Column: By design: Evaluate cost, amenity priorities


Commentary by Bill Bernard

We love helping homeowners envision their ultimate outdoor living space, no matter the scale. Projects can be large or small but must always contain just the right mix of scope, material selections and costs. What if your grand design incorporates items such as decks, water features, patios, pergola, grill stations, fire features and landscaping, but your budget doesn’t allow you to have it all at once? It’s important to not let the scope and/or scale of your outdoor living project outpace your budget. It’s vital to discuss your budget at the very beginning of the process and avoid the disappointment of sticker shock. If, because of cost, you find yourself considering abandoning the project, there are other approaches to consider.

It’s not uncommon to reach a point in the design process where you need to take a step back and evaluate what elements are most important. Does your new deck need to have the most expensive version of composite decking, or will premium pressure-treated pine decking work just as well? Do all of the elements of your design need to be installed this year, or is it possible to install some of those elements in phases over time? Sometimes with the passage of time, our homeowners realize their priorities change and the ultimate design is modified to accommodate those shifts.

Stay home, be moved.