Planning an Outdoor Space: Getting down, dirty and ready to build!

I have covered almost everything there is to know when planning an outdoor space. Hopefully, this preparation will eliminate any possibility of unwanted surprises or costs during the next stage of planning and doing!

So, drop the pens and paper, dust off your tool belt and be ready to get down and dirty. Even though construction is the most laborious part of the process, it is also the most rewarding.

Below I have outlined some things to consider before you declare your backyard a construction zone.

Decide Which Projects Require a Contractor

Whether or not you’ll need a contractor depends on the size, budget, and timeline of the project. If you’re planning an elaborate space that requires a certain level of expertise and artistic vision, you should probably consult a landscape designer or architect to analyze your property and consult your master plan before you decide to tear up the yard.

That being said, there are many DIY projects an industrious and handy homeowner can tackle themselves to upgrade their outdoor space. Many outdoor living products are available in do-it-yourself kits designed to help non-professional homeowners build everything from a pergola to a fire pit.

Basic Tools Needed for Outdoor Living Projects

If you plan to tackle construction projects, you’ll need a carpenter’s apron outfitted with the basic hand tools. Depending on the project, you may also need: a jig saw, hand saw, or power saw, a level, a power drill, posthole digging tools, a tape measure, marking gauge, clamps, hand plane, and string line.

Many of the DIY kits use construction-grade adhesives similar to liquid nails and only require a few simple tools to assemble fire pits, fireplaces, grills, bars, kitchens, and benches. For landscape projects, you’ll need the basic tools including a shovel, spade, wheelbarrow, pick ax, rake, and garden tools. Buy good quality tools that you can use for many years and rent the more expensive tools that you probably won’t use again.

Choose the Best Materials for Your Needs

If you select all the materials before beginning construction of your outdoor living area, you’ll have a more realistic idea of how much the project will cost. Consider all of the possibilities and then focus on choices that meet your goals and needs. Choosing the right materials largely depends on your budget, personal preferences, and maintenance requirements. Some handy homeowners are tackling DIY projects such as decks, pergolas, gazebos, fences, trellises, and arbors.

Be honest with yourself. If a job is beyond your skill set, seek out professional help. The last thing you want to do is spend an entire season building a space you thought would be a summer getaway. If you do decide the task if possible, equip yourself with the necessary tools needed to get the job done.