Outdoor Improvements

Outdoor Improvements

Outdoor improvements maximize living and entertainment space without dramatically impacting overall costs. pergola-300x199

They also increase your home’s value: 51 percent of buyers surveyed this year said that outdoor living space was the most attractive quality in a home, over even open floor plans and curb appeal. To that end, more than half of homeowners said they would be improving their home’s outdoor footprint this summer.

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And there’s more: Outdoor Improved living spaces, defined as kitchens and entertaining spaces, were the second most popular trend in outdoor design, following gardening and landscaping, according to the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey of landscape architects.

Adding an outdoor living space can be rewarding both personally and financially, so consider these projects that pull double duty.

1. Outdoor Improvement Pergola16x16-phoenix-cedar-pergola

Pergolas are archways that cover a patio or dining area and typically have a wooden slatted roof. Installing one over your existing patio or deck provides several benefits, including better shade, opportunities for more greenery and lighting, as well as protection against bugs should you choose to install breezy curtains.  The additions, such as vines, hanging flowers, strings of lights or fabric doors are relatively inexpensive flourishes. According to the landscape architecture survey, 83 percent of homeowners and buyers are into these.

2. Outdoor Improvement PatioPatio_0315

Adding a whole deck is pricey, but it also effectively adds a whole outdoor room, plus decks provide a high return on investment at 74 percent for composite and 87 percent for wood, but they can be expensive! Conversely, you can build a paved or stone patio for about 30 percent less. Patios, terraces and decks are high on the wish list for homeowners and buyers, a whopping 98 percent want them, according to the landscape architecture survey.

3. Outdoor Improvement FIREoutdoor fire

While fire pits or fireplaces may not be the most immediately enjoyable outdoor addition, they continue to poll well in surveys of buyers and homeowners, and with a cooler-than-usual summer expected in some areas of the country, that may make a small fire desirable in the backyard. Fire pits can be very inexpensive, for a simple, transportable pit. Installing one starts a bit more, while installing a fireplace is more expensive, the value added by the aesthetic is much greater, depending on design. Fire pits and fireplaces ranked third in the most popular outdoor living features on the landscape architecture survey.

4. Outdoor Improvement Kitchen paver-stone-kitchen
A Grilling Island can take your outdoor entertaining to a whole new level. Having a grill is great, but having an outdoor kitchen opens up new possibilities in the world of outdoor cooking. Prepare full meals and take advantage of all the amenities that are available in today’s outdoor kitchen.  Built in Grill, Warming drawers and pizza ovens are very popular. Save trips inside by installing an Outdoor Refrigerator into your backyard grilling area. Most models are compact enough to fit conveniently into a small space, while still having enough cold storage to hold your condiments, produce and marinating meats.  Eliminate trips to the kitchen during dinner parties by adding a Bar and Beverage Center to your outdoor entertainment area. The convenience of having everything at your fingertips will bring simplicity to your entertaining style – some models have a built-in sink and faucet, blender, ice drawer, bottle storage rail and additional storage space.kitchen-pergola_172x85

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5. Outdoor Improvement Landscaping
Gardens and landscaped spaces are perennially popular, and though they may need the most annual maintenance of everything on this list, not all gardens are so needy. Look for native plants or drought-tolerant plants that thrive in your region, which are both low-maintenance and typically less expensive. Also consider adding shade trees or tall shrubs near windows that have the added benefit of lowering energy bills in the summer by blocking the sun’s warm rays from overheating your home.

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