How to determine the cost of your outdoor living project

Posted August 6, 2020 in Blog, General, Landscape Design

Like any home renovation project, the cost of building a deck, patio, roof, or pool can easily get out of control if you don’t understand the cost of your investment before construction begins. This is why it is important to know exactly how much your project will cost before you dive into any outdoor improvement project.

At MasterPLAN, we know that you want a trusted and supportive partner that will help you visualize exactly what your backyard could look like and understand exactly how much it will cost. This is why your custom full-color 3D design will include a Budget Study that provides a rough range of costs, laid out ala carte.

These important details will help you make educated and informed decisions on your outdoor living space’s structure, finish, and material selections. Joshua Gillow, Founder & President at MasterPLAN explains more about the process:

  • When do you start talking to your clients about the project budget?

We discuss the project budget very early on in our process; it is actually a part of our initial phone call with every client. Budget is a very strong determining factor in a project, so we like to start with this upfront.

The last thing we want to do is design a space that costs 10x more than your budget to build. This would be a huge waste of time and money for everyone involved. By understanding the budget from the start, we can guide our clients toward the best solutions that fit their expectations.

  • Why does MasterPLAN offer a Budget Study?

In the past, we have found that when we present a design with no sense of cost structure, it can lead to disappointment and breaking trust with our clients.

Our 3D design program has no heart and it can spend every dollar a homeowner can ever make. This is why it is important for us to define rough budget parameters early in the process. This makes sure we aren’t wasting time and money designing an outdoor living space that will never be built.

  • When is the Budget Study presented?

The budget study is presented approximately 1 week after the preliminary design has been released for the initial client review.  It is presented by your designer so you can go through every aspect of the design and details that affect your project’s budget.

At this point, homeowners can collaborate with their designer to review which features in the design add comfort and needed function within the space and which will not.  This type of intrinsic thinking and collaboration will make the most out of the design process and ensure your new space adds the most value to your home.

Any feature or detail that doesn’t add peace and comfort can be removed or reimagined, giving us the opportunity to see how everything comes together in the final budget.  This allows full transparency and flexibility while making the best decisions for your space and your family.

  • What happens if the Budget Study is more than what the client wants to spend?

As designers, our #1 priority is to create a custom environment that enhances your outdoor experience, your life, and the value of your home.  Sometimes this costs more than an original budget.  We have been hired to show how a space can be it’s very best and our process allows you to discover the things that are truly important to you and how they affect the overall project.

Armed with the design and associated budget study, you can now consider what means the most and creates the most value for your space.  If you want to reduce costs and redesign a section of the overall project, our Love Your Design Guarantee ensures we get every detail just right with no additional cost. We consider this a part of the journey to find the best solutions for your outdoor living space at a price point, you feel comfortable with.

  • Does a MasterPLAN design and/or Budget Study ever expire?

A MasterPLAN design never expires. However, the budget study is only valid for 30 days.

This is due to the everchanging cost of construction materials.  Updated pricing is easy to obtain and we can hop back into the project quite easily if there has been a pause in the process.

  • Is the pricing of the Budget Study guaranteed?

Budget pricing is just that.  It is designed to be a rough range of historical costs similar to projects we have done in the past.  This tool helps guide us in selecting the most important features to keep in a master plan and which ones we need to retool.

The budget study is the best strategy in being transparent with the overall costs so early in the process without any engineering or other construction documents yet completed.  From this document, we can make educated decisions on materials that can adjust the costs of your project and make sure you never feel overextended financially.

  • What happens after I approve the Budget Study?

Once you have approved the design and the associated budget study, we will proceed with gathering final pricing and transform your range of costs to a final overall project cost.

Upon your approval of your final overall project cost and design, we will get to work and do all the heavy lifting to complete your build!

Planning a new backyard is a very exciting process, but we get how overwhelming it can be if you can’t make educated and informed decisions about each detail of your investment. You are not alone!

At MasterPLAN we want you to feel comfortable and confident with the decisions you make about your space’s structure, finish, and material selections. This is precisely why we have provided a Budget Study to hundreds of homeowners just like you! This proven process helped them design and build an outdoor living space that maximizes their home value, helped them fall in love with their home all over again, and made their backyard a magnet to life’s most important moments!

Here’s how you can start your backyard transformation:

Call –Schedule a design meeting!

Collaborate – Create your perfect plan!

Construction– With an approved design, construction starts!

Celebrate– Raise a toast in the backyard of your dreams!


(610) 628-2480

In the meantime, sign up for more Design Tips and Tricks so you can avoid wasting time, money, and space by designing your new outdoor living space before we do all the heavy lifting to complete your build!

Join Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with what is happening with MasterPLAN Outdoor Living.

Affiliates & Partners
Lehigh Valley Style
Lehigh Valley Business Association
Pennsylvania Builders Association
Qualified Remodelers
The Designer