As Harrisburg’s winter rain and snow hit, it’s the perfect time to dream about improvements for the new year. This is especially true for those thinking about outdoor living area renovations. Every year, we receive springtime calls for outdoor updates and other hardscaping projects. But it’s best to get in sooner rather than later. That’s why we’re encouraging you not to wait. Here are some things that will help you get your summer outdoor living project rolling now.

Think of planning your outdoor living space area like planning for a vacation. There are many steps you have to finalize before arriving at the airport for a dream getaway. Similarly, the more you plan, the more success you’ll have with a springtime outdoor living project, and the more likely you are to have the perfect staycation spot by summer.

First, consider your budget. There are many things your budget will affect. Different materials will have different price ranges. And of course, big features such as outdoor kitchens must also be budgeted. You can get started by making a list of everything that you want in your new design. One column can include “must have” features, another column can be for “nice to have” elements, and the third column can contain “luxurious but unnecessary” items. This will help you and our design team figure out the details. Keep in mind that permits and fees may be required, so be sure to ask about this when you meet with a contractor.

Think about location. We know what you’re thinking…location should be obvious. But while you may believe you know where you want this new space, there are many things to take into consideration. Consider utility location, protection from the wind, and privacy among other things. For some spaces, like outdoor kitchens, you also want to consider power, gas hookups, lighting, and appliances or a sink. If you do plan to include a sink, recognize that the drain will need to be hooked up to your city utility line.

Talk about permits. If you have ever lived through a building project where you needed permits to begin the process, you know that it can take quite a while to be granted permits. On average, it takes 4-6 weeks for a permit to be issued to begin a construction project. And unfortunately, they are entirely necessary before the groundbreaking of any project can begin. Applying for permits during the winter months, or nearing spring will most likely expedite the process because the permitting group is not being swamped with applications. The cold months of the offseason allow time to be sure that all appropriate paperwork has been filled out, turned in and approved.

Get it scheduled. Planning ahead and scheduling during seasonal downtime will make the process a lot smoother. Typically, when the weather starts to warm up, a landscape design contractor is already about 8 weeks or more out on their schedule. Getting a jump start on the building schedule can be the difference of weeks, sometimes even months.  All of which will lead to you being able to entertain in your new space during the summer months, rather than still being under construction.

A proper and successful design is the basis of any amazing outdoor project and the creative process needs time. By taking advantage of the off-season months, you will have more time and resources to ensure your space is everything you dream of. PA Landscape group’s experienced award-winning staff can design, plan and supervise your landscape project, serving as general contractor for exceptional project management. As experts in the design and flow of the outdoors, let us be the first step in the overall design phase.