Summer's just around the corner, and if you're a home owner, chances are good your thoughts are on your backyard. Maybe you've spent all winter salivating over episodes of "Yard Crashers," "Landscapers' Challenge" and "The Vanilla Ice Project," or your Pinterest and Houzz accounts are bulging with ideas. If you're ready to convert your much-neglected plot of land into a backyard oasis, we say it's time to get to it.
You can take your backyard design in many different directions, and it's easy to get carried away and bust the budget. Keep it real and stay organized by creating a list of the features you'd most like your backyard to have, then prioritize and set a budget. Here are some of the more popular features to help you get started:
A New Patio
A patio is often the starting point of a backyard renovation. How large you make it depends on what it will be used for: Will you be entertaining a lot of guests, or is it just for you and your spouse to enjoy while you sip iced tea and read the newspaper? Your options for patio pavers are brick, concrete, stone and even rubber; don't be afraid to get creative with its shape and the placement of any bricks. Fixr.com places the average cost of a 12-by-16-foot patio around $2,000. If installation is done well, your patio could retain its original look for 20 years or more.
Is your backyard better suited for a deck? Nothing says "summer" more than enjoying an Indianapolis evening under the stars, and a deck increases the value of your home, too. You can plan the shape and size of your deck to fit with your existing landscaping and yard size. Choose a lumber type, color and width that fits your style and design preference. Experts estimate a new deck will cost you $15-$35 a square foot, depending on the type of wood you choose.
Spa or Hot Tub
A spa or hot tub brings an element of luxury to any backyard. You can integrate it with your landscaping or install it on your deck. CostEvaluation.com puts a new outdoor hot tub at about $2,000 to $6,000 installed. Make sure you budget for a hot tub cover as well; this is a must for families with small children and areas with four-season climates. You can get hot tub covers at HotTubWorks.com starting at under $300, delivered.
From fountains to waterfalls to a koi pond, water effects take your backyard to the next level. Add ambient lighting around these features to create a dreamy mood at night. If you want to go with a koi pond, bear in mind that experts recommend the water be three to four feet deep for the fish to thrive. According to howmuchisit.org, the cost of a professionally installed koi pond starts at $10,000 and goes up from there, depending upon how elaborate you get. The filtration system alone is around $3,000.
Of course, these are just some of the features to consider when creating your ideal backyard. Now get going, so you can kick back with a cold drink and enjoy the backyard of your dreams.
Looking to get the backyard living space of your dreams?
If your in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, consult with Gettum Associates, Inc., an award-winning design and remodel contractor based in Greenwood, Indiana. Gettum Associates carefully designs each project with your needs in mind and completes the construction of your deck, porch or patio to blend seamlessly with your existing to make it look as though it was always there. Click below for more information:
About the author:
Ray is a landscaper, mechanic and fix-it guy who enjoys sharing DIY tips and money-saving tricks.
Spruce up your backyard this spring
It’s that time of year again. We get the opportunity to trade in our winter coats for springtime shorts and venture out into our backyards. After being stuck indoors for months, we tend to look at the outdoors with a new perspective.
Plant a New Garden
Planting a new garden is a massive undertaking. The first step is to figure out how large you want to make the garden bed. The bed should be about 20 x 25, if you have the space for it. This will give you the maximum space for
Now that you’ve figured out how large your garden will be, you have to think about location. Your garden will need ample sunlight— at least five hours a day. When you plant your garden, try to free up the space around it of weeds, bushes and trees. Your flowers or produce will have a better chance of thriving. If you have a densely vegetated yard, you may need some extra help such as hiring a professional or a backhoe rental from Sunbelt Rentals. With a backhoe, you’ll have to dig a rut around your expected garden placement. The rut should dip below the nearest root system. Using a backhoe for this process will make things go much smoother and faster.
Once your rut is dug, place a heavy material, something roots can’t break through, into the rut. Fill it back in with the freshly dug soil. You should dig about two feet into the ground to ensure that your garden has plenty of vitamin-rich soil to feed.
Plant New Grass
If you’re not looking to go as aggressive as digging up your backyard and planting a brand-new garden, laying down new grass may give you a fresh perspective on your yard.
Before you start planting, test your soil for available nutrients and ph levels. Take samples from several different parts of your yard. Make sure the soil you remove is more than eight inches deep into the ground. There are plenty of local organizations that can test this sample you’ve produced. Contact your lawn care service for more information.
A simple roto-tiller will aid in preparing your lawn to be seeded with new grass. Set the tiller for a six-inch dig and run it over the portion of the yard where you want grass. If your lawn is new, this tilling should suffice. If not, you’ll want to obtain a verticutter. The verticutter creates perfect planting rows out of freshly dug and sifted soil.
