A patio may be as simple as an outdoor area adjoining a home, but there is so much more to a patio for most homeowners. Patios sometimes serve as outdoor dining rooms or include paved seating near a swimming pool. Courtyard patios provide extended living areas. The sky is the limit for paying for a new patio, but a budget helps plan your outdoor space with less waste and an eye to value.
Developing a wish list helps make a budget for your new patio. Lighting, music systems, outdoor kitchen or grill and outdoor furniture provide options to make your patio an outdoor living space. If you dream of using your patio during the winter, add a heat source or a fireplace to your plans. Water features cool the patio, and permanent and portable landscaping add eye candy. Landscaping offers formal boundaries for the space. Brainstorming a large wish list allows you to dream big to customize your outdoor space. Once you've filled a page with patio ideas, highlight the features you want most. Once you do the highlighting, rank the features in importance to use in budgeting.
Your highlighted wish list allows you to start patio planning and budgeting. A piece of graph paper helps set formal boundaries and define the space for your new patio. It also provides you a visualization to see how your wish list essentials fit together in the patio space. Once you've sketched out the foundation footprint and added to your wish list, begin researching the general prices. Patio spaces using concrete work, for instance, mean major costs, but concrete saves money compared to buying and laying cut stone, tile or brick. Similarly, if you're adding arbors, pergolas and overhead covers provide shade, the costs vary with the materials used for construction. Begin collecting patio images from magazines, Internet websites and local advertising fliers to visualize your dream list. The images help in estimating the construction costs for work and materials.
Making up a formal budget helps turn your patio into a reality. Determine the amount you want to invest in your patio and develop a basic budget using the prices from your research folder. Use your highlighted wish list to remind yourself of the patio items closest to your heart. Start a formal budget with two separate columns. In the first column add the pricing you've researched. Select options to substitute for your must-have wish list items as possible money-savers in the second column. Substitute a stamped concrete foundation in the second column, for instance, for a brick patio foundation listed in the first column. Leave column costs blank for items needing additional research or formal estimates.
Getting official estimates from contractors finalizes your budget. Pricing building materials for the work you plan to do yourself on the patio completes your formal written budget. The estimates and pricing information help you readjust your formal budget to match the spending limit for your patio.
- Better Homes and Gardens: Patio Planning Tips
- University of Minnesota Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series: Selecting Wood for Outdoor Structures
- This Old House: Get Out and Stay Out
- ConcreteNetwork.com: Stamped Concrete Cost
- Peter A. Kirsh-Korff: Wood Arbors, Pergolas, Patio Covers & Trellises
- New York Times: A Little Warmth, at a Cost
- The Home Depot: Indoor and Outdoor Fountains
- Sunset.com: Plan a Patio -- Watching the Garden Grow
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.