Our House: Improving outdoor living spaces

Published: Aug. 25, 2016 at 3:45 PM CDT
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Mike talked with Scott Underwood, Owner of Prominence Homes & Communities, for home improvement ideas. Land lots come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on what size lot your home is on, you may have an odd-shaped backyard- it could be narrow, sloping, wide, here in Alabama we have all different terrains and types of yards, but you can still do some things to make use of your space and add value to your home. Depending on your type of project and skill level will determine whether or not you would need to call a contractor. If you plan on doing any sort of digging, fencing or building a structure, a contractor is your best bet to ensure you aren't digging into any underground utility lines, changing the flow of water drainage and will ensure your structures are sound. The Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders has contractor members in all categories and a full list of members can be found online at www.birminghambuilder.com.

Adding in some stepping stones or pea gravel with edging materials can give you a nice walkway and can allow you to safely walk through backyard areas during rain. These items can be purchased at your local home improvement stores and prices range depending on the amounts and lengths you need- but are a very cost-friendly project. To take a step further and add in a small patio of brick pavers and room for a bistro set will cost you a bit more in construction, but will be a nice addition to your yard and can increase your home's value. Again, these items are available to purchase at neighborhood stores and costs range depending on the sizing of your spaces. Adding things like pergolas and arbors are definitely aesthetically pleasing, create dimension and appeal to many. You'll definitely want to consult with a contractor before construction of structures of this size, and checking with your HOA is a good idea before beginning as well.

Once assembled, though, you can personalize with touches like lighting and landscaping. Rope lighting is a good option to use in outdoor spaces because of its versatility. It's a good option when you're looking for something other than string lighting because it's continuous lighting throughout. String bulbs are the trend right now, but be sure you're purchasing outdoor lighting to ensure it can withstand the elements. Lattice is easy to install and gives you a variety of options to personalize. It comes in a variety of colors, sizes and materials to match your space and needs. Plant some ivy or another vine plant, over time it will grow up the lattice, and it's a really good way to create privacy and shade in small spaces where there may not be many trees or if houses are close together. Once all of your construction is done, you can add landscaping features like plants, flower beds, pine straw in natural areas, etc. It's a good idea to consult with a landscaper to make sure you aren't obstructing the drainage of water or digging into any utility lines.

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