Where to Start

If you enjoy spending lots of time outdoors, you may be considering enhancing the outdoor living space in your Las Vegas home. Probably the best place to begin is by nailing down a realistic budget.  Last month's newsletter, Landscaping on Any Budget, discussed the importance of "starting with the end in mind."  Decide up front the project's maximum cost and then work backwards from there as you add individual elements.

And don't forget - there's always the option of completing the project in phases as well, which may allow for a bigger budget for the overall completed project.

Once you have a budget down on paper, you can begin to break out the cost of each of the items from the checklist below and you will be ready to get started!

Help!  I'm Not a Designer!

That's OK!  There are plenty of resources out there to help get started, but below is a quick 'checklist' that might help you get the big, overall idea rolling.

  • One of the very first questions to get answered is will you need to pull a permit or permits in order to do the work?
  • Determine how much space you have to work with in terms of square footage. This will help when getting estimates from contractors should you decide to use one later on.
  • Do you need to pour a new patio or possibly enlarge an existing one?
  • Do you prefer a wood or concrete flooring surface, or maybe a combination of the two?
  • What type of coverage for weather protection might you need to add?
  • Is electricity available or will you need to hire a licensed electrician?
  • When talking to an electrician be sure and factor in both existing as well as new exterior lighting and power needs.
  • Determine fuel options (electric, natural gas or propane) if you're considering adding an outdoor cook range or installing a permanent grill or smoker.
  • Do you need or want to have running water available near where you will be cooking? (Other than just that garden hose, right?)
  • What types of exterior media equipment such as a widescreen TV or all-weather audio speakers would you like to add?
  • "Aqua misters" can actually cool an outdoor area by up to 10 degrees and come in a wide variety of configurations from portable to permanently installed systems.
  • If you're considering an outdoor fireplace or fire pit be sure and talk with your local HOA if you have one as well as your local fire department about any special considerations or restrictions before you get that load of rock dumped in the back yard.

​​These are just a few things to help you get started. Don't be surprised if when answering these questions, it leads to more questions. What are you most looking forward to incorporating in your yard?