Imagine a beautiful summer night where you and your friends and family are gathered on your patio, enjoying a delicious meal that you just prepared for everyone in your outdoor kitchen. The entire space has a warm ambiance from the nearby fire pit and it helps make the whole space feel even cozier.

Of course, if you want to be enjoying a space like this come summer, it’s important to start thinking about your backyard design ideas now. The fact is, large backyard landscape plans take time to plan for and build. A space like this is ideally planned in the offseason and built as soon as the ground warms up.

The winter is also a great time to start figuring out your budget. If you are planning to add a large outdoor living area then chances are, you’re also thinking about how much it’s going to cost.

 

Budgeting for Backyard Designs

Of course, we recognize that a lot of homeowners really have no idea what’s involved in the budgeting process for their outdoor living area as they don’t know how much landscaping costs. But in order to get the design process started, it’s important to have some idea of how much you’re planning to spend.

The best way to start developing a budget for your outdoor living project is to think about what your project will include. One way to do this without a clear idea of how much the features will cost is to divide your list into two categories: must-haves and add-ons that you want. By doing this, you can determine which items you might be able to either let go or to plan to build later if it’s out of your current budget.

“Building later” is actually a common approach that homeowners take when all of the features they want are more than their current budget can handle. For instance, while the patio space might be a must-have right now, the outdoor kitchen might be something you’ll have built later on.

 

A Master Plan

While you’re building later, this information is important to know in advance as you talk to a professional landscape designer about backyard design ideas. Even though you aren’t building it all right away, you still need to plan for the future of that space. If you don’t, it will be both a headache and an expense down the road. That’s because you may have to have your patio dug up in areas to run utility lines or to install footers (if you’re having a pavilion built), which could have been installed at the time of the patio’s construction. Though it will cost a little more upfront, it’s a smart way to plan for the future so that you don’t have to incur extra expenses—or headaches.

This is called “phasing,” and it’s a great way to think about a really large landscape project that you may not be able to afford all at once. Whether it’s a pool or a pavilion complete with an outdoor kitchen, these projects can be phased over several years in order to meet your budget—as long as you plan ahead for them with a master plan and a construction timeline.

 

Making Adjustments to Your Landscape Budget

Once you begin talking to a professional landscape designer about your backyard design ideas, you might be able to find some ways to cut costs while still keeping some of the key features that you want in your design. One way that this can be done is to explore material choices.

For instance, pavers can cost a lot less than natural stone—and many are even made to mimic the look of natural stone. By choosing pavers for your patio, you may be able to afford more. There are many different materials that can make up an outdoor living project and the price range can be dramatic. By working with your landscape designer, you should be able to find a material that you love and that meets your budget.

Similarly, if you are really set on a particular material, then your landscape designer might be able to cut back in other areas. For instance, if you really want a natural stone patio, you maybe explore the option of going a bit smaller in its size to make it more affordable.

In the end, the ability to work closely with a designer will help you be able to have the backyard of your dreams at a price point that fits in your budget. And by planning now, you’ll be able to enjoy it all by the time that summer rolls around.

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