Creating outdoor living spaces to enjoy all year

Real Estate

CREATING OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES TO ENJOY ALL YEAR

Outdoor Living Spaces in Demand

The National Gardening Association reported that homeowners in the United States spent close to $40 billion last year on all garden and outdoor-related services and products. And, according to real estate experts, these were wise expenses. It is estimated that for every dollar invested in landscaping projects, homeowners can see up to a $2 return on investment.

Fifty-one percent of buyers surveyed by Realtor.com earlier this year said that outdoor living space was the most attractive quality of a home – even more so than open floor plans and curb appeal. To that end, more than half of homeowners surveyed told Houzz.com they would be improving their home’s outdoor footprint this summer. What are they going to improve? A whopping 98 percent want to add or upgrade patios, terraces and decks.

Outdoor areas add living space without having to include walls and a roof. 
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, 95 percent of people want a complete outdoor living space with an outdoor kitchen and outdoor living area.

The most popular features wanted in outdoor living spaces are:

Grills & cooktops

Fire pits

Outdoor fireplaces

Seating areas

Lighting

Outdoor Living Area Tips to Share with Your Clients

The key elements to improving an outdoor living space and adding to your home’s value are:

Build an outdoor area. Patios and decks are very desirable for homeowners; however, they come with a hefty price tag. You can affordably improve your outdoor footprint with a stone or cement patio.

Purchase Outdoor Furniture. Bring your "indoor" comforts outside. Advances in all-weather materials, furniture and accessories are now available in so many sizes and styles that you can decorate much the same way that you would any room inside.

Splurge on a Good Grill. Depending on your preference, gas or charcoal, grills are the “hottest” commodity in your outdoor space. A built-in cooktop is a popular feature and makes outdoor entertaining fun.

Include a Fire Element. Whether you decide on a built-in stone hearth fireplace, a firepit or a chiminea, a fire element adds ambience and warmth to an outdoor space that can be used year-round.

Consider Entertainment. Be it an elaborate outdoor entertainment system, a wireless player or a portable stereo, music adds atmosphere and entertainment to the area.

Grow Your Food. A garden is a great addition to your outdoor area. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are not only an added visual attraction, they are economical and handy.

Lay Ground Cover and Stonework. Lawn maintenance is a major consumption of time. It can be reduced by adding stonework and ground covering to areas around your outdoor living space. Additionally, stone makes for safer grilling areas, fewer bugs and easy cleanup.

When Renovations and Major Improvements Are Out of the Budget

When making permanent additions and renovations to the backyard are not options, homeowners can still spruce things up and make their backyard an enjoyable part of their home by following these simple steps:

Step 1 - Clean. Clear away debris, toss out dead plants and plant flowers or herbs in unused pots.

Step 2 - Refresh. Outdoor furniture grows old and tired from sitting outside. A fresh coat of paint and new cushions add an instant facelift. The same applies for wood decks. If you have a deck, a strip and stain will make it look as good as new.

Step 3 - Enhance. Solar lighting can used be in lieu of expensive electrical lighting. 

Expanding the indoor living space to the outdoor living space not only adds value to a home, but also enjoyment.

EXTRA:   Tips for Keeping Your Grill in Shape

Begin with a safe foundation - Place a "splatter mat" (grill pad) under your grill to protect your deck from messy spills and grease drips.

Location, Location, Location - Your grill setup should be stable and in an open, ventilated space at least 10 feet from your home. Additionally, keep away from combustible surfaces and flammable items.

Maintain your grill grate - Clean your grill grate before your cook, not after, to prevent your grill brush from getting clogged up with debris. A preheated grill at 500-550 degrees will burn leftover debris to ash. Grill brushes of stainless will polish off the ash and clear the grate for an optimal cooking surface. For a deeper clean, place cooled grates in warm soapy water then scrub with an abrasive pad.

Keep your grill clean - For best results, use a microfiber towel and an all-natural stainless steel cleaner for stainless lids. Clean the other areas with warm soapy water, rinse and dry immediately.