When the weather is fine and warm, nothing beats relaxing with loved ones outside. Spruce up your backyard and transform your outdoor space with this inspiring and comprehensive patio renovation guide.
Why invest in a patio renovation?
Renovating your backyard is about more than adding bricks or decking and pretty garden furniture. Transforming your outdoor area extends your living space, so you can enjoy your entire home in summer and spend a little more time outside as temperatures start to dip in September.
There are various backyard renovations to consider, and the type you choose will depend on several factors, such as the size of the space, your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences. Below, you will learn how to design the ideal outdoor space for your needs.
Benefits of patio renovations
Whether you plan to create the ultimate entertainment area for gatherings or a private outdoor oasis for your own peace and quiet, there are many benefits to a backyard remodel. Imagine a shaded patio or deck where you can relax, take in nature and recharge without leaving home. Or an outdoor kitchen with a grill where you can spend quality time with friends and family on a balmy evening.
Even if your area or budget is limited, you can upgrade your backyard and increase your home’s value with a few simple changes. Before you decide on the alterations you’d like to make, let’s look at some of the benefits of patio renovations and why outdoor space is so important.
1. Adding a patio, deck, fire pit or outdoor kitchen can increase your enjoyment of your property. Suddenly, you have more usable space, be it an additional entertaining area or a lush sanctuary in which to devour a good book.
2. A covered patio prolongs the lifespan of your greenery. Canada’s cold weather conditions mean that plants have a short growing season. However, a covered patio will protect them for a little longer.
3. If your outdoor space is covered or partially enclosed, you can use the space in fall and winter, too! Imagine soaking in the hot tub while it rains or snows—absolute bliss!
4. One of the major benefits of patio renovations is improving the resale value of your home. Prospective buyers will always appreciate extra living space, especially if it’s well designed, maintained, and functional. In fact, a renovated outdoor space might be the reason a buyer chooses your house over another.
Types of patio renovations
These backyard renovations could improve your quality of life and bring you a return on your investment:
1. Patio A patio is usually a paved area (on ground-level) at the back of the house that is open or covered. It often features patio furniture for relaxing or an outdoor dining area for entertaining. If you have an in-ground pool, you should consider incorporating it in your backyard project design.
2. Deck A desk is raised above the ground and can feature one level or several.
3. Porch A porch is attached to the house (either at the front, back, or all the way around). It can be open or closed to the elements, giving you a space to use throughout the year.
4. Outdoor kitchen An outdoor kitchen makes entertaining a breeze. It can include a grill, bar fridge, and counterspace for preparing food outside. Plus, you can use it throughout the year (if it is covered).
What you do with your backyard remodel depends on your budget, lifestyle, the design of your home and how much space you have available. Think about the look and feel you’d like to create as well as how you plan to use the area. Search online for ideas and then speak to a few experienced contractors and a real estate professional).
EspaceProprio Tip Always keep your home’s size and value in mind. There’s no point overinvesting in the backyard if there’s no chance of making back that money when you sell. Consult with a real estate professional who has experience in your suburb before you start your upgrades.
How much do patio renovations cost?
Always remember that sprucing up your backyard or patio need not cost a fortune. With well-designed lighting, comfortable and stylish seating and a bit of love, you can create a charming space that ticks all the boxes. For more intricate projects, you’ll need to consider layout, drainage, and grading, all of which can drive up the final fee.
The price of a backyard makeover is difficult to predict and largely up to you. If it’s a small project, you might get away with doing most (or all) of the work yourself to keep costs low. However, if you have an ambitious and luxurious backyard in mind, you’ll need an experienced team (and a thicker wallet).
Professional labour can be pricey, but your project may require the use of tools you don’t own. So, if you’re doing the work yourself, you may have to purchase or rent equipment, adding to your expenses once more.
Another factor pushing up the cost of a renovation project is the materials. A small concrete patio is reasonably affordable, while a tiled or paved area is instantly more expensive. There are many materials you can use to build your outdoor oasis (including stone, cement, clay and gravel), but the two most popular types for patios are brick and concrete. Each has its advantages, but generally, concrete is considered stronger with less maintenance, while brick is easier to design with and install yourself.
Once you have a detailed concept of what your ideal outdoor space should be, get quotes from a few credible contractors. If the cost is beyond your means, look at ways to cut back, such as renovating a smaller space or using cheaper materials, less labour and more DIY.
