It’s so much more than a grill setting next to a table and a few chairs.
Today, outdoor living includes, but certainly isn’t limited to: pergolas, fire pits, granite countertops, refrigerators and breathtaking stonework.
“Helping people to create outdoor living space at their home has really become a passion for us,” says Mark Nolot, founder of Vision Scapes Lawn and Landscapes Inc. in Fort Wayne. “This is what I really get excited about anymore. It’s fun and every project is unique and beautiful.”
Nolot and Mark Worrel, head of operations at Vision Scapes, have been in business for 17 years and have seen a lot of trends come and go, but they say outdoor living is a trend that is here to stay.
“With most families today, both the husband and wife work full-time and after work, they are busy with their kids’ activities,” says Worrel. “People don’t have the time or interest in taking care of a high maintenance yard. And a lot of families would love to have a lake place, but don’t have the time to commit to it. So, bring the lake to your home with outdoor living. That’s what my family did and we couldn’t be happier with it.”
Nolot says very few customers want a whole bunch of plants in landscape beds in their backyard anymore.
“Maintaining plants in landscape beds takes a lot of time. With the kind of outdoor living spaces we build, there is very little, if any, maintenance. Plus, we’ve done so many of these, that our staff is highly skilled at it. If we build an outdoor living space for you, I guarantee it will look gorgeous for many years to come.”
“I have a background in building, so I approach outdoor living projects like I would if I was building a house,” says Nolot. “I meet with the customers and we come up with a budget and then figure out how much space they need. In general, you want 50 to 65 square feet per person. That gives us a starting point. Then you need to decide which features are most important to you. Maybe you’d like several items, but your budget will only allow for two features right now. That’s not a problem for us. Spend the money on what you can afford right now and then we’ll build it in such a way that we can easily add on those other features at a later date when you can afford it.”
“I also tell people that they have to put more than just face value into the estimate we give them,” says Worrel. “If I were to install a patio right next to another company’s patio, they would probably look the same when they were done. Now wait five years…believe me, you will see a difference. My patio will still look new, but the other one will have some cracks, shifting and unevenness. Our installation is done properly.”
“A big part of outdoor living is the outdoor kitchen,” says Nolot. “I’m talking about things like a bar, refrigerator and built-in grill. The only thing I don’t recommend is a sink, unless you’re willing to spend considerably more to have the sink plumbed with both warm and cold water. Typically, people don’t want to wash or rinse their hands in just cold water.”
Another question both Nolot and Worrel say you need to ask yourself before having an outdoor living space built, is how long you plan to stay in your home.
“If you think you’ll be moving in a couple of years, then don’t spend $40,000 to have something that’s extremely customized for your needs,” says Worrel. “Chances are, you won’t get your money out of it. But, if you plan to stay another 10 years, then, by all means, make it your own because you’ll be there to enjoy it and you’ll still get your money’s worth. And even 10 years later, having a custom, outdoor living space will be a big selling point to a potential buyer. It’s definitely like curb appeal, except it’s on the back of your house.”
“Having an outdoor living space really brings your whole family together,” says Nolot. “You can use this space for three seasons out of the year. Having an area created where you can have some serenity is just one of the benefits you’ll enjoy. Maybe you only have little chunks of time here and there, but that’s why outdoor living is perfect. You simply flip a switch to fire up your gas burning fire pit—the kids make s’mores and then you’re done. No problem. No mess. You move on with your life and come back to enjoy it the next day. Outdoor living appeals to both adults and kids.”
“I think what differentiates us from other companies is our philosophy that we treat your money like it was our own money,” says Nolot. “We don’t cut corners just to save a few bucks because we wouldn’t want someone to do that to us. It’s your money and we are here to guide you through the process of how to get the most for your money with a beautiful outdoor living space. We’re easy to work with and, if you have a problem, we take care of it because that’s the right thing to do. I can honestly say to all of our customers, that we have your best interest at heart in every project we do.”
Phone: (260) 485-2683