It’s a no-brainer that creating a welcoming outdoor space for entertaining, dining and relaxing will add value to your home: making your home as attractive as possible is always going to help make it more saleable and even if you’re not planning on selling, you will certainly value having that extra space to enjoy.
And, whilst there are a number of options when constructing your outside living space (screened porches or sunrooms, gazebos and decking are all possibilities), opting for a patio is often a much more cost-effective investment in the long term. Generally speaking you can expect to pay around $30-35 per square foot for decking; compared to $15-20 per square for an all-brick patio.
So what are the main factors you need to consider when investing in a patio?
The very first thing to do is to check with whatever local building codes and restrictions there might be – this includes finding out about zoning concerns, neighborhood covenants, or any homeowner association rules that may be applicable. You will need to go to your local town planning department to get as much information as possible, particularly checking for things like irrigation, drainage, sewer, electrical and gas lines that might be running through your property so that you safely plan exactly where to position your patio. Checking all this first will avoid potential costly mistakes in the build phase of your patio remodel.
Once you’re sure which parts of your yard are safe to construct on, spend a few days really considering where you will site the patio. You’ll need to consider how easy it will be to access the patio – for many people the ideal is to have the patio coming straight off the kitchen area to make it super easy to bring out food and drinks – and also think about how sunlight and shade tracks through your planned site. If you have a very sloped yard you will also need to think about how to resolve that issue – options include leveling the ground or building it up with aggregate, or a two-tiered patio with steps between might be the more economical choice.
Of course ultimately what material you choose for your patio will be decided as much by budget as aesthetic appeal. But it sometimes pays to do as much research about all possible material options to maximize your investment. For example, gorgeous sedimentary stone flagstone is highly desirable – but as it is prone to deterioration from natural elements such as UV rays and water, you will need to factor in adding a sealer to protect it and resealing it every 2-4 years. However, manufactured cement paver designs are now so well made that they look just like “real stone” flagstone, but are a lot less expensive and don’t need any extra maintenance. To compare the pros and cons of patios vs decking click here.
Considering the fact that most of the budget for a professionally installed patio is going to go on labor, you might be tempted to do your patio remodel yourself. There are certainly plenty of online resources to help show you how, and simple patio remodels are usually well within most DIYers reach. However, if you are doing it yourself, make sure you don’t underestimate the time it will take to complete the project and all the sundry costs involved in arranging for dumpsters, hiring machinery etc.
In terms of investment for resale, potential buyers will want to see three things with regards to patio design: is the patio spacious enough to welcome a large party and is it easy to access, how easy is it to clean, and are there any integrated features? This latter factor is worth thinking about at the design stage – arguably setting up a dedicated outdoor kitchen on your patio for al fresco cooking (such as an integrated built-in grill, a barbecue/ fire pit, or an outdoor oven) will attract buyers. But also consider little extras like built in seating, integrated flower planters or water features to add a little “wow factor” into your patio design. Often these extra features can be achieved for little extra cost but make all the difference in making your outdoor space more inviting.