Amp Up your Life, Your Yard, and the Value of Your Home
A few years ago my husband took early retirement and we downsized into a very small house; we wanted something simple, easy to care for, less pricey. Of course, even as I am writing this we are getting a $4000 plumbing repair, so maybe we should have gone even simpler with an outhouse. At any rate, the house is small, but the yard is big - we have a nice acre behind our little house and that is, essentially, where we live. That's where we hang out, relax, enjoy nature, garden, watch birds, tend to our small pond, and enjoy wildlife in all its various forms. This is where we find our balance, keep our sanity and stop to smell the roses. Or lilies, honeysuckle, lilacs, hydrangeas and citronella.
All that to say, don't ignore your outdoor space. Big or small, rural or urban, simple or elaborate, take advantage of what you have. It will improve the quality of your life, your property will look better, and some improvements will even amp up the value of your home.
Whether its a deck, a concrete pad or a paver patio, your outdoor space will need a foundation. This will depend on your tastes, your space and your budget of course. If you are a DIY'er, YouTube has a ton of videos that will instruct you (did you hear about the woman who built her entire home utilizing YouTube videos? not even kidding) There are benefits and down-sides to whatever you choose so do your research.
According to HGTV, a pressure treated wood deck will average about $15 a square ft; composite decking will cost about twice as much but will last twice as long
Concrete patios are the most budget-friendly at about $2 a square ft if you do the work yourself. Concrete used to be the least attractive option for an outdoor floor, but with treatment options like staining they can be absolutely beautiful. Pavers will run between $12 - $22 a square and have the advantage of being DIY friendly. Whatever you choose, installing a patio will make your outdoor space more enjoyable and will give it great curb appeal.
I can't begin to emphasize how popular this feature is or how it can improve the quality of your life and the value of your home. Outdoor kitchens take the heart of the home outdoors; all that comfy, homey, hang-out-in-the-kitchen can translate beautifully into your backyard. It can also amp your entertainment options; you can fit a lot of people into the great outdoors. Outdoor kitchens can contain everything from wine coolers to pizza ovens; they can be covered or tucked under a pergola; they can include a counter with stools, a wet bar, tile floors; you are limited only by your imagination (and of course your budget) A beautiful outdoor kitchen will entice you to experience your life outside and will add appeal and value to your home.
I love to sit on my outdoor sofa with my granddaughter and talk to her about the birds, the clouds, the flowers; her face lights up as soon as we are outside. Having a space where you can relax, read, converse, and just generally enjoy yourself is important; having that space outdoors is even better. Just like flooring, there are all kinds of options for an outdoor living room; it can be a contained space, an open space; you can add a pergola, an awning, a cantilevered umbrella for shade. Put in a fireplace, add a fire pit, decorate with weather-friendly items and plants. Use the space for me time, for us time, for gatherings and games. Enrich your home, enrich your life.
Nothing says luxury like an in-ground swimming pool or a built in spa. While experts disagree about how much value either of these will add to your home (some say it depends where you live, the length of the seasons and average temperatures in your area), most agree that a well-maintained pool or hot tub will certainly add interest to your home. More importantly, either will add value to your quality of life. Exercise, relaxation, entertainment value, aesthetic appeal; the benefits of adding a swimming pool or spa to your outdoor space are hard to measure.
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