When you’re finally ready to tackle the backyard makeover that’s been on the back-burner for years, it’s understandable to feel a mix of excitement and feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s be clear: renovating your backyard is far from a small undertaking. Before you embark on this journey (yes, it is a journey), it’s critical that you think through your project carefully. To get started, here are 10 questions you should always ask before renovating your backyard.
1. What’s My Reason for Renovating My Backyard?
Before you start your renovation, make sure that you have a firm grasp on why you’re renovating your backyard in the first place. Which part of the yard do you believe could use an update?
Maybe you’re interested in creating a space that will allow you to do more outdoor entertaining—an area featuring a pool table outside or an outdoor kitchen. Or, perhaps you’re more focused on making over your deck. You might simply want to upgrade your landscaping to boost your home’s curb appeal. Knowing what project you want to tackle is an essential first step before you commence your backyard project.
2. Which Materials Would I Like to Use?
After determining what aspect of your backyard to focus on for your renovation, you’ll need to determine the appropriate materials for your chosen space.
If you’re creating a brand-new deck, you’ll need to decide between wood and composite deck boards. Various materials—ranging from natural wood to stone, concrete and aluminum—can give the space different looks, so choose those that fit with your style and desired decor. If you’d like to give your back entryway a vintage farmhouse vibe, be sure to incorporate distressed wood, brass hardware and things like rustic wall sconces into your plans.
3. What Budget Am I Comfortable With?
This is another incredibly important question to ask, as it will ultimately dictate how extensive your project will be. Be sure to establish a budget that will be adequate for transforming your backyard into a family-friendly space that you’ll love occupying with loved ones in the years ahead.
4. How Much Maintenance Am I Prepared to Do?
This is another important question, as various projects require varying levels of hands-on maintenance long term. If you’re doing getting new trees, consider their proximity to your home and whether you’re comfortable cutting off limbs later down the road; many prefer to leave things like tree pruning services to the experts. If you don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with the maintenance duties associated with a given backyard project, like a new pool, then you may not want to do that project. After all, failure to perform these duties will most likely lead to the need for more repairs and more expensive projects down the road. A lower-maintenance backyard project would probably be a better option for you.
5. What Structural Factors Should I Consider?
Ask yourself if any above-ground structures will impact your backyard renovation project. For instance, in your exterior landscape, you’ll need to consider the proximity of your target renovation area to surrounding structures or buildings. In addition, pay attention to utilities and overhead wires in the area. Also consider if you will have limitations when it comes to space below the ground in your yard.
6. What Soil Factors Should I Take into Consideration?
Soil factors are also important to consider as you begin your backyard renovation. For instance, what are your soil’s drainage characteristics and pH levels? Also consider your soil’s toxicity, texture, and compaction level. Be sure to also look for any evidence of the recent disturbance of the soil layer there, as well as the site’s erosion level.
7. What Are My Yard’s Sunlight Levels?
This question is also important to ask, as it may have an impact on where you build your backyard garden or set up your deck. Your yard may feature full sun, filtered light, partial sun, full shade, or partial shade depending on its position and your climate.
8. When Should I Do My Renovation?
Consider the best times to start your backyard renovation depending on the type of landscaping project you’ll be tackling and where you live. If you’ll be doing a project that involves concrete, note that concrete is sensitive to temperature. Ideally, you want to complete this project in temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re laying pavers and bricks, you can do this in any season if you’re able to dig a few inches down.
9. How Long Will My Renovation Take?
If you have a target completion time in mind for your backyard renovation, start going over all of the steps you’ll need to complete—for example, acquiring permits—before you finalize your project. This will tell you whether your ideal timeline is realistic.
10. Who Should Complete My Renovation?
If you are an experienced DIYer, then completing the backyard renovation yourself may be a viable option for you. Otherwise, start seeking out bids from contractors. Be sure to verify that your chosen contractor has strong online ratings and positive references before hiring him or her to create your backyard oasis for you.
Start Renovating with Confidence
As you navigate the process of preparing for your backyard renovation, it’s important that you have a solid plan from start to finish. This is critical whether you plan to hire a contractor to handle your project, or you intend to complete it yourself.
Be sure to answer these 10 questions honestly and fully before starting your backyard oasis or garden project to ensure you’re on the right path in the weeks and months ahead.
Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business, recruiting, real estate, and finance.