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|3/7/2012||Trending in 2012 ... Turningn your inside out to maximize outdoor living|
Trending in 2012 ... Turning your inside out to maximize outdoor living
Questions to ask before hitting the deck.
RICHMOND VA Mar 7, 2012 - With the current state of the economy, the housing market has many people staying put and seeking creative ways to enhance their living space outside the home. According to a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the most desired outdoor living features are some of the most basic: light, fire, food and a place to sit and enjoy it all. Ninety-four percent of respondents said they want additional places outside the house to relax, cook and eat.
To ensure success experts say that there are critical questions to ask before building a deck, patio or other outdoor living structure. According to Rob Haislip of Archadeck Outdoor Living, North America’s largest backyard company, homeowners should take their time to plan the project and find the perfect professional to execute their vision.
"Homeowners want a good value and to increase their home’s worth, but sometimes, they rush the process," he said. "So, before any work starts, it’s essential to ask some very basic questions: How are they are going to use the space? What special accommodations are needed? What type of cooking, heating or lighting elements need to be included? Does anyone in the family have special needs that need to be considered? And, how will the use of the space change over time?"
Other questions Haislip recommends that homeowners ask include:
- What’s my aesthetic? To define your style, compile pictures of spaces and features you like, to discuss those ideas and options with your builder. Pinterest.com and HGTV.com feature many great photos and Archadeck.com just launched a free outdoor living design guide. Download the photos and show them to prospective builders.
- What materials should I use? Material choices should be made with a certified builder who can counsel about any issues due to dampness, shade, sun, an adjacent pool or other factors. Discuss your preferred type of maintenance and desired look over time (always “like new” or weathered?, for example).
- How do I choose? Get referrals and references. Ask each contractor about their process for building your project. Do they obtain all the appropriate building permits and coordinate all the required inspections? Will they provide a detailed construction plan along with a written contract and specification sheet showing the types of materials to be used on your project?
- How do I protect myself? Ask to see the builder’s license and insurance credentials. Are workers covered by their workers compensation when on your property? Do they offer a written guarantee? What does it cover and for how long?
- What’s the value? Are the workmanship and materials high quality and reflective of the investment? How long will the new structure last? How will it change the value of the existing home?