Guest Post by Geri Gwizdz of Signature Home Staging
The arrival of spring is marked by one of the greatest and most welcome phenomenons in human behavior: the universal migration of people of all ages to the great outdoors, specifically the backyard. This seasonal marvel, however, cannot occur successfully without a bit of preparation and creative organization.
Outdoor living spaces are more than just stone, brick and grassy parcels. Collectively, these areas comprise what has become known as the personal outdoor haven. Exterior spaces should evoke the same comforts of home associated with the indoors. For this reason, staging professionals are now being enlisted more than ever to set the scene for today’s outdoor spaces. While the interior may take center stage during winter months, gardens, patios and storage sheds leave a lasting impression in the summer, spring and fall. An organized backyard need not be expensive, it only needs to emphasize the best features and a low-maintenance vibe.
Mirroring the same objectives for interior spaces, it is critical to paint a picture for guests (and prospective homebuyers) when it comes to the outdoors. Especially when selling a home, potential buyers will scrutinize the backyard by envisioning themselves in it – whether it be hosting a full-throttle family and friends BBQ or simply enjoying morning coffee or an evening glass of wine in peace.
Simply put, the backyard is considered an extension of the interior living room and even the kitchen. Modest, comfortable furnishings ranging from all-weather dining, side and coffee tables and chairs, to outdoor lighting and a barbecue grill will round out every visual expectation. Of course, it is always wise to scale to space and incorporate an earth-tone color palate along with simple plantings. Pops of color and personality can be added in the form of a bright vented market umbrella or sail shade as well as simple sculptures, water features and wall art that can withstand extreme temperatures, rain, wind and even snow.
Almost every backyard space has one common feature and visual stumbling block: the storage shed. Commonly referred to as the shed, the pool house and even the cabana, these havens for “stuff” quickly evolve into the catch-all for everything outdoor. And just like interior closets, prospective homebuyers will gravitate toward and open this four-walled structure with great interest and anticipation.
Like closets, sheds do not usually rank very high on the priority list during the course of day-to-day living. Does the mantra out of sight, out of mind ring familiar? And more times than not, like their interior counterparts the closet, sheds are cluttered, disorganized black holes of “stuff.”
A haphazard organization methodology communicates one thing: this house – inside and out – is too small and too high maintenance, which is why the shed looks the way it does. A properly organized and staged shed (or pool house or cabana) creates a clear illusion of more space and ease of maintenance. Like closets, not all sheds are created equal. However, the principles for organizing a shed are the same across the board.
Decluttering a shed can be done creatively and with stylish flare using today’s adaptable closet organizer and storage systems. Open, adjustable shelving lends itself to flexible layouts, based on tools and accessories of various shapes and sizes. It also offers well-planned access to everything, such as gardening boots, compost bins, seed packets, hand tools and soil. Open shelving also creates the illusion of more space while freeing up floors for lawn mowers and trimmers as well as power tools.
Other highly effective shed organization principles include:
- Creating a customized space based on needs and usage habits
- Consideration of a professional-grade organization and storage system, which is one of the most economical remedies
- Purging, liquidating, expunging (yes, they all mean the same thing) – discard or donate items that are no longer being used or have exceeded their intended life span
Backyard havens are more than a passing craze – they set the stage for weekend staycations and weekday respite for kicking off or winding down one’s day. A central component of this living space is the storage shed, which should rank high on the spring organization to do list. Paying attention to this compact storage structure today will make day-to-day living as simple as a nice summer breeze.
Geri Gwizdz is president of Signature Home Staging, LLC, a New Jersey-based staging and redesign firm serving a wide range of residential and commercial clients throughout the New York metropolitan area and beyond. Known for her creativity, customized property presentation solutions and personal touch, Geri is an accredited staging professional and formerly served as a design, window treatment and color consultant for one of North Jersey’s leading design centers. For more information, visit the Signature Home Staging website.