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Putting the house on the market soon, and the back door steps currently step right down to the lawn. I would like to put a patio-like landing area there, maybe 10'x 10'.

Approach: I'm considering applying herbicide, then a barrier cloth, then pebbles with a raised border, maybe wood to keep them in place. I don't know if the pebbles should go on a sand layer. I hope I don't have to dig 4 inches down or anything complex. The drainage in the area has been good. Over the last 10 years living here, this area doesn't flood, and drains away from the house well (but there's no mounded slope-- or let's say the slope is gradual). The grass is fairly thick the further out from the house, but turns to moss up close to the house on one side of house, and the other side has some bare patches.

What's are the pitfalls with this idea? I"m very open to better ideas, so long as they are not labor intensive, and the cost is pretty low. And the final product looks nicer than what we've got.

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My recommendation is to not put in the patio. Your efforts may lower the value to the buyer rather than raising it, especially if what you're planning to put in is the "easiest, lowest cost patio" rather than a landscaping masterpiece.

Like many kinds of projects, you will almost never get a financial return from the work and investment unless:

  • you understand the real estate market and know what will add value to your house
  • do those very targeted projects
  • have professional-level skills

Even worse, the buyer may have other ideas about what would be ideal for them. You could end up saddling them with something that isn't what they want and doesn't meet their needs, or even something they then need to spend money and time on ripping out.

Even if you do the right projects, if you don't have professional-level skills, anything that comes out looking like a "homeowner special" will scare off buyers.

Putting your house on the market is a lot of work to do it right. Don't wear yourself out doing projects that don't count. Bring in a real estate agent or professional house stager to get advice on how to best prepare to showcase the house. Putting in a patio isn't likely to be on the list.

You could even offer to knock the price down a little to reflect the savings and value of your time to not do a patio, which may be even more attractive to many buyers than your doing the work.

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    Yes. super annoying to find a hopeful seller has put in a tenant-grade something, that I would've done ten times better, and now will have to live with because replacing a new lousy thing is not high enough up the priority list. You have no motivation to do good work, and a perverse incentive. – Harper May 22 '17 at 7:26
  • Great response, thanks. Yeah, the realtor has been through and did not mention it, but gave us some other tasks. My spouse seems to be generating their own honey do list, and thought this was a good idea. I'm happy to share this feedback, and kill that idea off, lol! – middleagedgeezer May 22 '17 at 17:27

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