Fall In Love With Your Great Outdoors

Planning a Backyard Renovation Project, from Concept to Completion

"I’m so glad that you answered the phone. I want to improve my backyard, but don’t know where to start. Can you help me?"

Many of our projects start out with similar questions.

Designing is like a partner dance—you’re only as good as your partner. If you have a detailed plan for every step, then Outdoor Designs will follow your lead. If you’re looking for a partner to sweep you off your feet, then we’ll take the lead. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, you probably need a permit, which we do. Check out our permit guide for info on the projects and areas that we serve.

Why Pavers?

Let’s start with a rough concept from the ground, up. Specifically, pavers. We post a new story nearly every day on our Instagram and Facebook channels. So if anything catches your eye, take a screen shot and send it to us when discussing your project.

Incredibly strong, concrete pavers are available in a variety of shapes and colors. They can withstand at least 8,000 PSI (pounds of pressure per square inch), and comply with U.S. building standards, so they can support the weight of vehicles, pergolas, outdoor kitchens and screen enclosures. Unlike poured cement which will crack over time, concrete pavers are more flexible with ground movement, seasons and temperature changes, and will absorb trace amounts of water.

Replacing a damaged concrete paver is a painless process, unlike repairing a cracked concrete slab, which will never look like it did before the crack. In a backyard, it may be possible to install pavers on top of a slab, if the finished height will be below the door threshold. The door threshold must be at least 2 3/4-inches above the slab to avoid creating a tripping hazard.

The four most popular colors that we install are Napoli, Titanium, Harvest Blend and Adobe. The most popular companies are Belgard/Old Castle and Tremron. The most popular pavers have a lead time of about 16 weeks. We can pull the permit, if needed while you wait for the pavers.

The most popular paver patterns are random, “T” pattern and 90-degree herringbone.

Sealer is highly recommended and can help protect the pavers from the harsh Florida sun and daily rainstorms.

Retaining Walls

If you have a sloped yard, you will need a retaining wall. The steeper the slope, the higher the poured concrete footer wall will be or the more levels of retaining wall blocks will be needed.

If your yard slopes away from your house, you’ll need to build a level “platform” by starting with a wall and filling it with construction dirt that has good compaction qualities and crushed concrete on top. The level should slope away from your house so that rainwater runoff flows in the right direction. One or two collection boxes and a french drain could be installed for drainage on large retention walls. The final layer is the beautiful brick pavers that bring the space to life.

If your project includes a screen enclosure, then you will need a poured concrete footer retaining wall as an anchor against high winds for the structure. Screen enclosures require permits and architectural drawings, which will specify every detail including the width and height of the wall, as well as the number of horizontal and vertical, if needed, rebar to be used. Stucco or decorative facades could be applied to the wall to enhance the appearance.

If your yard slopes toward your house, then you’ll need a retaining wall to ensure that water does not flow onto the new project and enter the house.

Budget

Next let’s talk budget. It’s the least comfortable discussion of the project, but one of the most important. If you’re in the $3—10k range, we’ll suggest economical options like pavers and pergolas that will give you the most bang for your buck.

If “I’m looking for something stunning in the under $40k range,” sounds like you, then we could start with screen enclosures, large-format pavers, an insulated roof, artificial turf, outdoor kitchen or a Plungie Pool.

If “the sky’s the limit,” then we can explore premium materials, motorized louvers, motorized screens, cedar, travertine, marble and Italian appliances in an outdoor kitchen overlooking a Plungie Pool.

We are a dealer for Aqua Finance, who may be able to provide financing options for well qualified customers.

Plungie Pools

Plungie Pools offers four models of pre-fab concrete pools with ecoFinish polymer coatings. Their patented range of award-winning, world-first products are pioneering the future of swimming pools; bringing the fastest, easiest, and highest quality concrete pool to the market.

Please complete the Get a Quote form and we’ll reach out to discuss possibilities.

Pergolas

Whether freestanding or attached to a house; with a roof or without; made of wood, cedar or aluminum; pergolas are the perfect compliment to a backyard renovation. Multiple options are available for polycarbonate roofs that allow the desired amount of sunlight to penetrate, while repelling the rain. Pergola tails and wrapped columns can add a finishing touch to a beautiful project. Permits and architectural drawings will be needed in nearly every county and city in Central Florida, for good reason. They are big, heavy and potentially dangerous if not installed to code.

If providing cooler temperatures takes priority, then an insulated roof is the way to go. Strong enough to support our installers, these panels are three inches thick and can have internal fan beams for clean installations.

On the high-end side, aluminum pergolas can have motorized louvers overhead and motorized screens on the sides. With the press of a button, the roof can be closed and the screens can be lowered, keeping the insects at bay.

Solar Panel Pergolas

Harness the sunshine state’s namesake to power your new electric vehicle, heat your spa, or take a little off the top of your electric bill. Pair some new panels with some batteries and you can store the energy and use it at will.

