3 Things to Consider Before Constructing an Outdoor Living Space

Upgrading your home’s exterior by adding an outdoor living space can be an expensive endeavor but a proper outdoor living area can enhance your lifestyle and increase the value of your property.


In a post-recession period, prudent spending hails supreme. Instead of putting hard earned cash in expensive room additions, the wisest homeowners will quickly invest in cost-effective exterior remodeling projects to boost the appraisal value of their home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value report of 2015, an outdoor living space can add value by providing another enjoyable living area to the home at a lower cost per square foot as opposed to adding another interior space or addition.

This statement could entice even the most zealous indoor enthusiasts. However, there are many considerations to be aware of before constructing an outdoor living space. So before you put your work gloves on, here are three things you need to keep in mind before adding an outdoor living area to increase your bottom line: Budget, Labor and Materials.


Knowing the costs associated with making your ideal outdoor living space a reality is an important first step. Set a realistic budget that will cover your minimum expenses, then, establish the maximum amount you would be willing to pay for extra additions. To be safe, make a checklist. Will you be hiring a contractor or “DIYing” it? Are you using traditional wood or alternative materials? What enhancements will you include? These questions are great to ask yourself when drafting a budget.

Your initial budget should include the costs for design, materials, labor and any extras you will use to enhance your space. The size, shape, elevation, and built-in accessories added to your outdoor living space such as benches, hot tubs, lighting, or fire pits will greatly affect the total cost of your project. However, do not be afraid to tweak your budget as the need arises. Ultimately, flexibility is important when taking on any home remodeling project.

Overall, the amount you spend on your project will play a big part in determining how much value your outdoor remodeling project will add to your home.  Knowing your needs before you start, calculating the costs and sticking to a budget will save you significant amounts of time, energy, and most importantly, money.


Selecting the right method to construct your outdoor living space is crucial. Whether you are hiring a remodeling contractor, “DIYing” it yourself or enlisting a deck installation company, the quality of the work needs to be impeccable to enhance the value of the space for years to come.

If you are a seasoned “DIYer”, constructing an outdoor living space without enlisting a professional can be a viable option. But remember, safety is key! Even if you are confident in your construction skills, always wear personal protective gear, familiarize yourself with local building code regulations and the manufacturer’s instructions and know when to ask for professional backup.

On the other hand, if you are not familiar with the nitty-gritty details of construction safety, permitting restrictions and building code compliances, or you simply do not have the bandwidth or expertise, hire a pro to help you out. A professional contractor can manage complex projects that require a fine-tuned level of skill. So before hiring a professional contractor, consult other home remodeling and design platforms like Houzz, Home Advisor or Guild Quality and the manufacturer’s website for experienced builders to find the right contractor to fit the specific needs of your project.  These platforms have an array of project inspirations that contractors post to entice potential leads. However, it is important to spend time reading what past customers have to say about their contracting experience. Often, these review sites act as social networks comprised of former patrons who write reviews to help others make more informed decisions before hiring a contracting professional. Having their input on a similar project you may be considering can save you from making a costly mistake in the future.


When constructing an outdoor living space, materials matter! Determining the needs of your space and lifestyle is an important first step when choosing materials. Any expert in the decking industry would recommend selecting materials that are designed to withstand the elements and everyday wear and tear if you want to get the most value out of your outdoor living space.

According to industry studies, traditional wood leads the pack when it comes to materials that homeowners select to construct an outdoor living space. For many thrift-minded homeowners, wood is a cost effective material that boasts a high return value. According to Remodeling Magazine's "Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for 2014", 87.4% of the cost of building a wooden deck may be recouped during resale. However, a wood versus composite decking study conducted by Fiberon, a leading decking manufacturer reveals that homeowners spend on average $450-$850 maintaining a wood deck each year. Wood decks are highly susceptible to rot, deterioration, pests and discoloration, factors which account for its high cost. On the other hand, composite decking recoups 74.3% percent of the cost upon resale.  But unlike wood decking, composite decks require less upkeep and have an annual maintenance cost between $5-15 over the lifetime of the deck.

In order to make a cost-effective decision in this case, it is important to consider which material best fits within your budget and lifestyle. Still, if you are not satisfied with wood or composite, consider materials like aluminum, stone and PVC which are excellent alternatives that fit a wide range of needs and lifestyles.


Regardless whether or not you built your outdoor living space to increase your property value, you deserve a space where you can build lasting memories. After all, one of the best ways to measure the true worth of your outdoor living space is assessing the value it adds to your life and sense of wellbeing. So put down the calculator! Have a realtor or licensed appraiser assess the monetary value of your addition while you spend well-deserved time enjoying it with family and friends.

  • Dani Grey

    Decking is a fun home improvement project. I don’t think that there’s a lot of people who have made decks who didn’t at least somewhat enjoy it. The way I like to describe it is that it’s making a play gym for adults. Not as many slides, but it is a place where you want to be able to have fun outdoors.