Dreaming of Summer — It’s Never too Early to Start Planning!

Nice PatioThis dreary winter weather really gets me to dreaming about sunshine and warmer days. Great afternoons on the deck or patio with friends, beautiful places to relax on a nice Northwest day, and additional living space during our spectacular summers are just a few reasons to dream about these great spaces.

Many of us will look outside after daydreaming and see the reality. Worn and tired decking or concrete, limited space, overgrown plants.

Now is the time of year to be planning your ideal outdoor space so it is ready for summer. Most people underestimate the planning time of any construction or remodeling project, and this is no different, so here is a primer to get you started.

First, the dreaded b-word. Budget. How much do you want to spend on this improvement?

If you are deciding with a spouse or partner, get on the same page now! It will make things go smoothly in the long run.

Now, think of how you use the space you have, and how you might use a bigger space.

Do you love to barbecue and have friends over? Do you eat outdoors and do you have enough seating or need more? Do you have more adults or kids around? Do you need gardening space or pots?

Thinking first about how you actually use the space and what you could improve can help you set the stage.

Look at the topography. Your house may be better suited for a patio if there are flat spots, a deck for slopes or a combination of both.

If you spend summer evenings on the deck or patio, perhaps a fireplace, fire pit or propane heat lamps might be in order. Does your home face south or west and needs covered areas for protection from the sun? How about a TV, or a mini kitchen and cooking area?

Gather up ideas on sites like houzz.com or pinterest.com and embark on your plan. Decide on what aspects you can (or actually want to) do, and what items you need professional help with.

A little planning and effort now, and you’ll be relaxing in the sunshine come summer.