Designing an Outdoor Living Space?
Be Sure to Ask These 5 Questions.
Gone are the days of basic patios and porches. Now more than ever, homeowners are opting for comprehensive outdoor living spaces encompassing everything from comfortable, all-weather furniture to full kitchens, wood-fire stoves, beverage stations, sound systems and more. Designed to extend their homes’ footprint while providing a truly exceptional outdoor oasis for family and friends, these spaces are increasingly popular—and great ways to immediate increase a home’s livability and overarching value.
That said, these projects often require significant planning, whether they’re DIY or professionally installed. Before you roll up your sleeves—or before you tap a pro—be sure to ask these critical questions to ensure you’re getting the outdoor living space you want, delivered on your terms.
#1. Am I DIY’ing, hiring a pro, or considering a mix of the two?
While this could be a budget question, often it comes down to the goals and interests of the homeowner—i.e. if they want to dig in themselves or not. Some opt to go it alone, others are completely hands-off and many fall in the middle—they hire pros to handle the truly heavy lifting, while handling some aspects like gardening or painting on their end. There’s no right or wrong answer here, so focus on what feels most comfortable to you. If you’re handy and like tackling home improvement projects, assume you’ll fall somewhere in the DIY/combo track. If you run from paint brushes and spackle, you’re likely going to go the pro route.
#2. What’s my budget?
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the endless options for outdoor living spaces—and there are endless. Instead, hammer out your budget now so you aren’t wasting time (or getting too attached…) on add-ons you can’t afford at this point in time. In a few years you can always add that pizza stove. For now, plan within your budget. In the short- and long-term, you’ll be happy you did.
#3. How much space do I have?
Some homeowners opt to take over their entire backyard with a modern outdoor living space—but many don’t. Before starting to lay the literal groundwork, decide how much of your outdoor space you want to devote to this project. Maybe you want 50/50 green space versus living space. Maybe you want the entire yard to be a paved entertaining go-to. Weigh your options and think about how you’ll use your outdoor space now and in the future. If you plan to sell in the next few years, be sure you’re thinking about that, too—what’s more likely to sell in your market?
#4. How will I really use this space?
While we all love to envision ourselves hosting under the stars night after night, the reality is that’s not the norm—in most cases, outdoor living spaces will be used for daily family activities. So, before determining next steps, think about those real—and common—uses. Are you avid grillers? Do your kids love hanging outside? Do you work from home—and, with this space, would you extend your home office outside? Think about the day-to-day and special occasion uses and, from there, map out the add-ons that make sense. Maybe that outdoor wine fridge is a must—but maybe outdoor lighting is a better use of your budget.
#5. What kind of upkeep will my new space require?
Maybe it’s just a quick spray with the hose or, maybe, it’s more extensive cleaning, repairs and servicing—either way, be sure you know the kind of maintenance your new space requires before signing on the line. Often extensive outdoor living amenities come with ongoing costs that may not be apparent until you start really using the space. Know what you’re getting into ahead of time so you can plan and, if necessary, budget accordingly. That five- or six-figure grill may need a few hundred dollars in professional cleaning every summer, while those new pavers may be completely maintenance-free—and that could be the deciding vote when you’re deciding what next.
Got questions? We’ve got answers. Contact Covenant Landscape now at 901-384-8074 to learn more and explore options for your outdoor living space.