Maximum Value Outdoor Living Projects: Patio

Learn cost effective ways to maximize your patio's potential and add value to this outdoor living area.

A patio installment or upgrade can easily turn an empty backyard into an elaborately decorated outdoor feature. The perfect spot to relax, entertain and cook, patios are making a comeback at all stages of the market.

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Concrete stamping. A cost effective way to add visual interest, stamping gives concrete the look and feel of a more expensive stone like brick, flagstone, cobblestone or slate, but allows for flexibility in design. Also, because stamping is a customized project based on your wants and needs, pricing can fit a wide range of budgets.
  • Colors and stains. In addition to stamping, color or staining can spice up any average “slab of concrete.” By adding either a base color to the concrete mix or staining the cement once it’s laid, rich color schemes with depth and texture can mirror natural stone, wood, marble or even leather.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

According to appraisal expert, Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, patios that see the biggest return on investment are the ones that seem to have been in place since the home was built. This doesn’t mean it should look worn out or old. Instead, Sellers suggests that homeowners should upgrade or add a patio with regard to the proportion of the home and property it sits on.

Not only does an out-of-proportion project throw off a home’s balance, but it also detracts from its home value. Just because an extravagant patio costs a lot to complete doesn’t always mean you will see a cost-worthy return when it comes time to sell.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: For those on a strict budget who don’t want to give up style, pavers can be a great option. Easy to install on your own, pavers can be customized with a variety of colors to tie in landscaping and architectural features. Also known for durability and flexibility, pavers offer a more temporary option that can be updated or moved around as you see fit.
  • Mid-Range: Take it a notch above pre-poured pavers and try a hand at stamping and staining yourself. Many home improvement stores or builder supply stores offer stamping packages that include all the materials you will need and start renting out around $150 for three days. It is important to understand the basics of pouring concrete before taking on this DIY project, so do your homework and get a couple friends involved to help with labor.
  • High-End: By hiring a decorative concrete contractor, colors and patterns can be incorporated with existing stone, tile or concrete elements already on the property. Complex designs like incorporating steps, courtyards and fountains can be achieved using the same stamping and staining techniques.

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