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Chris Breen

Chris Breen, Principal Owner of Legacy Decks and Outdoor Living and has been serving families in Upstate South Carolina since 2005.

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What to Know Before Starting on an Outdoor Living Space Project

Are you ready to unleash your creativity and extend the boundaries of your home with a new outdoor living space? Whether including a patio, deck, fire pit, or other backyard luxuries, planning and designing an outdoor living project is exciting – but daunting!

Before you start creating a secluded oasis for entertainment, recreation, and relaxation, there are a few things to consider first. Read on for tips and ideas on making your outdoor living space project as successful and seamless as possible.

Craft Your Vision

good outdoor living space plan

Before anything else, you need to have a vision for your outdoor living space. Visualizing the final product is essential, as it will give you an idea of the size, shape, and features you want to include. A good outdoor living space plan considers how you plan to use the space and the activities you would like to do. Your lifestyle goals should dictate the layout and the amenities you need.

To help you nail down your vision, we wrote a blog post specifically about how to plan your deck.

Define Your Budget Range

some goals for your outdoor living space

Once you have some goals for your outdoor living space, the next step is to determine your budget range. A clearly defined budget will help you make better decisions about materials, features, size, and design. It will also help you prioritize the features of your project, as you can compare different possibilities and outdoor living space designs within your budget range.

Plus, you need a budget to request estimates from contractors.

Work With A Licensed And Insured Residential Contractor

outdoor living space with safety standards

Working with a licensed residential contractor is essential to create outdoor living spaces that are up to code. Whether adding a deck or patio, adding features, or making other structural changes, it is vital to have a contractor who knows local building codes and regulations. This will ensure that your outdoor living space meets safety standards and is built correctly.

Never work with a contractor that is not insured; you may be responsible for an astronomically high cost if something goes wrong in your home.

Know How To Compare Reviews And Online Content

It is essential to check reviews and online content to compare different contractors accurately. It would help if you looked at testimonials, ratings, project examples, and other online content that will help you know the contractor’s level of expertise. Many contractors have social media accounts and websites that you can use to get more information about them. Also, check their Google Maps reviews and make sure they have good ratings from past clients.

  • Check their Google Maps profile for reviews
  • Stalk their Instagram, Facebook, and other social media
  • Look for pictures of projects on their website

Ask Your Contractor These Questions

outdoor living space examples

When you are communicating with potential contractors, make sure to ask the right questions. Some questions you should consider asking include: What experience do they have with projects similar to yours? What materials do they suggest for your project? What is their timeline for completion? And is there a warranty included in the contract?

Asking the right questions can help you find out if they will be the right fit for you. We wrote an article about the questions to ask when hiring a contractor that you should definitely read.

Permits And Regulations

outdoor living space examples

When making significant changes to your home or adding a new deck, you are legally required to obtain a permit from your local authorities. Your contractor should be able to provide guidance on the permit process and what regulations you need to be aware of.

Permits are important because it ensures that your outdoor living space is built to code. Before moving forward with a contractor, be sure they know local regulations and can obtain the necessary permits.

Research The Best Materials For Your Space

outdoor living space examples 2

For example, decks are made with different types of wood and composite materials. Patios are made with pavers, flagstone, concrete, and more. Pergolas typically use wood, vinyl, or aluminum.

When it comes to outdoor living spaces, materials are essential. The durability, maintenance requirements, and cost of your project depend on materials. Therefore, you should research the best materials for your project and consider factors like maintenance, durability, price, and aesthetics.

Planning your deck? Read our article “What Are The Benefits Of Composite Decking?”

Consider Maintenance And Upkeep For Your Space

maintenance of outdoor living space

When choosing materials, you must consider maintenance and upkeep. Different materials require different methods of cleaning and protection from the elements.

For example, did you know:

  • Wood decks need to be sanded, painted, and sealed every few years to stay in good condition, and even then, they only last 10-15 years.
  • Composite decks are low maintenance and can last up to 50+ years with minimal upkeep.
  • Poured concrete patios eventually start to get cracks, which are very expensive to repair.
  • You can easily replace pavers if one gets cracked. Pavers are cheap to repair and easy to maintain.

It would be best if you researched or discussed maintenance and upkeep requirements, including the outdoor living feature, with your contractor before moving forward with a project. Then, make sure the maintenance requirements for your outdoor living area are something you can commit to. Otherwise, you’ll regret your choice.

Keep Your Deck Safe!

Keep your outdoor safe

Safety should be one of your top priorities, especially if children or pets are around. Make sure that any railings, steps, and stairs comply with local building codes. If you are adding a fire feature, ensure it is properly installed and that the surrounding area is clear of any flammable materials. A yearly inspection by a professional is recommended to ensure your deck is safe and sound.

For more deck safety tips, read our article “Deck Safety Tips To Check If Your Deck Is Code-Compliant.”


Outdoor living spaces are vital to any home, adding value, comfort, and convenience. When hiring a contractor to build your outdoor space, do your research, ask the right questions, understand permits and regulations, choose materials with low maintenance requirements, and always keep safety in mind.

Legacy Decks is proud to be Greenville’s go-to deck builder! We specialize in constructing luxury outdoor living spaces, from custom decks and patios to porches and more. So if you’re ready to transform your home in Greenville, Get a Consultation to get started today or give us a call (864) 531-5187!