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4 Outdoor Improvements You Might Regret

[Updated: Jan 12, 2021 ] Apr 23, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Now that we're deep into spring, many homeowners are apt to have outdoor improvements on their radar. And if you've been saving diligently to update your property, you may be itching to get started on your latest project. But if any of the following updates are on your list, you may want to think twice before sinking money into them.

1. A swimming pool

Despite the fact that swimming pools -- particularly inground pools -- are expensive, they can be a good investment if you live somewhere that's conducive to year-round usage. But if you live in an area of the country where it's really only feasible to use that pool between June and September, you may want to hold off on putting one on your property. Inground pool installation costs between $36,903 and $66,662 on average, reports HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI).

But it's not just the cost of putting in that pool you'll need to worry about. You'll also need to deal with maintenance and potentially higher homeowners insurance premiums, making that pool more expensive than you might initially imagine. And if you're only going to use it for a few months out of the year, it may not be worth it.

2. A gazebo

Gazebos can be charming and nice to look at, but before you spend money on one, think about what you'll use it for. Sure, a gazebo can provide shelter and be an aesthetic focal point in your backyard, but many people find that gazebos aren't all that practical or comfortable. At an average cost of $6,248, you may prefer to invest in a deck instead, or an awning for a deck you already have.

3. A backyard playset

Backyard playsets run the gamut from simple swing-and-slide configurations you can put up yourself for a few hundred dollars to elaborate setups with rings and climbing walls that cost $2,000 or more. If you have young children, a playset may be a good investment, but if your kids are already over the age of 5, you may want to save your money instead. Children tend to outgrow playsets pretty quickly, and aside from the initial expense of installing one, you might face higher homeowners insurance premiums for having one. Also, if your yard isn't that large, you could end up sacrificing a lot of space to have that playset, not to mention destroying the grass beneath it.

4. A wooden deck

There are plenty of good reasons to put up a deck, but if you're thinking of installing a wooden one, consider the maintenance involved. You'll generally pay about $15 per square foot to install a wooden deck, whereas a deck made of composite materials could cost $35 per square foot, according to HGTV. But composite decks offer the benefit of less maintenance, which can save you time as well as money over the years. If you don't want to deal with sanding and staining your deck every spring, composite is the way to go.

There's nothing wrong with spending money on outdoor home improvements, but before you do, think about whether the investment you have in mind is really worth it. You may find that you're better off focusing on indoor renovations or other projects that make your home a more pleasant place to live.

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Maurie Backman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.