Pergolas, porches, decks and other Landscape Structures – Five Things to Know

Pergolas, porches, decks and other Landscape Structures – Five Things to Know

Stop battling nature. Be one with nature. Whichever way you want to frame it, it’s never too soon to invest in creating an outdoor space.

It’s never too soon to get these landscape structures built because, let’s face it we live in an area known for its inclement weather. Why let weather spoil another Easter patio brunch, a July 4th gathering, or a graduation party? Imagine being able to set your outdoor table in advance, leave out patio cushions and serve food with out swarming bugs.

Landscape structures will transform your space and when done right is a wise investment. Here are five things that you need to know to dream it, build it and enjoy it.

Pergolas, porches, decks and other Landscape Structures – Five Things to Know
  1. Sketch your ideal landscape structure. Create a well thought out design that fits your unique space. Measure the size of the space you want to cover or deck with consideration given to existing structures, privacy, shade or sunshine throughout the day. Don’t skimp on the perfect design. Approach it like you were on HGTV and imagine the perfect structure. It’s easier to “value engineer” a project to be smaller than it is to under build and wish you’d built a larger or better designed space.
  2. Select the design and materials early. Choose a look that compliments your existing home style and gives you the best durability. Today the selection of materials is so extensive that you’ll want to narrow down what you like early in the process. We call it the “look and feel”. For example, if you have a colonial style home with a brick patio and ornate patio furniture, your outdoor cover or pergola materials and design can borrow from the same lines, features and finishes. Do use this opportunity to select low maintenance materials such as treated wood, anodized finishes or rust resistant hardware like zinc coated fasteners.
  3. Get a consultation from a professional. You’re now clear about what you need, what it will look like and the feel of the finished structure. Now you’re ready for a professional’s eye, knowledge and calculator. Good design is naturally innovative so as to be unique to your desires within the constraints of the yard. Keep your exchange to a conversation about what’s possible in order to get the most out of the professional’s experience. Give him or her your budget and let the professional come back with a variety of options to meet that budget.
  4. Choose the largest structure you can afford made from quality materials. The fact is that building landscape structures is like building a home. The contractor will do demolition and debris removal, digging and pouring concrete, framing, waterproofing and so on. It’s far more economical to have a large structure completed all at once. If you have to leave off some wish list items like decorative finishes or a built-in outdoor kitchen, you can always add those items later. A worthy professional will give you a clear cost analysis about the trade-offs to enable you to get the most out of your budget.
  5. Be present during the entire construction project. If you’ve selected a quality home improvement contractor you needn’t worry about overseeing the quality of their work, that’s not what we’re suggesting. Let the professionals do what they do. You want to be present, or available because decisions are made throughout the construction. No matter how well you plan there are always unforeseen changes to the plans, ordering mishaps or site adjustments. If you’re not available, the professional is likely to have to make the decision without you in order to not interrupt the carpenters, pavers, painters or whoever. If you’re onsite the two of you can consult and come up with the best solution.

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