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Lisa Fermanis CLHMS, CNHS, RCC
RE/MAX Suburban

Exterior Design: Where to Invest vs. Save

As you design your exterior living space, not every element you select needs to be investment level. While there are some areas where it’s wise to invest, there are other spots where you can save. Read on for insight into the best areas to invest vs. save as you design your outdoor space.

Invest: Infrastructure and foundation
Investing in the area’s infrastructure and foundation will create a long-lasting space best equipped to stand up to the elements, use and general wear and tear. This means investing in the area’s drainage system, radiant floor heat if you want a heated patio floor, the necessary infrastructure for an outdoor kitchen, electricity for a sound and entertainment system, and any other elements considered the bones of the outdoor space.

Invest: Outdoor furniture and textiles
After investing in the area’s foundation and infrastructure, it may be tempting to save on the furniture. However, investing in these pieces means you won’t need to buy new furniture every few years. Outdoor furniture needs to stand up to the elements, such as rain, sun and wind. In addition to the furniture, the textiles on the cushions, umbrellas, and pillows should be a durable outdoor fabric to withstand sun fading and mildew that can result from rain and humidity.

Invest: Mature trees and foundational trees and shrubs
If your outdoor design plans include landscaping, invest in mature trees. Mature trees offer immediate privacy instead of waiting several years for young trees to mature fully. Also, invest in the larger trees and shrubs that will serve as your landscaping plan’s foundational pieces.

Invest: Sprinkler system
After investing in a new landscaping plan, it must be watered generously. Installing a sprinkler system will ensure your landscaping will grow and thrive. An in-ground sprinkler system will also save you valuable time and countless hours.

Save: Decorative accents
The decorative accents you use in your outdoor space are a great place to save. From the outdoor rug, accent tables, planters and styling accessories, you can save on these areas and update them every season to keep your outdoor area feeling updated and fresh.

Save: Plants and flowers
The plants and flowers you layer in your landscaping plan and use in the planters are another way to save on your exterior design plan. Visit your local garden center to find plants and flowers in your desired color scheme.

Save: Exterior lighting
Exterior lighting options are endless, so you can find exterior lighting options at a reasonable price point by shopping strategically. Other options, such as string lighting, create a resort-worthy outdoor ambiance without a steep price tag.

Save: Firepit
If you prefer a wood-burning firepit to a gas-fueled fire source, you can accomplish this affordably in many ways. From a portable fire pit to an option constructed of pavers, a wood-burning fire pit doesn’t need to be an investment.

A beautifully designed exterior living space perfectly blends saving and splurging. Knowing the areas to invest in and the places to spend wisely in will create a space you can enjoy season after season.