Ever wonder what it would be like to have an outdoor living space equipped with all the bells and whistles you can only dream of. I personally believe that it is completely possible for anybody to achieve.
As you read this I think its important to note that these views come from a seasoned 24 years veteran patio designer and installer. That sentence was not meant to wow you or create some sort of credibility toward myself based on the amount of years I have been doing this.
What I do want you to take from that is the fact that I have had the wonderful opportunity to hear the feedback from many customer after they had the chance to utilize their new patios.
I made many mistakes from which I was able to learn from, sadly at the price of the poor homeowners of my past.
This article is designed to inspire the homeowner and open their eyes to the benefits of having a backyard that is practical, inviting and more important, functional. I take a much different approach to what you will see out there on the web. Come with me as I take your mind on an eye opening experience.
It Begins with a Dream
So why do I have you dreaming so early in the patio planning process. I must be crazy to let your mind wonder the possibilities that could be your backyard outdoor living space. You haven’t even decided what you want to spent on your project and your brain has champagne tastes. That’s OK.
Take a Deep Breath, Let Yourself Go…Let’s Dream
Picture yourself sitting outside enjoying your favorite beverage while relaxing on a comfortable couch. Your dog is running back to you with the ball in its mouth hoping you will throw it again. Your kids are on the opposite side of you bouncing around their play set while your loved one is focused on making the best burger possible.
Well, all that is possible with or without a patio. Ok, then let me expand on your minds picture for one second. Imagine that the couch you are resting on is actually positioned directly in front of warm and well lit fireplace or fire pit. Right before you sat down you were able to grab your drink from the refrigerator located underneath the bar area. Your loved one has all the ingredients sprawled out on the outdoor kitchen countertop ready to rock this burger making experience.
That dream just went from very basic to really fancy real quick. The point I am trying to make here is that a patio does not have to be expensive if that is your choice. You can keep it within an amount that is realistic to what you currently have available to spend. However, if you do keep your spending to a minimum you will just be limited in the functionality of the patio.
Or you can do the alternative and you can take these few key suggestions we provide in this article into consideration before deciding on what you will spend.
The reason I insist on dreaming first before setting a budget is because all too often many homeowner think they that know what they want. They think that creating as minimal a space as possible and eliminating any extra features in order to meet their budget will give them the right place to spend time outdoors.
Then after its all said and done their is no purpose to the patio, nothing to engage you, not enough space so you feel a bit cramped. Other than grilling there is no reason for you to be out there, but hey, you made it within your budget.
Guilty as Charged
I am as guilty as the next guy. When I fist bought my house back in 2000 I put in a 13′ x 15′ patio. Well for about 8 years that patio became more of an unused storage area for my bikes, firewood, grill and kids toys. It wasn’t until I let myself dream and followed through that I realized the power of creating the right space.
Fast forward a few years and this 12′ x 15′ patio is now a 2 tiers patio equipped with a few bells and whistles to keep any man or woman entertained and engaged.
Here is a list of all the features I incorporated in my patio:
- Gas Fire Pit
- Pizza Oven
- Outdoor Kitchen
- Garden Wall
- Built-in Grill
- Outdoor Refrigerator
- Pergola w/ bed
- Outdoor Projector
- Hot Tub
- Low Voltage Lighting
- Seating Wall w/ Backrest
That story at the beginning of the article is my life. My family now spends so much time on our patio that we look forward to coming home and going right outside into our backyard.
At this point I am now looking for any excuse to have family and friend over on the weekends.
It was the best money we spent. However it came with a price. We needed to put a few things aside to make this dream a reality. It was the downturn in the economy and I had very little money, but I still made it happen and you can to. Its just a matter of wanting it bad enough.
In this image I was outside cleaning my coolers with the hose when my son and daughter decided to turn it into a "soakfest". So I blew up the inflatable pool and made it official. Notice the sombrero behind my daughter. Yes, we had a "South of The Border" themed fiesta the evening before.
That image is just proof of what can come out of the blue. Fun times and wonderful memories. In the next section we outline ways to make this a dream come true.
Making Your Dream a Reality
Ok, we made it past the long winded explanation on why you need to dream. Let me explain how that correlates to your budget.
As mentioned before, many people put a cap or limit on what they want to spend because they are unaware of the true benefits that designing a good patio space can bring. A well design patio gives you something money can’t buy. It allows to live a lifestyle that otherwise you may not have had. It buys back more family time.
If you are serious about creating the right patio then you very well may need to expand your budget select on of the options listed below. You very well may need to reduce your vacation spending or forgo the luxury edition of the vehicle you were eyeballing.
It sometimes boggles me how someone would not think twice about getting themselves a late model luxury vehicle for themselves, but have second thought about designing and installing something for the entire family to enjoy.
Here is some sound advice on what others have done in the past to make their outdoor living a reality.
- Putting the project on hold till next year or even two years from now. In the mean time you can set some money aside and build up on your savings. In due time you will be ready to make the commitment. Good thing take time.
- Have a designer create you a master plan that breaks the entire project scope down to 3 or 4 affordable phases. You can then have one phase built each year for the next 3 years. (Very Popular)
- Request to take a loan out for the project. You can choose to seek out a Home Equity Loan. There are also many companies that offer financing as an option for the payment structure. The plus here is that you get you entire space installed all at once.
- Ask your contractor if there is anyway to get an additional discount if you have your patio installed during the slow season. You can sometimes get upwards of 5% savings, depending on the company you are dealing with.
- Play the Lotto and hope for the best. Its OK to dream during the conceptual stage, but in order to make it happen we need to wake up during the planing stage. So this won't work...maybe.
If you are curious how I did it. I was not able to afford the whole shebang all at once, but I wanted something to enjoy right away. I opted to have my project broken down in phases. I took me 4 years to get to the last phase even though I broke it down to 3 phases.
After the first two phases were installed I went a season without my outdoor kitchen, which was a part of the last phase. You can take all the time you need to make you wished come true. No rush.
Make your backyard the place to be. Start to build on your everlasting memories with family and friends. It very well may sting a bit at first, but you will thank yourself in the end. Remember this is a 20 year investment that rewards you while you live there and makes it easier to sell when the time has come to move to a new home.