Is summer in South Lake Tahoe and with the temperatures rising everybody wants to make the most of their outdoor area. A great way to enjoy the outdoors in your own home is to ad a nice patio in your backyard where you can barbecue, entertain friends or just relax and read a book under the sun.
Evaluate your yard for a patio by understanding costs, the shape of your property, and variables such as sun and shade. In addition to helping expand usable square footage, patios add to the salability and curb appeal of your property, according to the American Society of Landscape Professionals. An attractive and functional landscape that complements the home and adds function increases value, too.
Here’s how to assess whether a patio makes economic and functional sense for your yard.
1- Study your lot – Get to know the characteristics of your yard. Watch patterns of light throughout the day to determine patio sites best suited for most shade, sun, or a combination of both. Also consider convenient access to the house, especially from the kitchen or family room, for seamless entertaining and maximum usage.
Evaluate locations that offer privacy from neighbors. Also determine a realistic size for a patio. Estimate the number of people you typically entertain and make sure there is enough space for them to maneuver.
Envision furniture and other future amenities, such as grills and service bars. Be careful not to skimp. A 12×12-foot patio should be roomy enough for a dining table and chairs for six people, with plenty of room for a 42-inch wide grill.
Lastly, consider your lot’s grade and how best to deal with any slope issues. Sometimes adding steps leading to a flatter, lower level is a less expensive alternative than re-grading or adding fill. Building two smaller patios rather than one larger expanse can keep costs for contouring your yard to a minimum.
2- Check neighborhood restrictions and permits – Become familiar with current setback requirements, zoning concerns, neighborhood covenants, homeowner association CC&R’s (codes, covenants, and restrictions), and local building regulations and permits. These are available by visiting your city’s local planning department or website.
When evaluating your yard, take into account any possible obstructions, this may include existing or old irrigation or drainage lines, or live electrical, gas, and sewer lines. If needing to navigate over these, it’s important to hire a professional.
3- Determine your budget – Expect to pay $1,500 to $2,500 for a professionally installed, 12×12-foot concrete patio. This includes removal of obstructions, such as shrubs and old walkways, miscellaneous cleanup costs, and the cost of the concrete and installation at $8 to $12 per square foot. To add stone or brick, figure a total of $15 to $20 per square foot.
While demolition costs may differ slightly depending on the lot, there is always some form of removal that takes place, whether it is an existing patio, obstructions on the land, or just leveling of an area for a flat surface.
Because 40% to 60% of the cost of a professionally installed patio is labor, do-it-yourself homeowners can expect to save hundreds of dollars, depending on materials.
Source: http://www.houselogic.com Published on March 18th, 2010.