Fire Pits

Rectangular, square, round, matching color, contrasting color, wood burning, propane or gas, there are many options for custom fire pits. Gathering around a warm fire is instinctual, and a fire pit naturally becomes the center of attention. When paired with a wall bench, you create a dynamic hub for your backyard.

Artificial Turf

Are you looking to add a softer touch to your hardscaping project? Are you looking to add a little green that won’t require weekly landscaping? Perhaps some good “clean” fun for the little ones will make laundry day and bath time a little less work. Ask Outdoor Designs if artificial turf is right for you.

Screen Enclosures

Mansard, the style of choice for screen enclosures over the last decade, has dethroned the dome. Featuring a flat top and sides that slope at an angle of nearly 45-degrees, this enclosure is as strong and impressive as it appears. Permits and architectural drawings will be needed. The drawings will dictate whether an 8-inch by 8-inch or a 12-inch by 12-inch footer is needed.

Footers

A footer is a trough that is dug into the ground or “framed” out of wood either above or below ground. #5 Rebar is embedded 6-inches into the house and bonded with epoxy. An 8-inch by 8-inch footer is the most common and usually calls for one “continuous” piece of rebar from one side of the house to the other. A 12-inch by 12-inch footer usually calls for two continuous pieces of rebar. If you have a sloped yard, you will need a retaining wall. The steeper the slope, the higher the poured concrete footer wall will be and there will be more horizontal, and possibly vertical rebar.

It’s called a “continuous” piece because the 20-foot pieces of #5 rebar overlap, called a “lap splice,” usually by 38-inches per the architectural drawings, and are tied together with wire. The rebar must be 3-inches above the ground, so 3-inch rebar chairs are used. Once all of the specifications in the drawings are met, a county or city inspection can be scheduled for the following day. After the footer passes inspection, it can be filled with cement.

Screen Rooms

Central Florida is scorching hot most of the time. Take a break from the sun and heat with an insulated roof. If you add ceiling fans through the internal fan beams, and keep the bugs out with screens, you’ll have a shaded, comfortable living space that you can use in the middle of a summer day.

The panels are three inches thick and are strong enough to support our installers. The architectural drawings and permitting process will ensure that the proper wind loads, materials and installation are maintained.

Outdoor Kitchens

Cook and dine “alfresco” in your own backyard with a beautiful outdoor kitchen by Outdoor Designs! Leave the smells, smoke and heat where they belong—in your great outdoors. From functional and economical to everything including the kitchen sink, we’ll help you channel you inner grill master.

Whether modern or traditional and clad with stone or tile, every detail is open for your interpretation. Granite, a natural stone, is a perfect countertop due to its durability against sun, rain, high- and low-temperatures, and fading.

Fences

Robert Frost wrote that, “Good fences make good neighbors,” and we add that “Good fence installers make happy clients.” The big 3 are white vinyl, tan vinyl and black aluminum, and if you have an HOA, then it’s highly likely that you’ll need one of these. Go with a company that will pull the permits so that you don’t have to worry about it later.

Painting

A coat of primer and two coats of quality paint will really make your place pop. Pair that with a new paver driveway and you’ll boost the curb appeal immediately.

Gutters

Sitting just above sea level creates unique opportunities for residential flooding in Central Florida. Heavy storms pour off of roofs, rutting and flooding yards if not corralled by gutters. Add some French drains onto the downspouts, and you’ll be able to route the water where you want it.

Leaf guards should be added if you have big, beautiful shade trees next to your home. Leaves collect in the gutters and can cause water to overflow. Adding leaf guards can help minimize your cleaning efforts.

French Drains

Whether stand alone with collection boxes, or attached to gutter downspouts, French drains turn soggy marshes into usable yards. If you have a downspout above the location of a future paver project, then a French drain must be added, to ensure that the water will go underneath, not empty on top of the pavers, which would cause erosion.

Choosing the Right Outdoor Living Partner

Outdoor Designs is a family-owned-and-operated, one-stop-shop for your dream backyard, from concept to completion. We will pull permits, arrange engineer drawings, guide you through conception, design and material selection.

We will order the materials, deliver them ourselves or have them delivered, provide on-site project management and installation. We also provide landscaping services—if we’re doing a complete outdoor living renovation.

We offer a one-year warranty on installation and materials. We are Better Business Bureau listed and have excellent reviews. We offer pavers, retaining walls, pergolas, fire pits, artificial turf, putting greens, screen enclosures, screen rooms, Plungie Pools, outdoor kitchens, fences, painting, gutters, French drains and more. We’ve even done a driveway culvert, permitted with Osceola County, in Kissimmee.

We are a dealer for Aqua Finance, who may be able to provide financing options for well qualified customers.

Let’s Collaborate!

Schedule a creative collaboration with us to explore your paver, pergola, screen room, screen enclosure, or artificial turf project.

Call or Text +1 407-990-2955 or contact us about your project today by following the link below and we’ll be in touch soon.

Check out our Facebook and Instagram channels where we try to post a new story every day! Fall in love with your great outdoors with Outdoor Designs.

Fall in love with your great outdoors
with Outdoor Designs.

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