Updating Your Outdoor Space (Without Breaking Your Lease!)

Make sure you read your lease before taking this advice off-hand — many leases have unusual clauses that may make some of these suggestions non-viable under those specific leases.

A small garden gazebo.Does renting mean you can’t make your house a true “home?” Not necessarily. While you should be cautious when making home improvements, you can make some changes to individualize your space while you rent.

With your outdoor space, you may not have the freedom to plant new shrubs or install a deck. Yet, you can customize your outdoor space with a little creativity. If you wish to make your outdoor living space more attractive and useful, here’s what you need to know.

Legalities Surrounding Outdoor Improvements
According to the law, tenants do not have the right to change the landscaping without the landlord’s permission. Even if the change is an improvement, it requires permission. If you started digging a garden or laying a patio, without asking first, you could violate your lease.

What does this mean? If you want to plant a garden or do anything major, ask first. If you have a good relationship with your landlord, you may get the permission you need.

Add Structures to Improve Outdoor Spaces
If you don’t have permission to change the landscape or aren’t sure you want to ask, consider adding structures, instead. For example, you can use an awning for shade without changing the landscaping. PlanItDIY recommends adding shade to make the space more usable, even in hot weather.

A fire pit can be another structure to enhance your space, without changing it or violating your lease. Many portable fire pits are available at your local hardware store, and these provide a place to cook hot dogs and s’mores; or simply enjoy time outside with friends or family.

If you have a patio or deck, you can update it significantly by investing in some new patio furniture. As an added bonus, that investment will go with you when you move.

Light the Space
You can’t add built-in lighting on a rental house, but you can string some rope lights or hanging lanterns to light your outdoor space. Get creative, and these lights can be very attractive additions.

Clean the Space
Maybe you have an outdoor living space that shows wear and tear. You might be able to breathe new life into the space with a good scrubbing. Cleaning your deck, patio furniture and even your siding on your rental home can make it shine like new. Be sure to use the proper cleaning technique for the type of space you have, as Home Maintenance Tracker recommends.

Consider a Container Garden
If you want a garden and your landlord says no, you can use a container garden to add veggies or flowers to your space. Simply invest in portable containers that you can set up somewhere sunny in your yard, and enjoy the bounty of nature without changing the landscaping. Container gardening is great for patios, in yards or even in window boxes — so this fits most styles of rental property. If you lack space, you can even plant a pallet vertical garden.

Make it Personal
One of the best ways to make your outdoor living space inviting is to make it unique. You can hang outdoor artwork, add decorative lighting, or include some attractive steppingstones and flower pots. Do what you can, without changing the structure or landscaping, to add some special touches.

In many ways, the modern outdoor living space is an extension of a home. Here you can entertain, enjoy your family, or relax while you watch the sun set. By using a little imagination, you can improve your rental space without breaking any lease-agreement terms.

About the author:
Jessica Kyriakos is Brand Manager of Superior Site Amenities. She has worked in the site furnishing industry for more than 15 years. The company provides furniture for your outdoor space, including benches, tables, grills and more.

Posted in: 2. Tenant Blog Posts, Maintenance

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