When thinking about any home improvement project, cost can be major issue but keep in mind that you generally get what you pay for. Proper budgeting, as well as understanding the quote you receive will help to make your project a success. Let’s break this decision down into some simple points you can keep in mind.


Your project should be unique to your home’s existing conditions and features, as well as to your personal needs, specifications, and preferences. An outdoor living addition involves a combination of material, installation, and service. In each of these areas there will be a wide range of options and quality levels. Your project’s cost depends on these variables and what you select. These choices become your design specifications or requirements.

You should first determine your wants, needs, and desires:

  • What is it that you need?
  • What is it that you want?
  • What is your dream?

Next, determine your size and space requirements. What space do you have to work with and what space you need to accomplish what you want? With this information, you can begin the process of contacting companies to help you further develop a realistic budget for your project and obtain an estimate. As a general rule of thumb, an average budget for an outdoor living addition will be between $15,000 and $35,000.


There are three types of estimates that companies provide. A historical estimate is based on the individual contractor’s actual experience with similar size and type of project. These estimates can be useful in budgeting if your project is similar in size and complexity to the comparison project. It is important to consider how long ago the comparison project was completed.

A square foot estimate is based on quantity and unit price. These estimates can be useful when the project is of a larger scale and basic in its design requirements. The estimates are usually not accurate for smaller scale projects or where custom elements are desired. The biggest problem with this type of estimate is that it often leads to inaccurate quotes that fail to take all considerations into mind.

A “stick built” pricing estimate is the most accurate type of estimating. A stick built estimate requires a completed design that can be itemized in detail to determine precise quantities of materials and man-hours to accomplish your specific project.


Once an acceptable budget and estimate is established, most companies will put together a proposal or contract. A proposal will spell out the details of your job, provide accurate dimensions and material specifications, and establish a fixed price and payment terms. In addition, proposals often include a section that lists various options, such as lighting and other accessories that will further enhance your project.

We mentioned this in a previous section, but it is worth repeating: it is advisable to check references and look at examples of a company’s projects to help ensure you will receive quality workmanship and service. Check the Contractor Comparison Checklist and research the contractors you’ve selected.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this short guide covering the steps for getting your project off the ground. The next step is to set up a complementary design evaluation. Simply fill out our Request a Consultation form, and we’ll help you through the process of creating an outdoor living room that you will enjoy for years.

Seen enough? We’re here for you when you’re ready to enhance your outdoor living. Get a Quote