Understanding the Value of your Outdoor Living Investment

Posted August 23, 2018 in Landscape Design

While the real estate market is still steadily doing its thing, it is safe to say that homeowners are becoming more open/accustomed to grabbing the reins and opting to perform home improvement projects more than before.  When a homeowner has decided to renovate their current home, an education is certain to follow.  Take outdoor living projects, for example.  Whether reimagining a current backyard or starting with a blank slate, a landscape designer has a significant responsibility to educate and guide homeowners through the journey.

Those who have not ventured into the outdoor living transformation process before, most likely do not know the costs associated with some of their wish list items.  While HGTV shows are very entertaining, they are tv shows after all, and their listed price of projects and features are often misleading.  To help avoid sticker shock once the time arrives to create your own beautiful outdoor oasis, let us help you understand the value of your outdoor living investment, so project costs don’t blow you over!

For some, an outdoor renovation is short, sweet and to the point.  Want a deck, get a deck…renovation over.  However, there is tremendous value in expanding your view to the backyard as a whole, as opposed to disconnected and piecemeal installations.

Joshua Gillow, Owner and Founder of MasterPLAN Outdoor Living explains,

“Thinking about the backyard as a whole will save homeowners money long-term.  Building a deck because you know you need a deck and stopping there in the planning process will not always do your wallet or property justice.  So often we receive phone calls in the office after homeowners have “fixed” their outdoor problem by adding a deck on the back of their home but come to find out that the space can barely be utilized because of poor planning.  A deck builder may not consider anything other than building the contracted deck, which does not help the homeowner for future expansion.  In this example, it is important to make sure that the deck staircase is located in the right spot to blend into a future patio, poolscape or whatever upcoming renovation may be.”

Collaborating with and bouncing ideas off your landscape designer is a guaranteed way your backyard will meet your continuing needs for the space.  Because every property is different, backyard transformations are truly a custom process.  However, Josh believes that each outdoor living space should have one underlying concept in common, destinations.

“There are three functioning spaces that must be planned for, at a minimum, in every outdoor living space.  The first zone is a grilling zone.  Whether a simply grilling station or a full blown, all-amenity kitchen, this zone will act as one of the hubs of your outdoor space.  This zone should be located close to your patio/deck doors to the inside, giving easy access to the chef and making it convenient for family and company.  The second zone should now be a little obvious, you need a place to dine!  A dining area, still within close proximity to the grilling zone, provides a place to gather and enjoy the wonderful meal that was just prepared.  This convenient location will equate to more use of the space on a daily basis.”

The last destination zone, Josh explains, is the lounge space.  “For a well-rounded outdoor living space, an area to relax and unwind is a must.  A zone with comfortable furniture will act as a place to reconnect with your family and friends, play cards, tell stories, flip over Monopoly boards in frustration, whatever the scenario, enjoying each other’s company is what it’s all about.”  Josh also believes, from a designer standpoint, that these three zones can be duplicated in a comprehensive outdoor living plan as it will just enhance the comfort of the whole property.  If a property is ample enough and the homeowners would like to make the most of their space, there is absolutely no harm in adding a second cooking station or lounge area down by the swimming pool.

Thinking of all of this property coverage lead me to ask Josh about the value of a landscape designer in regard to planning and permitting.  “Contractors often leave permit acquisition up to the homeowners.  As a landscape designer, I feel that it is necessary to bring/manage the permit process in-house and be the primary contact between the homeowner and the township.  First, we do our district research then provide the township with the proper documents, fill out all applications, answer any questions and make sure everything is code compliant to obtain necessary permits to build what we have created.”

Josh goes on to say,

“Our involvement and value is further recognized when issues arise in the review stage.  Unfortunately, there are some instances when homeowners need to manage stormwater before any work can be started on their property, no matter the scale of the project.  Most contractors do not get involved in stormwater management.  As a full-scope design/build firm, it is our duty; we understand the importance and necessity of stormwater management.  We have the right connections with registered engineers and the knowledge of different stormwater systems to select proper solutions while trying to keep costs as bearable as possible. Working closely with our engineers ensures a properly constructed and accepted stormwater management system, while being able to keep the aesthetic and integrity of our proposed outdoor living spaces in sight.”

With all obstacles out of the way, a stamp of township approval and a beautifully constructed outdoor living space in place, it is certainly time to enjoy.  A well-planned and constructed outdoor living space will add tremendous personal value for you and your family.  A professionally designed backyard that incorporates the three zones will add a tremendous value to your home as well!  When planned efficiently and designed beautifully, the resale value of your home will be higher.  It should be no surprise that potential buyers screen the backyard as much as they do the home itself, so if you’re looking for personal value as well as resale, a comprehensive and cohesive outdoor living plan will serve you best over a backyard quick fix!

Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, MasterPLAN Outdoor Living would love to partner with you to uncover the full potential of your property!  Designing is our passion, forging friendships and partnering with our clients is our purpose and installation is our craft!  When you are ready to open a conversation about your own backyard transformation, reach out to MasterPLAN; we would love to turn your outdoor living dreams into your reality!

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