Outdoor Structures: Investment or Luxury?

It's a warm summer evening. The smell of grilled kabobs drifts to you in the gentle breeze as you relax with your friends under your ivy-covered pergola. 

Good food, a glass of wine, and time with friends in a lovely backyard setting - what could be better? 

Like this pergola, outdoor structures help create the setting for good times and beautiful memories. 

But is it really worth it? Is that pergola an investment – or just a luxury?

In today’s blog, we’ll explore whether outdoor structures are investments, luxuries, or – maybe a combination of both.

Let’s begin! 

Table of Contents

  • Defining Outdoor Structures

    1. Defining Outdoor Structures

  • Outdoor Structures as an Investment

    2. Outdoor Structures as an Investment

  • Outdoor Structures as a Luxury

    3. Outdoor Structures as a Luxury

  • Finding the Balance

    4. Finding the Balance

Defining Outdoor Structures

What qualifies as an “outdoor structure?” 

It depends a little on who you ask. Generally, this term refers to any construction or building located outside with an outdoor or open-air environment. Some, like arbors, offer little shelter, while others, like pool houses or gazebos, provide more. 

If a structure can be completely closed off from the elements, it's considered an outbuilding, not an outdoor structure. Sheds and detached sunrooms fall into this category, and pool houses, depending on their design, can fall into either. 

Here’s a quick overview of some common outdoor structures

  1. Arbors are a simple way to add visual interest to your landscaping. They are often used to create entry or exit points and make excellent supports for climbing plants. 
  2. Gazebos come in many designs and sizes and can be fully screened. These charming structures feature semi-open sides, a slightly elevated floor, and a roof and are often found in gardens, parks, or backyards.
  3. Pavilions have fully open sides but may include privacy features like curtains or lattice. They have roofs like gazebos, but their floors are usually on the same level as the surrounding ground. 
  4. Pergolas are partial shade structures with vertical posts, supporting cross-beams, and an open lattice roof. Like arbors, they can be a lovely support for climbing plants. 

Now that we’ve defined outdoor structures, let's discuss how they can be investments.

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Outdoor Structures as an Investment

There are many ways outdoor structures can be an investment. Let’s examine just a few. 

  1. Increased Property Value: In most cases, adding an outdoor structure will increase your property value. Well-designed outdoor living areas can enhance a property's aesthetic appeal and functionality, increasing its market value by as much as 8-10%. (Please remember that exact figures vary depending on region and current economic climate.) 
  2. Extended Living Space: Outdoor structures provide additional space for relaxation, entertainment, or recreation, expanding a property's livable area without the expense of indoor renovations or home additions. These spaces get lots of use, especially if you live in a warmer region or love to spend time outdoors!
  3. Enhanced Beauty: Attractive outdoor structures significantly improve a property's visual appeal. While this increases its desirability in the real estate market, the most crucial part is its positive effect on you and your family in the moment. Research has shown that beautiful environments promote happiness and emotional and psychological well-being.  
  4. Improved Quality of Life: Investing in outdoor structures can enhance the overall quality of life. They provide enjoyable spaces for leisure activities, social gatherings, or simply enjoying nature, leading to increased happiness and overall well-being. 
  5. Energy Efficiency: Certain outdoor structures like pergolas can provide shade and reduce solar heat gain. This is an environmentally friendly choice, and if your structure is next to your home, it could also lower energy costs for cooling indoor spaces during hot weather. 
  6. Personal Enjoyment: A home-improvement investment shouldn’t be measured only in terms of financial gain. The enjoyment and satisfaction derived from using outdoor structures are worth investing in for their own sake. 

Now that we’ve developed a picture of outdoor structures as investments let’s take a closer look at them as a luxury.

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Outdoor Structures as a Luxury

Luxury is a somewhat relative term. What makes something a luxury is almost always connected to the context. So, what makes an outdoor structure luxurious? 

  1. Extra Amenity Status: Strictly speaking, outdoor structures aren’t necessary. While they most certainly enhance landscape beauty and quality of life, their absence doesn’t entail a low quality of life. For some individuals, this immediately places outdoor structures in the luxury category. Many others, however, see the features more than the structure itself as defining its luxury status.
  2. High-Quality Materials: Luxury outdoor structures often feature premium materials such as hardwood, natural stone, or high-end metals. These can enhance durability, aesthetics, and overall appeal.
  3. Custom Design: Luxury outdoor structures are often designed by architects or designers, incorporating unique features, intricate details, and innovative elements tailored to individual preferences and requirements.
  4. Advanced Technology: Incorporating technology, such as automated lighting, heating systems, sound systems, or motorized retractable roofs, can elevate functional spaces to sophisticated luxury.
  5. Exceptional Craftsmanship: Attention to detail and superior craftsmanship contribute to the overall quality and elegance of a luxury structure. 
  6. Additional Amenities: Another aspect that makes a structure luxurious is additional amenities such as built-in fire pits, outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, or luxury furniture.  
  7. Artistic Expression: For art lovers, outdoor structures can serve as works of art, showcasing innovative design concepts, architectural creativity, and artistic flair.

As you can see, many things make a luxury outdoor structure. What makes a structure luxurious to you?

Finding the Balance

Here's the deal. Outdoor structures don’t need to be just an investment or a luxury. They can be a bit of both. The trick is to find the balance that suits your budget and values. 

Here are a few tips to help you find that balance.

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1 - Stay within your budget.

It generally doesn’t pay off to exceed your budget, and you don’t want to end up strapped with payments you can’t afford. Thankfully, you don’t need to settle either. If the structure you wish for is over budget, you have options. You could take the classic route of setting financial goals and waiting until you can afford it. Another great option is completing the project in stages. Let’s say, for example, that your end goal is a timber frame pavilion with an outdoor kitchen and a south-facing privacy wall. Start with the pavilion and add additional features as funds become available.

2 - Opt for quality.

High-quality materials and expert craftsmanship are always the best choices and a great way to strike that perfect luxury/investment balance. If you choose a cheaper option, you’ll end up with the headache and cost of increased repairs and maintenance. However, this doesn’t mean you need the highest-end materials or the most expensive craftsmanship. For example, treated pine and cedar are excellent materials for outdoor structures and are less costly than hardwoods. To ensure you choose the right artisans, shop around and check out company reviews to hear what other customers say.

3 - Choose a design that suits your taste and needs.

Real luxury is a well-designed, beautiful space that functions as intended. A simpler style may be more luxurious when designed with your goals in mind. If you love flair, add that pagoda roof or an additional cupola! 

4 - Add personalized touches.

Make the space truly yours by adding those little (or big!) features that make the structure your haven. If you love to cook, take your space to the next level with an outdoor kitchen! If you love reading on summer evenings, invest in some dimmable lighting and high-quality, comfy chairs. Are you a fan of dancing away a summer evening? Maybe your pavilion needs a disco ball, colored lights, and a sound system!

As you can see, luxury and investment don’t need to be opposing forces! By striking a balance, you can find the best of both worlds.

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We hope you found this blog helpful as you consider choosing an outdoor structure for your backyard! 

Here at Fisher’s Backyard Structures, we specialize in custom pavilions, pergolas, and gazebos. We also offer various outdoor dining products, patio furniture, and cushions

If you enjoyed this blog, you may also find the following helpful: 

Thanks for spending time with us today! If you are ready to move ahead with an outdoor structure of your own or have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!  We’d love to work with you!

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