Picnic Tables and Grills– Nothing brings people together more in the summer like a backyard bar-be-que. Outdoor grills can be easy to clean and will last for years. Whether you choose charcoal or gas, make sure that there are appropriately posted instructions and safety advisories in relation to use of the area. This is for both risk reduction the safety of your residents. Add in some picnic tables, which, if finished correctly can last for many years, and you have an inviting area for families. In addition to resident use, outdoor cooking areas with well-kept picnic tables can also be used to host resident or community events. This area can definitely serve as an amenity.
Trash Bins and Signage- Keeping your outdoor spaces clean and encouraging residents to do the cleaning can cut down on your maintenance staff’s workload. Provide waste bins around all your common spaces, especially near any outdoor cooking and dining spaces or where pets may walk. Ensure that these receptacles are adequately serviced or give clear instructions for your residents to clean up after themselves. Either way these areas should be checked regularly by the maintenance staff to ensure cleanliness and safety. Add signage that politely instructs residents to pick up after themselves.
Furniture- Part of keeping an updated look requires realizing when patio furniture needs replacing. Outdoor furniture wears quickly, especially in places with extreme weather fluctuations. Investing in high-quality fabrics and materials will make your furniture last longer throughout the seasons. Place furniture with soft goods in locations that are covered. This will ensure that they remain dry and will decrease any mold or mildew growth. Purchasing furniture that is metal or plastic will last longer but may not be as appealing to the eye. You may want to consult a designer who specifically works in commercial spaces and use only high grade items that will withstand the test of time. Nice patio furniture conveys the message that you want to encourage and build community amongst your residents by giving them a common space to relax and chat.
Decks and Patios- If you feel your property already has several outdoor common spaces like patios and decks, take a little time to make sure they still look nice and new. If surfaces are cracking or peeling, give them a facelift with a fresh coat of stain or resurfacing liquid. Keeping on top of quick, easy fixes like this will save your maintenance crew from completely replacing a patio or deck in the long-run.
Outdoor Lighting- While picnic areas and walking paths can be nice during the day, installing some outdoor lighting can really enhance your property in the evenings. The use of LED exterior lighting can create a nice ambiance without huge increases to utility bills. Using motion-sensor lights on buildings or near pathways and parking can also add to your residents’ comfort by conveying a sense of safety.
Investing in some of these tips can freshen up your property’s outdoor spaces, but choose fixes that work for you. Some properties can get away with small updates that make a big difference, while bigger properties may need to do more. Either way, improving outdoor spaces is something any property manager can focus on, no matter their budget or maintenance staff, and can make current and future residents happy with their choice of home.