When to start your patio renovations
Ideally, your outdoor space should be ready by the time summer arrives so you can make full use of it. In this case (and depending on the scope and complexity of your idea), the best time to start planning your renovation is in fall or winter. However, for simpler projects (without major construction), you could start any time. Bear in mind that choosing a design and finding a reliable contractor can take a while, not to mention ordering materials (which could take several weeks).
Another key consideration is the municipal regulations regarding patios in your area. For outdoor projects, permits and landscaping plans are often required before alterations can be made. Speak to your contractor who will probably be aware of these constraints and can include them in your project’s scope, budget and timeline. Unfortunately, waiting for approval could slow things down.
5 steps to renovate your outdoor space
Gather examples of your ideal outdoor space from magazines, books and websites like Pinterest, then speak to a few credible renovation companies and real estate professionals. Find out what’s possible with your budget, what you’re permitted to do (given municipality constraints), the value of other homes in your area, and which renovations will reap the best return on investment.
2. Choose your location and layout
Always keep your current lifestyle and habits in mind. If you hate cooking, will you really need a fully equipped outdoor kitchen? Do you plan to have large parties or small intimate gatherings? Are you prepared for the maintenance of owning a hot tub? These are all key considerations that will help determine the size and layout of the space you need.
Think about how you plan to use the area. A dining section will require access to the kitchen so it’s easier to carry food and dishes in and out. A patio or deck with comfortable seating and lounging might be better located near your indoor family room to extend this living space. If you want the area to bathe in sunlight, it will need southern or western exposure, but remember to provide shade with an umbrella, canopy, or pergola.
To get you started, here are four possible layouts for your outdoor renovation:
Living room A patio or deck furnished with comfortable couches, cozy chairs and a coffee table. A relaxed and informal setting.
Bistro-style This design works well for small areas. Includes a small bistro table with chairs, an umbrella for shade and brick or cobblestone paving.
Dining A dining table with adequate seating for your family, plus guests.
Poolside A patio or deck that incorporates a pool and bar. Furnished with lounge chairs and cocktail tables.
3. Hire a professional
While a DIY patio project will reduce costs, the benefits of hiring an experienced and trustworthy team of experts cannot be overlooked. This is true even if it means cutting back on some of your ideas, choosing more affordable materials and working with a smaller area.
However, it is crucial that the team you choose is reputable, insured and licensed to complete outdoor renovations. If not, you could spend thousands of dollars on low quality or unfinished work and be forced to hire someone else to fix the problems.
Protect yourself by comparing several companies, obtaining multiple quotes and checking references. Request examples of past projects and don’t fall prey to contractors who offer unrealistically low prices. Instead, choose the professional who will give you the best quality and a customized design at a price that feels right.
4. Pick your materials
The materials used in your outdoor renovation will have a major impact on the final look, quality and cost. First, decide whether you will have decking, a paved patio or a combination of surfaces. Each has pros and cons, and it all comes down to the size of your space and how you’ll use it. With all materials, it’s better to hire an experienced professional to ensure the best possible results.
Decking This is better for uneven terrain or if you’re creating an area with a view. It also has a high resale value. Composite decking requires minimal maintenance.
Concrete patio While it may not be as stylish as decking, a simple concrete patio is cheaper and will last for many years. However, don’t attempt to do it yourself as it can crack easily and requires regular maintenance to look its best.
Gravel This might be the best option if you plan to do the work yourself. It’s affordable and easy to install, and you can create a stylish design that incorporates stepping stones and plants.
Tiles A popular choice for patios because of their aesthetic appeal, however, tiles can drive up the cost of your project significantly if it’s a large space. Ensure the style you choose is also durable and non-slip.
Stone This will give you the most natural look, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to install.
Brick While it has a charming finish, brick is porous and retains moisture. This makes it less suitable for cold weather climates where it’s more likely to crack.
Pavers These are available in various shapes, colours and sizes. They’re ideal for patios because they are all the same thickness (unlike stone), so they’re easy to install and perfect for DIY.
Maintaining your patio renovation
Another component that will influence your design and choice of materials is the level of maintenance required. Unfortunately, as your outdoor space is exposed to the elements, every material will show wear and tear eventually. Certain surfaces may need regular upkeep to avoid more costly issues later.
For example, composite decking requires minimal maintenance and care, but manufacturers recommend cleaning it every three to six months to keep it in top condition. Remember that taking care of your patio over time means you’ll be able to enjoy your dream space for many years to come.
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