Spaces for Life

The ReTouch Home Improvement blog



Spaces For Life: Spring is coming, can you smell the flowers?

By Lance McCarthy

This week even feels like Spring so I am ready to start thinking about it.  I figure if Target can play Christmas music after Halloween, then I certainly get to celebrate Spring a month early.  Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog didn’t see his shadow this year, so I think I’m pretty safe.  I may even wear white!

Goodbye bag of ice melt by my door.  Goodbye sleds I’ve been carrying in the back of my Suburban.  Goodbye 47 coats of various thicknesses hanging on the poor pegs in my entry.  It is time for you all to go!  

So what does Spring mean to me?  It means some of my favorite work: outdoor projects.  I started a deck building business right out of high school, and paid my way through K-State with a lot of that work.  The smell of cedar still takes me back to those days.  Ahhh.  

In honor of the season that is just around the corner, I present my Top Ten List of Outdoor Projects, along with some average budget ranges.  Do you have a hankering to do something to the house that could have you sipping margaritas on a lounge chair by the Vernal Equinox?  Try one of these:


The Deck   $35-55 psf  

Still my personal favorite.  It can be constructed of cedar, a hardwood like ipe, or a composite like Trex.  Keeps you off the ground, and has a warm open feel to it that is hard to beat.


The Patio  $10-35 psf

This is the deck’s shorter cousin.  It can be constructed of concrete that is stamped or stained, stone, or a paver of some kind.  It has a solid, strong feel that will help connect the house to the yard.


The Pergola   $15-25 psf

Do you want to feel a little less open and exposed to the elements?  A pergola over the deck or patio can help the space feel nice and shaded.  


The Lanai  $10-30,000

This is the deck or patio that is covered by a roof just like the house.  It is designed to feel like an outdoor room, and originated in Hawaii.  Need I say more?  


The Outdoor Kitchen  $10-20,000    

These have become increasingly popular in this area.  If you like spending mealtime outside in the good months, this could be the answer.  It can include a grill, sink, fridge, or other amenities.


The Front Porch  $10-15,000

One of my least favorite parts of the Prairie Village area is how many houses are missing a front porch.  It is a shame to miss such a crucial feature.  The porch provides a place for guests to be at the door without getting rained on, but also gives you the chance to spend time in the front, and hopefully build relationships with your neighbors in the process.


The Fire  $1,000-5,000

Help the day outdoors stretch into the night.  It can be a fire pit, or a fireplace, can be just wood-fired, or can have gas run to it.  This is one of the best focal points for family memories that I know of.  


The Water  $15,000-150,000

You can’t talk outdoor without talking about water.  A hot tub or pool gets underappreciated, but recent technology make these easier to maintain than they once were, and they are still as fun as ever.


The Sunroom  $30,000-60,000

So, you like the idea of the outdoors, but not the outdoors themselves?  Or do you want a way to grow your living space with more light?  This is the way.


The Tree  

Why did I include this on my top ten?  Those beautiful trees in your yard are getting older, and they won’t live forever.  Try to plant a new tree every few years that will be growing to take the place of the big guys in the coming decades.  It doesn’t take a big budget, but you will be glad you did it.  

Do you want to talk about one of these projects for your space?  Email me at

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