Want to add value to your home? Plant a garden in the sky.
Rooftop gardens are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to wow buyers and shore up the value of your home, real estate agents say.
Homes in big cities benefit the most from a rooftop garden, where homeowners sacrifice yard space for the urban experience. But even suburban homeowners are taking advantage of deck and roof space to grow gardens with an elevated view.
"It's just such a luxury to have somewhere you can go that's outside of your four walls," said Leslie Piper, consumer housing specialist for the National Association of Realtors and a real estate agent. "Buyers really see it as something indulgent."
That's actually part of the reason why for a time interest in outdoor spaces like roof gardens had been withering. But as the housing market recovers, buyers' appetites for these unique outdoor havens have returned.
When NAR surveyed 1,000 buyers about what makes them fall in love with a home, outdoor living spaces came out on top, beating out their desire for open floor plans and curb appeal. More than 54 percent of those surveyed said that outdoor space was the most attractive quality in a home.
"It's certainly cropping back up as something that's becoming more important to homeowners," Piper said.
Buyers are specifically looking for outdoor fireplaces, wet bars and a lounge area for entertaining, as well as a place to grow their own fresh herbs and vegetables, she added.
Most of the amenities for an outdoor space can be added by the homeowner, so they tend to be a relatively inexpensive way to add value to a home.
"You can go online now and look at all these great resources that are out there, and in the past you didn't know where to start," Piper said. "That kind of access to ideas is really spurring these spaces."
If you are looking for an attractive roof garden built in to a new home, check out these seven homes.
1. Steamboat Springs, Colo.
This 2,000-square-foot roof garden is unique among its peers because it is situated not only on a two-story home, but also on a 1.36-acre property, where natural outdoor space is abundant. But the owners wanted gardens with a view, so they installed a second-floor, irrigated roof deck that offers views of downtown Steamboat Springs, yet blends into the ground below. The home is currently on the market for $2.8 million.
2. Sarasota, Fla.
This nearly $9 million home in Sarasota has plenty of impressive outdoor spaces: A pool plaza surrounded by palm trees, eight open porches and a massive rooftop garden with bar. The indoor bar opens up onto the garden terrace, which is accessed by a special elevator.
This $300,000 condo in downtown Indianapolis offers a private haven in the heart of the city. The owners used native prairie grasses in planters to provide an extra measure of privacy and shade on hot days. They also planted several different types of flowers to add plenty of color. And there's still room for future owners to expand on this rooftop.
4. Winston Salem, N.C.
This $1.1 million penthouse in North Carolina offers views of Winston Salem from its 1,000-square-foot roof garden patio, which features more than a dozen trees growing five stories off the ground.
5. Carmel, Calif.
The roof garden of this $1.9 million Carmel-By-The-Sea home is accessible from the second floor master bedroom. Residents step out onto a sod roof garden with views of the ocean.
The owners of this $4.25 million home in Chicago turned their formerly dead roof space into a garden oasis. The rooftop garden not only features a variety of greenery, but also has a covered lounge area surrounded by flowers, bushes and ivy.
7. Coral Gables, Fla.
Thirteen floors off the ground, this penthouse has rooftop gardens accessed through the family room and master bedroom. The $1.5 million condo's deck is filled with potted plants.
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