Evaluate Your Yard for a Patio
Adding a patio to your property could immediately increase the value and appeal of your home. By expanding usable square footage, a patio will add salability to the home due to the added curb appeal and additional functionality. With so many options, it is important to do your homework to understand the costs, the best shapes to complement your property, and other factors such as sun and shade.
Some appraisal services have determined that patio recovery costs range anywhere from 30% to 60% depending on the region of the country and material choices. It has been said that the less elaborate and costly your patio is, the greater the return will be on your investment.
Here are a few ways to assess whether a patio makes economic and functional sense for your property.
Evaluate your lot
Get to know your yard. Observe the way patterns of light hit certain areas of your yard throughout the day to determine patio locations best suited for sun, shade, or both. To add functionality, consider proximity to your home and ease of access. To maximize usage and entertaining, it probably makes sense to position a patio so it is easily accessed from your kitchen or family room.
Privacy is also something that could be of importance in choosing a location and you may want to position your patio so it offers some privacy from neighbors or those strolling by.
Consider the size you will need to properly entertain, and give your guests (and yourself) enough space to move around. You will need to visualize furniture and other amenities, such as grills or a bar, so you can plan an adequate space. A 12×12 foot patio should be large enough to accommodate a dining table and chairs for six people, with plenty of room for a grill.
Finally, consider the grade of your lot and how to best address any issues with sloping. Sometimes steps can remedy the issue by providing access to a flatter, lower level. Steps are also a less expensive option compared to re-grading your lot or adding fill. You can also consider adding two smaller patios rather than one larger, which could help keep contouring costs to a minimum.
Investigate neighborhood restriction and permit requirements
It is important that you understand any codes, covenants, restrictions or zoning concerns enforced by your HOA or county/city. You will also be required to obtain local building regulation guidelines and permits, in most areas. For information, you can generally check your city’s local planning department or with your HOA representative for more information.
It is also important to consider any possible obstructions in your yard that could present an issue when digging. Obstructions could include old irrigation or drainage lines, live electrical, gas or sewer lines. You can generally enlist your local “dig alert” agency that will mark important underground utility lines. Numbers for these agencies can typically be found at the beginning of the phone directory or online.
Determine your budget
At a minimum, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500 for a professionally installed, 12×12 foot concrete patio, which is an average of $8 to $12 per square foot installed. If you prefer stone or brick you can estimate approximately $15 to $20 per square foot for installation. These costs usually include some type of removal, which can vary depending on the lot. This could include removing an existing patio, obstructions on the land, or just leveling an area for a flat surface.
There is always the option of “doing it yourself”, which would obviously offer significant savings. A patio, however, is an addition that should be designed and built to last a very long time, so it’s often worth it to hire a professional.