I remember the first time I was invited to a pool party with my friends from school. When my friend opened the gate to his backyard, it felt like we were stepping into another universe.
I had never seen anything like it - the patterns on the tiles surrounding their pool, the cozy hammock hanging between the trees, and the colourful patio furniture on the impressive cedar deck.
I remember how we lost track of time, just enjoying ourselves outside and spending time together with our friends and their family. It was new for me, as we never had an outdoor experience quite as intricate in our backyard growing up.
Which is why I started Soares Landscaping in the first place. To recreate those moments with your friends and family - a full outdoor experience in the comfort of your backyard.
And for families looking to have those outdoor experiences of their own, I put together a quick guide to plan for your next outdoor renovation so you can spend more time creating the experience to enjoy with your loved ones.
Evaluate Your Needs Vs. Your Wants
Before shopping around, you must set realistic expectations of your goal. Start by taking a walk around the area outside you’re looking to renovate and try to visualize what key features you’re looking to add or improve.
Whether your outdoor renovation project is a fire pit, a swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen or landscape lighting, you’ll want to be on the lookout for the following:
- Total square footage available to work within
- Any obstructions to work around or remove
- Any structural pieces that will need to be fixed before building
Once you know what you’re working with outside, you can put together a list of your ‘must-have’ features you can’t live without.
At Soares, we recommend you use some qualifying questions to help you decide on what you need like:
- When will I be using this space the most? (Ex. Morning, Afternoon, Evening?)
- What will I be using this for primarily? (Ex. Entertainment, Leisure, Relaxation?)
- Who will I be sharing the space with? (Ex. Children, Grandparents, Friends?)
We even have the answers to the 7 most asked questions about landscape design, so you’re not left wondering where to look.
After you throw together your ‘must-have’ list, you can look at the timeline by which you’d like to complete it and start your search for inspiration.
Go ‘Shopping’ For Inspiration and Ideas
One fun way I’ve had families come together to discover inspiration for their outdoor renovation is to take the time to visit open houses over the weekend to see what the latest trends are.
Depending on the home builder, you can step into the space and use it as a test run for what you are looking for. Maybe you’ll come across a specific treatment of the tile on the walkways or find a water feature you have never seen before to compliment your outdoor renovation.
Depending on the feature, home builders often provide information on what vendors or suppliers they’ve used. Look for company stickers on the brochures and ask if they have a list of companies for any specific features you’ve come across.
Another easy way to get fresh ideas is to venture to social media channels like Houzz, Instagram, or Pinterest. You can use their explore features to search for layout applications, materials preferences, and overall design.
Simply searching ‘landscape design’ or ‘renovation inspiration’ can open up a whole new window of opportunity to be inspired.
Establish Your Ideal Renovation Criteria
Now that you’re inspired and excited to start your next outdoor renovation, you can pull together all the details you’ve discovered and researched to compile your Ideal Renovation Criteria. This can look like a quick snapshot on paper.
We encourage you to bring this with you when you speak to contractors and designers and emphasize the experience you’re trying to create at home. Savvy designers will know that good design creates the outdoor experience you’re after.
Then you can review what options are available in your area by using Google or a trusted directory for builders and contractors, such as the BBB (Better Business Bureau®).
Keep an eye out for any reviews or testimonials online that indicate the type of service experience you’ll receive when working with the company.
A quality contractor who excels in outdoor renovations should:
- Have the right amount of experience
- Be certified or trained to industry standards
- Provide high-quality customer service
It’s also important to start disqualifying companies that don’t match your criteria. If they can’t see your vision, they may not be fit for the job. You deserve to work with someone you can trust to make your vision a reality and get the job done right the first time.
Call In The Experts and Get An Estimate
As you narrow down your options for contractors and companies to work with, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion before investing in your project.
Consultation calls are a great way to get a sense of the project's scope for both yourself as a homeowner and your potential contractor. For Soares, our consultation process allows us to get the full picture of your renovation dreams and determine what makes the most sense for your goals.
One suggestion is to pick the top three options you’ve come down to work with and book a call with each to compare what is available to you. From there, they should be able to provide you with an estimate or a quote based on the criteria you’ve provided.
At the end of the day, it’s the experience you’re trying to create that matters most. Think of what you want to share with your friends or family to create memorable moments together in your own space. For us, it’s all about enhancing the lives of homeowners so they can connect and share an experience with their loved ones.
Soares has over a decade of experience in the industry with landscape design and outdoor renovations ranging from gardens, fire pits, patios and walkways, outdoor kitchens, swimming pools and ponds.
If your family is looking for a trusted partner for your next outdoor renovation, we’d love to see if we fit the job. Book your consultation today.