The verticutter can also help you plant your new grass seed. The general recommendation is to throw your seed and verticut at least one time. Then, lay some more grass seed and use a hoe to displace this added seed. This process will give you a better coverage of grass. Once your seed is ready, water the ground immediately. Continue to water for one week after the grass starts to break through your yard.
Courtney is a yoga teacher and naturopath who writes for a variety of health and exercise blogs from her home in Maine.
Are you considering a deck, porch or pergola?
Consider Gettum Associates, award-winning Indianapolis area home remodel contractors for your next backyard and outdoor project.
Increase Your Home’s Value by Adding a Deck
A lot of home improvements are designed not only for comfort, enjoyment or convenience, but also to increase the value of one’s home. Given the fall in home prices, this is the case now more than ever. Of the many home improvement options out there, building a deck is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to add value to your home.
Outdoor living spaces add additional room to your home without having to worry about many of the expenses involved with building an additional room. Depending on where you live, your house value may increase by anywhere from 85% to 95% of the deck’s cost. Not to mention, it will leave a good impression on prospective homebuyers as they imagine relaxing and entertaining guests outdoors.
The added value from a deck will diminish over time, but the rate at which it diminishes can be influenced heavily by the type of decking material you use. Wood decking carries cumulative maintenance costs and deteriorates much faster than alternative materials. Composite decking also contains wood, so it will eventually suffer many of the same problems. Cellular PVC lasts the longest and keeps your deck looking new longer, helping to maintain its value for a future sale. Beware, though, that not all cellular PVC is created equal. Do a little research to find out how different brands are holding up over time. The most weatherable boards are finished with high performance acrylics to prevent fading and staining.
As wood and composite alternatives continue to grow, more and more prospective buyers will be interested in decks constructed with cellular PVC. When compared with the alternatives, building a deck is clearly one of the best options for those seeking to add value to their home for immediate or future sale.
This is a guest post from Anthony Esh. Anthony writes about outdoor living spaces for Gossen Corporation in Milwaukee, WI. Gossen Corporation produces cellular PVC home exterior products. More of Anthony’s writing can be found on Gossen Corporation’s Blog.
Looking for a deck for your Indianapolis are home? Want more information?
If your in the Indianapolis Indiana area, contact Gettum Associates, an award-winning Greenwood Indiana remodel contractor located in Greenwood Indiana. Gettum Associates has completed hundreds of projects and has been awarded the Angies List that has completed hundreds of projects around the central Indiana area.
Deck maintenance-Indianapolis home advice
How often should a deck be cleaned and how long does a sealant last?
QUESTION: I’d like to make sure that I’m on the right maintenance schedule for my deck. How often should I have it cleaned and how long does sealant last? - Bob Ryan
ANSWER: That’s a great question Bob. Many people realize too late that without proper maintenance the lifespan of your deck can be surprisingly short. First let me say that spring, summer, and fall are typically the best time for deck maintenance. The key factor is temperature.
Almost all deck preservative products cure and dry properly when the temperature is at least 50 degrees. Cleaning and sealing your deck depends on climate, weather, and sun exposure. Decks in the direct sunlight tend to fade and dry out. Decks in humid and shady areas may grow algae and fungus spores. Both problems require attention yearly, or no later than two seasons apart. One additional factor to consider is your choice of products. Having your deck cleaned and sealed with quality products will help prolong your enjoyment of your outdoor getaway.
Do you have questions about your Indianapolis area home or need advice on home improvement and remodeling? If so, "Email the Expert" and get answers to your questions.
Begin planning your porch now and enjoy it this summer!
Spring is right around the corner, now is time to plan your outdoor deck, porch or pergola project. Chances are, contractors are busy consulting with clients about upcoming spring and summer projects. If your considering an outdoor project to your Indianapolis home, don't put off contacting a reputable central Indiana contractor. The quicker you plan, the quicker your project can be under contruction and completed in time to get a full season's use.
Whether or not your considering a deck, screen porch of pergola it is important to plan ahead. Where would the new structure function and look best? What are the natural traffic patterns coming out from the house? What about existing landscaping? These are all great questions to consider when planning your project. And dont be afraid to talk to a professional.
Hiring the right remodel contractor can be key to the success of your project. You should expect your contractor to be able to answer all the questions above. Further, they should be able to advise you on the right materials for your particular needs. For instance, if you have pets or children, upgrading from standard mesh insect screening to heavy-duty Phfeifer Pet Screen is a worthy investment. Thinking about using synthetic or composite decking? A professional remodeler should be able to give you the pros and cons of each of your potential selections. For more information on choosing the right remodel contractor, download our free guide "6 costly mistakes to avoid when selecting a remodeling contractor".
As mentioned, if you plan to consider the services of a remodeling professional, now is the time to make the call. Most contractors are quite busy with planning upcoming projects. Maximize your enjoyment of your new outdoor, get going on planning your dream backyard!
In the Indianapolis area, check out porch pictures at the Gettum Associates website. Give them a call for your outdoor living area needs.