7 Key Considerations for a Trouble- free Exterior Remodeling Project

A beautiful outdoor living space provides the ability to be just as comfortable and relaxed outside, under the sun and in the fresh air, as you are indoors. Many homeowners are planning an exterior remodel to transform a basic patio area into a gorgeous outdoor living space, but this task may be easier said than done. If you and your family are planning to enjoy a new outdoor living area, kitchen or pool next summer in the Dallas area, you better start the process this winter.

Many of our clients are surprised at how long the design, engineering, permitting and construction actually requires. A recent project that involved a freestanding pavilion with a complete outdoor kitchen, pizza oven and fireplace took 3 months to design and obtain building permits and another 4 months of construction to follow. It’s fairly common that a prospective client in Dallas will call us in March having expectations that they will be enjoying their new outdoor resort when the kids get out of school by the end of May. It simply cannot happen that quickly, and people are often extremely disappointed when they learn that.  There are numerous challenges associated with creating the perfect outdoor living space, and these tips can help you to overcome those challenges so that you can plan a space that you will love.

Define Your Space

Each homeowner may have a slightly different vision in mind for creating the perfect outdoor space. Some may want a space that has a cooking area, and others may want a space that is more focused on conversation or outdoor dining. Unless you have a very large yard, you may not be able to incorporate all of these elements into your space, and you may need to consider what is most important to you. Think about the outdoor living area that you and your family and friends would more likely use on a regular basis, and create a plan or design around that.

One of the most important factors related to a successful design-build project is choosing the right design team for you. Do your research and make a folder with pictures of completed projects that most closely aligns with your vision for the project. Houzz and Pinterest are two great websites full of pictures of completed projects that you can save in idea book files that can easily be shared with others that may be involved in the project. Once you have an idea book filled with pictures, you’re ready to start searching for the best design-build team that can execute on your project. When searching for you design-build team, make note of contractors that have a number of completed projects similar to yours and that work in your area. Most reputable contractors have a specific area that they serve within a x-mile radius of their office or only in certain neighborhoods within their service area. We recommend finding 2-3 design-build firms that you can interview separately and choose the one you feel is best suited for your specific project and someone you believe listens to your ideas and presents a clear path moving forward.

Think About Usable Space

While you are defining your space, it is important to keep in mind the amount of usable space that is available.  A small slab patio can easily be enlarged with poured concrete, pavers, or other elements, but you want to ensure that you have enough leftover space in your yard for other elements that are needed, such as green space for the kids to run around in. The outdoor living space should also have enough space for all of the furniture that you are planning on putting on it without making it feeling overcrowded. Room for maneuverability is also critical. The last thing you want is to crowd your patio area with so much furniture, a fire pit, a cooking area or other features that you do not have space to walk around freely or so that you feel claustrophobic in an area that is supposed to be used for relaxation.

Audio/Video – We are in the world of high tech entertaining.  More and more outdoor spaces are equipped with flat-screen TVs and surround sound stereo equipment.  Contractors can provide fully integrated electronic solutions so that music, audio/video, theater-style surround sound complete the environment.  Throw in an outdoor kitchen/bar with under-counter refrigeration and you have yourself an entertainment area.

Fire Pits vs Fireplaces – It may just be a natural fact that if you build a fire, people will gather.  A backyard fire feature as part of your exterior remodeling project provides a natural designation for people to congregate on a chilly night.  Outdoor fireplaces offer a stately and attractive architectural feature within a design.  Fireplaces are more elegant and serve as artwork for people to enjoy whereas fire pits are more for people facing each other, talking.  However, fireplaces are significantly more expensive than fire pits, mostly due to scalability, engineering requirements to comply with code.  Outdoor living spaces with fireplaces do need to be designed and built correctly to ensure proper draw and to maximize heat radiance.  And while a fire pit is a little closer to a rustic element, the functionality and aesthetics can really work in the right environment.  Fire pits can be a great alternative if, perhaps, budget or space limitations are the issue.

Outdoor Kitchens and Pizza Ovens – Including an outdoor kitchen as part of your backyard remodel is an investment for some, but it is becoming more of a standard in the Dallas area.  With interest rates so low, people are looking for way to increase the value of their home.  By investing in their home, they are able to enjoy the final outcome and reap the benefits when they sell their home.  A wood-burning oven, for example provides a way for cooking your own pizzas, veggies and meats.  It definitely becomes the focal point of any outdoor kitchen, bringing family and friends together.  

Natural Elements – When planning your space, it is very important to take all aspects of the natural environment into consideration – wind direction, sunrise, sunset, rain, etc.  Most outdoor spaces are being built with some sort of roof structure attached.  And, watertight structures allow for year-round casual entertainment and offer more protection for lavish outdoor furnishings.

For most people, a patio area simply would not be complete without beautiful flowers or lush greenery. You can add built-in planters to your patio design as one creative element. Another idea is to leave space for potted plants or to add flower beds around the perimeter of your patio area. Hanging plants can add an additional element of greenery to your space.

Control Lighting and Airflow 

An outdoor living area should be comfortable for you and your family or guests to be in. This means that elements like lighting, temperature, and airflow will need to be moderated in some way. You can also use screens and other elements to block the wind as well as fans to create airflow when needed.

An exterior remodel, and creating your most idyllic outdoor living space requires forethought as well as time and effort. Outdoor living hinges upon design innovation, deep technical knowledge, efficient execution and quality craftsmanship.  So finding the right Dallas exterior remodeling company to help you transform your backyard–and create your outdoor living area is key.  However, when you focus on these important factors, all your well-planned efforts will be rewarded when your perfect outdoor living space is enjoyed for years to come with your family and friends.

Capital Renovations Group is an award winning design/build home remodeling company and custom home builder serving the Dallas market since 1999.  Visit capitalrenovationsgroup.com to learn more.