Designing Your Outdoor Living Dreams: Low Maintenance and High Value Return

When my wife and I were selling our home several years ago, we were taken aback when the first realtor we consulted suggested that we could only expect to recoup 50% of what we had invested in our backyard. We had poured $130K into creating the perfect outdoor oasis – a free-form pool with cool decking, an outdoor kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, and native Texas landscaping. We were dumbfounded. Yet, despite the realtor’s skepticism, our backyard became the selling point of our home, fetching a higher price than any other in the neighborhood at the time. This experience taught us valuable lessons about the importance of designing outdoor spaces that are both low maintenance and high value. A well designed Outdoor Living Space ADDs value to your home.

Here are some key points to consider when designing your outdoor living dreams:

An Investment in Well-being: Understand that an outdoor living space is an investment, both in your home and your well-being. While it adds value to your property, it also requires care, cleaning, and maintenance. Consider your ability and willingness to maintain the space, especially if you have allergies, pets, or physical limitations.

Expert Advice: Install a variable speed pump on any pool.  Your pool water needs to cycle through the filter at least 2 times a day.  Being able to increase the speed of the pump helps maintenance and cleaning and helps the water clear faster. It is an established Law in the Universe: Your pool water will turn green a few days away from a major entertaining event. A variable speed pump will help tremendously in getting your water clear again.

Follow the 80/20 Rule: Design your space with the 80/20 rule in mind – 20% of your features will provide 80% of your enjoyment. Avoid overly unique and expensive elements and instead focus on accessorizing to reflect your personality. Opt for versatile materials and colorful accessories that accentuate your style.

Expert Advice: Stay away from glass or mosaic tiles.  The soils in Texas flex.  All glass and mosaic style tiles inevitably “flex” and pop out.  Instead, pick durable, well made tile that can withstand the flexing of  Texas soils and the elements, to include the hard water in the Houston area.

The Outdoor Kitchen Triad: When designing an outdoor kitchen, prioritize the essentials: a gas grill, fridge, and storage. Gas grills offer versatility and are the cornerstone of outdoor cooking spaces. Consider accessorizing with additional items like counter top wood-fired pizza ovens or standalone specialty cookers (kamado style grill, deep fryers, etc) to enhance your cooking experience.

Expert Advice: You never have enough electrical outlets.  Your backyard is going to be torn up, might as well figure where you could use a plug for landscape lighting, or lighting affects. For hard to reach outlets in eves or areas far off, opt for “smart” outlets.

Visual Impact and People Flow: Consider the visual impact and flow of your outdoor space. Create a WOW factor by strategically placing focal points and ensuring smooth transitions between indoor and outdoor areas. Pay attention to walkways, seating arrangements, and potential hazards to optimize the usability and safety of the space.

Practicality Over Short-Term Enjoyment: Choose accessories that are both appealing and practical for long-term use. Opt for umbrella holders over volleyball net holders, and in pool portable stools over fixed ones to avoid damage and safety hazards. Plan for future needs and ensure that your design remains functional and enjoyable for years to come.

By carefully considering these factors, you can create an outdoor living space that not only enhances your lifestyle but also adds long-term value to your home. At Custom Outdoors, we specialize in designing and building outdoor spaces that strike the perfect balance between luxury and practicality. Contact us today to bring your outdoor living dreams to life!

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