NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Finding the best outdoor home improvement projects that will help you recoup your costs once you resell your house can be tricky .

While all buyers have their own preferences, there are some home additions that generate a better return on investment for owners .

One popular trend is creating more outdoor space in your backyard by adding a deck, pergola or benches, said Dan Faires, a Manhattan home and garden designer.

"Homeowners are choosing to upgrade their current outdoor space and expanding it," he said. "People want them because a deck is part of the home now. It creates a zone that you want to hang out in."

Installing a real wood deck can recoup more than 80% of the costs when it comes to selling a home , Faires said. Owners who choose to use real wood such as redwood, cedar or Douglas fir, will discover it makes decks more valuable, compared to composite decking made out of recycled materials mixed with wood.

"Wood is sustainable and is going to last for many years to come," he said. "It's definitely worth the investment because of wood's natural beauty and it wears well."

Outdoor living spaces are in high demand for homeowners, with a 92% popularity rating, according to the 2014 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

"We've seen a growing demand from buyers who want functional outdoor spaces when conducting their search for the perfect house," said Cannon Christian, president of Renovation Realty, a San Diego company which helps homeowners renovate and sell their homes. "Homeowners can add value by creating backyard retreats as an extension of the home by adding decks, patio, outdoor dining spaces and garden sitting areas. According to Remodeling Magazine 's "2014 Cost vs. Value" report, 87.4% of the cost of building a wooden deck can be recouped when selling."

Cleaning up and trimming landscaping and adding new, affordable plants is another way to add improvements on a small budget, he said.

"Adding new plants will give your yard a pop of color and won't break the bank," Christian said. "Low maintenance yards appeal to people who want to conserve water and save money down the road."

Purchasing and installing energy efficient appliances will add value, said Amanda Brown, regional director, Re/MAX of New Jersey. Outdated appliances could be off-putting for potential buyers who want to reduce their carbon footprint and have lower electricity bills.

 

"Updating those old tinkers to sleek, sustainable appliances increases your home's visual appeal while decreasing energy costs ," she said.

Enclosed front porches are not a good addition, because it eliminates the opportunity for potential buyers to connect with future neighbors, she said. Aboveground pools are also they are outdated, meaning most potential buyers will consider them less than aesthetically pleasing. In addition, they are costly to remove, so devote your funds to another upgrade that is more appealing to a large number of people.