The Value of Outdoor Living

Why does Archadeck keep promoting “outdoor living?”  I mean, its just a deck, right?  A 10×10 pile of splintered sticks that holds a grill and provides a place underneath to hide a mower.

That’s exactly why.  That deck has no value.  Its not enhancing your lifestyle.  Its likely deterring from the value of your home…and maybe your neighbors’.  When it comes time to sell your home, it’s a detriment, not a feature.

Archadeck promotes “outdoor living” because well-designed, well-built, attractive, functional outdoor living structures and spaces do provide value…to your lifestyle…to the value of your home.  Decks, porches, sunrooms, 3- and 4-season rooms, pergolas, patios and gazebos can all be configured to provide outdoor living space as functional, attractive and enjoyable as any space you have inside your home.  With or without walls.  With or without roofs.  A place for comfortable outdoor furniture to relax in, to entertain around.  A place to grill…on your Weber or on a built-in outdoor kitchen configuration…and dine.  Literally, the sky is the limit.

So, what is the value that “outdoor living” provides?  Its not always measured in dollars, but several trade publications and industry associations do attempt this.  Remodeling Magazine is one such attempt; they survey cost/value returns of various remodeling projects per their methodology on an annual basis; last year’s results are just out and are available at:    www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/national.aspx.

Remodeling Magazine’s categorization of “outdoor living” is not as broad as Archadeck’s offerings; their deck and sunroom categories are the closest association to our product lines, with decks being the closest association to “outdoor living.”  The impact that the housing bust, inflated housing values and the tightened credit markets have had on the economy over the last couple of years have not been kind to many remodeling project returns…across the board…and you’ll see that reflected here.  But, I contend that the more stable, conservative Des Moines and Iowa housing markets buffer us from some of this impact.  Considering that and the prior history of this survey (check years prior to 2008 as well), outdoor living space projects have fared and continue to fare very well when compared to other options you have for your remodeling dollar.

A less dollar-measured analysis was reported recently by Yahoo! Finance at finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/108701/the-10-must-have-features-in-todays-new-homes.html?mod=family-love_money.  Their findings show that an “outdoor living room” ranks 5th of the top 10 “must” features in a new home.  I found it interesting, too, that ceiling fans and stone and brick exteriors ranked 6th and 8th in this review.  Ceiling fans are incorporated into most of our Des Moines and Central Iowa area enclosure projects (open porches, screen porches, multi-season room additions) and even into an occasional pergola.  We are also incorporating more stone and brick into our projects…and not just as a patio surface.  Support columns and rail posts can be partially or fully stoned or bricked.  Outdoor kitchens, bars and fireplaces are often finished with a stone or brick veneer.  So, as it turns out, 3 of the top 10 “must” features new home buyers are looking for are regularly incorporated into our projects.  And who says it has to be a new home; it could also be the home you have now.  Which is where we’re doing our projects 99% of the time.

As I sit here today, February 26th, 2010 (my birthday, by the way!)  in Des Moines, Iowa, writing this, we’ve endured nearly the worst winter ever.  We’ve had over a foot of snow on the ground for almost 3 months now.  We are still setting record low temperatures…we should be seeing our first robins by now, not another blast of record-setting, below-zero temperatures.  How much are you going to appreciate getting – living – outdoors later this spring?  There is value in our backyard, outdoor living settings.  Enjoy them like never before.  Start living outdoors.

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