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You want to redo your kitchen and bathroom because they’re old and tired, but also because it can be easier to sell your house if you have new cabinets, sinks and more exciting countertops in these key rooms of your home.

But new surveys indicate remodeling your outdoor living areas can be a good investment, too.

Every year Remodeling Magazine puts out a Cost vs. Value Report of household improvements. This year the magazine said a $60,000 remodel of a kitchen can recoup about 70.6 percent of its value in Arizona when a house is sold.

For the first time, the study also reported on the value of a backyard patio: A 20- by 20-foot flagstone covered patio, including sliding glass door, gas-powered fire pit and modular kitchen, lights, gas and electrical connections, will cost about $50,000 in Arizona. That patio would add $27,179 to a home’s resale value for about 55 percent of what it cost.

More good news from the National Association of Realtors in a report that said adding a patio of some kind for $6,400 could recover 102 percent of its value, a $4,500 fire pit could recover 78 percent, and an outdoor gas fireplace priced at $13,300 could recover 60 percent of what the homeowners spent in all.

“Outdoor living has really become part of the fabric of our lives,” says Nathan Angel, Belgard sales manager with Oldcastle Superlite in Phoenix. “The sofas and furniture are beginning to look more and more like what the furniture for inside the house. People are adding more storage cabinets and counters for dishes and cooking equipment. They are putting appliances outdoors as well. People even put in beds.”

Flooring choices for patios and verandas are becoming more sophisticated and have a spectrum of prices: concrete pavers, $5.50 to $6 a square foot when installed correctly; permeable pavers, $9 a square foot; flagstone, $18-$20 a square foot; porcelain tiles, $9 a square foot; porcelain tiles that look wood, $12-14 a square foot; concrete pavers that look like wood, $7-$8 a square foot installed. There is also a lot of travertine for outdoor use that can be very cheap, but is of very poor quality, Angel says.

Here are some tips about doing a successful backyard remodel in Arizona no matter how cheap or expensive your plans are:

1 | Location, Location, Location.

Think carefully about the location of the outdoor “kitchen,” says Jay Harper of Harper’s Nursery in Scottsdale. Even in winter in the desert you can be grilling a steak and sweating in the intense sunshine. You want a shade structure over the barbecue; you need shade for the dining table. A covered patio or gazebo is highly desirable if not a necessity.

2 | Keep Your Kitchens Close.

Don’t place the cooking area too far away from the real kitchen in your house, Harper also says. You don’t want to run miles back to your indoor kitchen for dishes or food you forgot or if you’re taking dishes to the dishwasher after a meal.

3 | Investing In Appliances.

Outdoor living components designed and manufactured by Harmony for Belgard Hardscapes.

Think twice about investing in lots of appliances for outdoor use. The best dishwashers, TVs and other devices are very pricey. Keeping appliances powered up in the summer is also costly. Refrigerators may run constantly in July and August. In winter and the monsoon season, these devices may need extra protection.

4 | Don’t Forget the Kitchen Sink.

Even if you don’t put in a dishwasher, you want a sink to provide cold water for washing hands and doing some clean-up jobs. A sink is also important for a bar area or counter. You need it to dump ice and liquids when refilling drinks. A garbage disposal can also be important.

5 | Light Up Your Night.

If you’re dining outside at night, extra lighting on pathways and around the dining and cooking areas is desirable.

6 | Natural Gas Requires Special Attention.

If you need natural gas for a grill or new electric lines or plumbing pipes, all that work should be done by a licensed electrician or plumber and that means you need to get a building permit. Instead of doing permanent gas lines, you may be able to install a cabinet with a propane tank inside to use for a fire pit or fireplace.


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