4 Questions to Ask Before Adding a Private Backyard to a Multi-Family Unit

apartment community landscapingGone are the days when private backyards were exclusively for single-family homes. Apartment communities and multi-family units are jumping on the bandwagon and offering this sought-after amenity to help differentiate them from the competition to attract more residents.

While the decision to add a private backyard in a residential community seems like a no-brainer, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself (or your residential landscaper) before including a private backyard to your multi-family unit.

Is There Access to the Private Backyard?

When you’re considering adding a private backyard to a multi-family unit, think about the level of access if constant maintenance is required. How can maintenance teams enter the backyard when the area needs upkeep? For instance, if the only access is through the resident’s apartment, you could have a problem. It’s probably not in your resident’s best interest (or your resident retention stats) to have a team of landscapers traipsing through their apartment in dirt-laden clothes.

Are There Alternative Surfaces You Haven’t Considered?

Using low maintenance or maintenance-free options could be ideal for multi-family units or apartment communities lacking access to the backyard. Before you start adding any fencing, consider what will be in the backyard or what you can have in the backyard. Some options include:


It’s green, it’s alive, and looks great. However, grass needs weekly maintenance. If the area is small and the resident has pets, animals tend to destroy grass quickly, resulting in replacement services. Residents who have pets may need their backyards redone every year or two. It could end up costing more money later.


One advantage of gravel is it’s not alive, so it doesn’t require irrigation. Gravel is easier to maintain and only needs monthly maintenance. While gravel is more permanent, the uneven surface isn’t ideal for pets and can be a little more expensive upfront. However, the upfront expense may offset any back-end expense.

Synthetic Turf

A new option for multi-family units or apartment communities, synthetic turf looks like real grass. It’s a solid surface, doesn’t require maintenance, and can last up to 10-12 years.

Who Is Responsible for Upkeep?

It’s all fun and games until someone has to pull weeds and mow in the heat of summer or cold of winter. Will maintenance be yours or the landscaper’s responsibility? Find out during the consultation what your options are when it comes to upkeep and any extra expenses associated with it. You don’t want to be responsible for maintenance if that wasn’t in your original scope of work.

Are You Using the Right Landscaper for Your Needs?

Uncovering all the potential pitfalls before adding a private backyard will help you avoid issues once the work begins. The more information you get ahead of time from a landscaping professional will save you a possible headache—and expenses—later.

The great news is EarthWorks is always here to help consult you (at no additional charge) through the process of adding a private backyard to your multi-family unit. Contact us today for a quote.


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