Creating a beautiful backyard in the Midwest is not just about having a personal retreat; it’s also an investment that can increase the value of your property. Certain backyard projects have proven to offer excellent returns on investment (ROI), making them popular choices among homeowners in this region. Here’s a look at some of the best backyard projects for ROI in the Midwest, including pools, decks, patios, lighting, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and landscaping.

1. Swimming Pools

ROI: 40-60%

While swimming pools are popular in warmer climates, they can still add value to homes in the Midwest, though the ROI tends to be lower. Pools in the Midwest generally offer an ROI of about 40-60%. The initial investment can be high, ranging from $30,000 to $70,000. Pools may not be in use year-round due to the colder seasons, which can impact their overall appeal and usage.

Popularity: Pools are less common in the Midwest compared to warmer regions, but they can still be a desirable feature for families and those who enjoy summer entertaining.

swimming pool

2. Decks

ROI: 75-85%

Adding a deck to your backyard is one of the best investments you can make in the Midwest. The cost of building a deck can range from $7,000 to $15,000, depending on the size and materials used. Decks typically offer an ROI of 75-85%, making them a smart choice for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor living space.

Popularity: Decks are highly popular in the Midwest, providing a great space for entertaining, relaxing, and enjoying the outdoors during the warmer months. They can be used for a variety of activities, making them a versatile addition.

3. Patios

ROI: 50-75%

Patios are another excellent addition that can enhance the usability of your backyard. The cost to install a patio can range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on materials and size. Patios generally offer an ROI of 50-75%. They are a lower-cost alternative to decks but still provide a functional and attractive outdoor living area.

Popularity: Patios are favored for their durability and low maintenance. They are particularly popular in the Midwest, where they can be used extensively during the spring, summer, and fall.

patio with firepit

4. Outdoor Lighting

ROI: 50-75%

Outdoor lighting not only improves the aesthetic appeal of your backyard but also enhances safety and security. The cost of a professional outdoor lighting installation can range from $2,000 to $5,000. This investment usually yields an ROI of 50-75%.

Popularity: Outdoor lighting is becoming increasingly popular as more homeowners recognize the benefits of a well-lit outdoor space. It’s a relatively low-cost improvement with significant impact, especially during the shorter days of fall and winter.

5. Outdoor Kitchens

ROI: 55-70%

An outdoor kitchen can transform your backyard into a true entertainment hub. The cost of installing an outdoor kitchen can range from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the features included. These additions typically offer an ROI of 55-70%.

Popularity: Outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity in the Midwest, especially among those who enjoy outdoor entertaining and cooking. They are used extensively during the warmer months and add a luxurious touch to the backyard.

outdoor kitchen

6. Fire Pits

ROI: 60-80%

Fire pits are a popular and relatively inexpensive way to add charm and functionality to your backyard. The cost of a fire pit can range from $300 for a basic model to $7,000 for a custom-built unit. Fire pits generally offer an ROI of 60-80%.

Popularity: Fire pits are highly favored in the Midwest for their ability to extend the usability of outdoor spaces into the cooler months. They provide a cozy gathering spot that appeals to many buyers.

7. Screened-In Porches

ROI: 70-80%

Screened-in porches offer a versatile space that can be enjoyed throughout much of the year, providing a comfortable outdoor area free from bugs and the elements. The cost to add a screened-in porch can range from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the size and materials used. This investment typically offers an ROI of 70-80%.

Popularity: Screened-in porches are particularly popular in the Midwest due to the region’s varying weather conditions. They allow homeowners to enjoy the outdoors without dealing with insects, rain, or direct sunlight. These porches can be used for dining, relaxing, or entertaining, making them a valuable addition to any home.

8. Landscaping

ROI: 100% or more

Landscaping is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your backyard and can offer an ROI of 100% or more. The cost of landscaping can vary widely, from a few hundred dollars for basic improvements to several thousand for extensive projects. Key landscaping elements include planting trees and shrubs, adding flower beds, and maintaining a well-manicured lawn.

Popularity: A well-landscaped yard is universally appealing and can significantly enhance curb appeal. In the Midwest, where seasonal changes bring about different visual aesthetics, thoughtful landscaping can ensure the yard looks attractive year-round.

landscaped backyard
Tidy landscaping and good lighting are always sound investments and add years of enjoyment to a backyard.


Investing in your backyard can yield substantial returns, both in terms of personal enjoyment and property value, especially in the Midwest. While the ROI for these projects can vary based on factors such as location and quality of materials, each of the mentioned additions—swimming pools, decks, patios, outdoor lighting, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and landscaping—offers a way to enhance your outdoor space and make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

Before starting any project, it’s crucial to consider your local market and how the addition will fit with the overall aesthetics and functionality of your home. By doing so, you can make informed decisions that will provide the best return on your investment. Reach out to discuss, because it can vary greatly between St. Louis neighborhoods.