Most people enjoy outdoor projects that will improve their home. While getting a return on investment can be a huge challenge for most things you do outside, exterior improvements provide a sense of satisfaction that's different from doing an interior improvement.

It's much easier to design things and make them your own without spending as much money vs. if you were to update a bathroom or kitchen. This is also part of the reason exterior improvements don't carry as much value. Buyers can look at a yard in poor condition and think, "I can fix that". When buyers see a well maintained yard with a water feature they think, "That's nice".

What we have heard from Appraisers makes sense. If you were to tear down a deck and build an identical one, it doesn't improve value as much as it does appeal. It you're using maintenance free materials that's valued differently. If you build a deck where there wasn't one before, you've probably added value... but the cost of the deck doesn't necessarily equate to value added to the home. For example, spending 10k on a deck doesn't automatically increase the home value by 10k.