Avoiding Change Orders: The Ultimate Guide to Seamlessly Building Your Dream Outdoor Living Space

Posted September 21, 2023 in 3D Design, Blog, Covered Patio, Decks, Design/Build, General, outdoor design, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Living Room, Patio and Walkway, Pool

We understand that you want a beautiful outdoor space that enhances your lifestyle and adds value to your home, but you worry that building your dream backyard will be a daunting task filled with unexpected expenses. That’s why we’re here to help you avoid common pitfalls such as change orders and hidden design fees! MasterPlan’s Director of Operations, Becky Zerfuss shares how having the right plan, design, and team can help you achieve the backyard of your dreams without breaking the bank:

  • How much space do I need for an outdoor living space?

“You’ve probably heard the phrase, “No job (or space) is too big or too small”, and I would tend to agree with that to some degree. A family’s outdoor living dreams are usually loosely based on their available backyard space, so the question shouldn’t be how much space, but rather, what can I do with my space? This is where the bond and partnership between the family and their designer will start to fortify itself. Having in-depth discussions about layout, features, materials, phases… etc in the discovery process will help curate the exact outdoor living space and feelings the family has had in their minds for so long, and create a custom, full-color 3D design they can see, fly through in the software. This is the first wow-factor step in the process, and an extremely fun step too!”

  • How long is the design process and how long does it take before I break ground on my project?

“It’s always wise to start your design process sooner rather than later.  Our collaboration will take time to get exactly right, but when you spend this time wisely, it avoids any regrets down the road. Once the design is exactly how you imagined it to be, our full project management will kick into high gear to create your project proposal, start your HOA approval process (if applicable), begin engineering if need be, start the plan creation, get the permit acquisition process started…etc! A lot goes on behind the scenes, but we want you to know, we are here to handle all the heavy lifting for you. Once all permits and schedules are in place, we will look forward to your construction start date. When you commit to MasterPLAN, we commit to you…there is no wasted time to get you closer to your beautiful outdoor living space!”

  • What if you present a design that doesn’t 100% meet my expectations?

“Did you know that MasterPLAN does not charge for any design revisions? It’s true! It is always our goal to hit your design out of the park on the first rendition, but if not, we will discuss what is working, and what isn’t exactly hitting the mark and start the revision process. Our partnership is important, so open and honest conversations are greatly appreciated because they directly translate into your design and getting it absolutely perfect!”

  • Is there flexibility in the selected materials, features, or plantings presented?

“Yes, of course! While there are millions of options out there for materials, features, and plantings, we start our process with the features that our design team feel will work best with the architecture of your home, how you would like to use the space, fit the level of maintenance you prefer…etc. We want to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed in a “sea of stuff”, but that doesn’t mean our choices are set in stone!  Let’s chat!”

  • How long do I have to approve my design?

“One thing I can say is, MasterPLAN will be as committed to your outdoor living project as you are committed to seeing it through! There is no deadline to approve your design, but if you would like to keep the momentum to see your design through to construction, your decisiveness will directly impact the timeline!”

  • Will my design ever expire?

“Nope! For example, if you commit to a design and start the process but life gets in the way and you need to take a step back for whatever reason, MasterPLAN will be ready to open your file back up once you’re ready to hop back into it.”

  • What is the top benefit of design/build?

“Do I really have to pick just 1?? It’s difficult to pick one, but since I have to, I would say visualization and assurance. Many homeowners know they want a comprehensive space that gives them the feeling of joy, love, comfort, privacy…the list goes on…but they don’t quite know how to achieve it.  Most companies are still focusing their talents on 2D paper plans, which require amazing artistry, but everyone’s imagination tends to go off on their own paths in this instance. With full color, 3D lifelike design, everyone’s imagination is focused on the same design and exactly how it is going to look. This eliminates guesswork and offers assurance that there won’t be any large surprises along the way.”

  • What should I plan on investing in an outdoor living space?

“Outdoor living is an investment, just the same as you would consider for the inside of your home. Your backyard is essentially the biggest living space of your property, so being realistic with expectations and budget is important. The wonderful thing is, that everyone at MasterPLAN is an open book when it comes to costs associated with your outdoor living space and the features within it. We are not afraid to have transparent conversations about budgets and finances. We want to make sure that you love the design and are understanding and comfortable with the costs associated or else the whole thing doesn’t work. It all starts with a conversation!”

  • How do I take the first step to transforming my backyard?

“If you are considering a property or backyard transformation for yourself, I would suggest visiting www.mymasterplan.com first to view our portfolio, read our case studies, page through our blog…etc. This will give you a great sense of our mission, our passion, and how we can collaborate together. You can then fill out our contact form and I will get in touch to set up an initial phone call to discuss your space, your project, and our processes to make sure we are a great fit for each other. I am always so happy to connect on the phone to start our journey together!”

Are you looking to build a new outdoor kitchen in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania to enjoy a summer of meals outside, remodel and renovate your existing pool in Allentown, Pennsylvania so your grandkids can enjoy it all summer, or build a custom outdoor living space that will create lasting memories? If so, then look no further. Because we understand the importance of getting value for your investment and don’t want you to have the hassle of coordinating with multiple crews or dealing with complicated plans, permits, or approvals. That’s why we are proud to partner with homeowners in the Lehigh Valley to help them avoid wasting time, money, and space when it comes to transforming their backyard into a custom outdoor living space.

Our award-winning design/build process ensures that all engineering, project management, contractor scheduling, inspections, permit applications, and other essential details for your new custom outdoor living space in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania are taken care of for you by experienced, reliable, & trustworthy professionals. You’ll never have to worry about communicating with your HOA or township either. So relax and watch your dream outdoor living space come alive as we handle all of the heavy lifting so that you can focus on planning how you will enjoy your new custom outdoor living space.

Here’s how you can get started today:

Call: Schedule your meeting!

Collaborate: Create your perfect plan!

Construction: With an approved design, construction starts!

Celebrate: Raise a toast to your transformed home and the new life that comes from it!


(610) 628-2480

If you’re considering a custom outdoor living space, we have the perfect resource for you. For a limited time, download an exclusive copy of  “Your Guide to Building a Custom Outdoor Living Space,” and rest easy knowing you’re making the right investment in your home. With this tool, you can stop worrying and start creating the custom outdoor living space of your dreams today!

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