Take a moment, close your eyes, and visualize the outdoor space of your dreams. Maybe it is a haven for you to hide away from the kids while escaping from reality in a lengthy novel. It could be a comfortable entertaining space for friends to come over and enjoy. If you are like me and your imagination knows no bounds, you could be picturing a wonderland that would make even Walt Disney envious.
Does your yard space suit your needs? We evaluate our indoor spaces so meticulously that we often forget that our outdoor spaces should be just as functional and habitable. Maximizing the potential of your outdoor space will bring your summer vacation right to your doorstep!
It is no secret that spending time in nature has positive effects on our mental wellbeing. Even though May was Mental Health Awareness Month, it is crucial that we make efforts to care for ourselves year-round. A 2020 study conducted by Kirsten Weir with the American Psychological Association (APA) found that being in nature can provide benefits such as “improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.” If creating an outdoor space that you enjoy being in can add to your life expectancy, it is not only an investment in your property but an investment in your health.
Relating to the topic of investments, property value must be considered when evaluating the viability of any home improvement project. In their recent Remodeling Impact Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) concluded that landscape upgrades, upgraded patios/decks, statement landscaping, outdoor lighting, and outdoor kitchens were within the top ten home improvement projects that add to resale value.
If you were on the fence about beginning any renovations to your outdoor space, this should be the incentive that you need to do so. The survey also found that “99 percent of NAR members believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer.” The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly does not apply to homebuying!
Simple upgrades could include adding flagstone to provide a walkway to your front door, planting trees/flowers, or adding lighting to your yard. These minor improvements could make a world of difference in setting your home apart from the neighbor’s. Larger tasks may require hiring professionals for maximum efficiency. Consider hiring a designer with a trained eye for spotting details we may often overlook.
While hiring someone to design a specific outdoor space that will suit your household’s needs is an investment, you can rest assured that you will walk away with the functional space you deserve. Nothing is more depressing than having a half-finished home improvement project because you ran into unforeseen issues. A professional should be able to catch any of these issues before they arise. The piece of mind is priceless. Give someone else the burden of taking all of the measurements, digging up those mounds of dirt for electrical, etc. Your nail beds will thank you as well!
When redoing outdoor spaces, a common trap that homeowners fall into is attempting to break up the project into pieces. While this method appears more manageable and budget-friendly from the onset, it usually isn’t. For one, the fluctuating costs of materials must be taken into account. With our ever-changing market, an item that you price at the beginning of the season may be more expensive after. This can put your entire project over budget and diminish the margins on your return.
This method is not the most conducive to maintaining a set budget, and it also isn’t the most effective for having a cohesive space. Think about it this way: when you renovate a kitchen, you choose the appliances, materials, and lighting to complement one another, correct? The same method should apply to designing your outdoor space. The flow of your space is an asset regarding its aesthetic appeal.
Make sure to check for permits required for any outdoor changes you intend to make! Of course, permit stipulations vary based on your location. For this reason, you can never be too cautious when checking the requirements for your area. If you plan to outsource your project, then this step may be completed for you. Some common projects that do require permitting are installing driveways, masonry work, replacing decks or porches, installing fences taller than 5 feet, etc.
However, landscaping projects, painting, and minor exterior repairs do not require a permit. Make sure to double, triple, and quadruple check! The last thing that you need is a fine from the city to take up any portion of your budget. You can find information about specific requirements on the City of Chicago website.
In Chicago specifically, an outdoor heater or fire pit is an investment that should be factored into your budget! After you finish perfecting your space, you’ll want to indulge year-round. Your hard work should not only be habitable in those few summer months. Imagine how sweet it would be to have an outdoor space to curl up and drink hot chocolate in those harsh winter months. The only issue you will have is getting the company that you are entertaining to leave!
Now is the time to make those plans concrete (no pun intended). The possibilities of what your outdoor space could be are endless. You have taken the time to visualize your dream space. Now let’s take the steps to bring that dream as close to reality as possible. Make a list of five must-haves regarding what you want in your new space. After you have finished those, add five things you would like to have if your budget allows. This list is a practical way to begin planning your outdoor renovation. Our Areté team is eager to collaborate with you on creating a space that will take your breath away! At Areté, we believe that each space we design is truly its own work of art. Are you ready to create your masterpiece? Call our outdoor space design experts in Chicago today at 773.610.4551