Creating an outdoor living space isn't cheap, but it is a viable alternative for someone who wanted to build their dream home and now has to work with what they have.
"A lot of our clients wanted to build a green home -- but with the economy, work or being able to qualify for a loan -- that's gone," said Landscape Architect Paul Keeler of Deseret Land Design in Plain City. "To take out a loan is almost a joke. People have to work within their means, and some have pretty good money saved up. They can't get into their dream home, so instead they're making updates on the existing home. We're doing a ton of nice outdoor social spaces like outdoor kitchens, decks and patios that make you feel like you're in a new home."
Keeler said the outdoor room is an extension of the home with the same look, taste and feel. The outdoor room can bring privacy and the "wow" factor to the yard, help control the sun and increase the day-to-day usability of the yard.
"Continuity makes a successful design. If you have a terribly boring landscape, the outdoor room is the meat of the landscape. Make it useable. You don't have to redo the whole yard, just that one part ... Some people were going to build a pool in their dream home and decide to go ahead and do it in the existing home if they're going to be there a while," he said.
Brandon Brooks from R&L/Best Vinyl Fencing in Layton said putting a gazebo in the middle of the yard creates a social hub and can add segregation to a big yard. And decking products are now low maintenance.
"There's no maintenance, no staining, no painting, and grease doesn't sink in. People are trending toward that, because they are staying in the home longer and they want something that will last," he said.
Although landscaping upgrades don't always increase resale value, they do increase the number of offers you will get on your home, Keeler said.
"When you think about getting bang for your buck, think about both sell-ability and resale value," he said.
The upgrades also help you enjoy the home while you're in it.
"If you have a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen and an outdoor stereo system, you are really excited about having people over," Keeler said, "It's a new environment, an extension of the architecture."