Welcome to article two in our patio series. Last week we explored some of the benefits of installing a patio and the different materials available. Patios add an extra dimension to your outdoor entertainment and can add value to your home’s resale value. They are also cheaper (usually) than a deck, and have fewer maintenance and repair issues. Patios can be made of brick, stone, gravel, or concrete depending on which material is right for your budget, location, and backyard. Now, in this article, we’ll provide all the information you need to get started on your patio project.
As with all home improvement projects, planning is essential when it comes to patios. Not only do you need to understand zoning and building requirements, but you should also take serious consideration for usage expectations and resale potential. To get you started planning your patio, here are three convenient checklists to consider.
Checklist 1: Backyard Patio Potential
- Assess your family’s needs. Do you plan to entertain friends and family, use the patio for more outdoor dining, create a relaxing space for reading and writing, or maybe all the above? Determining what your primary uses will be for the patio will help you decide other items such as materials, size, and location.
- Consider convenience. Do you want quick access to your patio from the kitchen, or is the patio intended for use as a lounge area near the pool? How close does it need to be to a bathroom or the garage? Keeping your patio’s primary uses in mind will help you plan for it.
- Remember that the patio needs company. We aren’t just talking about friends and family, either. After you’ve installed your patio you’ll need to add tables, chairs, umbrellas, planters, and other items. Keep these in mind as part of your overall patio budget, even if you plan to acquire the things over time.
Pro-tip: to help you imagine your life with a patio, give it a trial run with stakes and strings. Plot out a potential area, cordon it off with string, and set up a few portables chairs and tables. This simple experiment will help you assess how viable the location is for a patio. If it doesn’t feel or look right, simply move the stakes and try again. Remember to adjust the size a few times to see what area is too much and what is just right.
Checklist 2: Planning and budgeting
- Find a contractor you trust. While patios can be a fun DIY project for experienced homeowners, they are best reserved for a professional. In a previous article we discussed key questions to ask a contractor before hiring them. A quality contractor will help walk you through the patio process, including a few of the items we’ll see in checklist 3.
- Budget and materials matter. Make a set budget and stick to it. Patios can be as elaborate as you can dream them, so before costs run away from you, consider the following: labor costs, materials, taxes, and fees (see checklist 3). Your contractor should work with you to create a clear estimate for labor fees and materials. Don’t move forward until you create a fixed plan for your patio costs.
- Building time and preparation. Depending on the materials, size, and location of your new patio, the building times can vary. We wrote a great article on when to schedule your home improvement jobs, and a patio is best installed when the weather is dry. Again, your contractor should be able to help you find a date that works for both of you.
Checklist 3: Zoning and taxes
- Town codes. While each town will have different building codes, there will always be one! Once you and your contractor agree on a plan, you will need to determine if it meets town standards. If not, or if it needs to be adjusted, your contractor can help. You will also find out about town fees and permit requirements at this stage.
- Property taxes. It is likely that your property taxes will rise when you install a patio, so you need to be aware of how much this will be. In most areas, this increase will be determined by the cost of the patio installation and the corresponding increase in the overall value of your home. To avoid fines and other issues, make sure the town reassesses your property value soon after the installation. You can also ask the town assessor in advance for an estimate of what the increase will be based on your proposed patio.
Finally, don’t forget maintenance! Whether you include patio care as part of your monthly landscaping expenditures, or handle the work yourself, there will be jobs to tackle.
At Morgan Contractors, we have more than 18 years of experience providing quality home improvement services, including patio installations, to the Tristate area. So, if you are looking for a safety-compliant, fully insured, highly reputable company for your next home improvement job, we are it!
For more information about our patio installation expertise, to request an estimate, or for general questions, please contact us today or call 201-401-1800.