deck, porch home improvements
Additions and improvements to porches or decks average $2,985, according to 2001
figures from the Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Homeowners
who did the job themselves spent an average of $1,714, while those who hired professionals
Popularity as a remodel target: On average,
6 percent of homeowners annually add a patio or deck, while 5.5 percent improve
existing ones, according to 2001 figures from the National Association of Home
New trends: Homeowners are using the patio or deck
"as an outside room," says Joanne C. Kostecky, board member with the
American Nursery & Landscape Association.
Look for: High-end
patio furniture; container planting, stone and concrete pavers; outdoor kitchens;
fire pits; fireplaces, (both built-in and portable versions); outdoor heaters;
water gardens; water features; large decorative foliage; ornamental grasses; tropical
plants; native plants; perennials; bird feeders and baths, and natural materials
-- like marble, stone and metals with an aged patina.
flowers in hot colors, especially red and citrus shades, and garden elements such
as frogs or fairies, says Rebecca Kolls, master gardener and host of the nationally
syndicated television series "Rebecca's Garden."
pulling the patio away from the house and surrounding it with a garden, says Samuel
L. Salsbury, APLD, board member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Features to consider: How do you plan to use the patio? As
a tranquil meditation area, a lively entertainment spot or both? How many people
do you want to accommodate at once? What's the weather like? Would outdoor heating
extend the use of the patio? What time of day will you use it, and do you need
If the entryway to the house is off the ground, think
about a multilevel patio, says Kostecky.
And don't be afraid
to buck the trends. While pastel flowers may be deemed passé one season,
they're stylish if you like them, says Kolls.
and helpful hints: With an architectural feature, like a gazebo or fence, coordinate
materials with the house, says Salsbury. Consider an irregular patio shape with
jagged edges, and blur the borders with cascading plants.
gardens in pots with large containers or hanging baskets. "The bigger the
better," says Kostecky. "And fill them really full in the spring, so
they look good." Try a combination of perennials, annuals, ground cover or
vines and something tall to add some structure.
Want a taste
of the tropics in frigid climes? Put lemon or banana trees in large planters and
move them to a sunny room for the colder months, says Kolls.
continued at http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/home-improvement/patio1.asp