The most beautiful, functional and long lasting decks and pergolas are professionally designed and built to blend seamlessly with your home. The great news is, there are ways you can save money without compromising on quality. Here are our top 5 ways to save money on your outdoor deck or pergola.
Tip 1: Ensure your garden is neat and tidy before the trades arrive onsite
While it’s logical to think you can stop maintaining your garden and lawns before construction starts, it’s not a good idea. Trades need a clear, clean site before they can begin work. That includes:
- Ensuring grass and garden areas are mowed and not overgrown with weeds
- Removing all outdoor furniture, pots and kids toys from the proposed construction site
- Relocating any pet enclosures if they are close to your home, such as rabbit or guinea-pig hutches, chicken coups etc
- Keeping your dog or cat inside while the trades are onsite
If you don’t do some basic site clearing before your builder arrives, you’ll be paying for the builder’s team to do it for you.
Tip 2: Understand the difference between PC or PS sums vs a fixed price contract
In your builder’s contract, you may see terms like PC item or PS item. These are estimates your builder includes when working out your quote.
PC items might include things like your balustrade or light fittings. If you chose something that is more expensive than your builder’s PC estimate, your final building cost will be higher than the quote. PS items include things like excavation work and labour costs which may increase if your builder experiences a problem while working on your deck or pergola.
However, if your builder gives you a fixed price contract, you have price certainty. It means all your selections have been included in the cost and the builder has thought about site access, the trades that will be required and how much time they will be onsite.
In the long run, you can expect a fixed price contract will save you money.
Tip 3: Avoid DIY components
You might think you can save money by doing some of the work yourself or by hiring a mate to help you. But in our experience, it usually leads to budget blow-outs and conflict. Things always take longer than you think if you try to do it yourself. Mates are great but what do you do if they get too busy to help you or do a lousy job?
Your builder will have trusted trades who prioritise his/her work because the builder is the trade’s main income source. That means your pergola or deck is built faster and probably to a higher standard than you could manage if you helped. Not only will this save you time and money, it will also save you and your family the inconvenience of living with a construction site in your garden.
Tip 4: Follow your builder’s advice and ask for their opinion
If you have selected your builder wisely, you should trust their opinion and if you aren’t sure about something, ask your builder for advice. In most cases, your builder will be delighted to assist – especially if it helps you achieve the deck or pergola of your dreams.
So tap into the knowledge and experience of your builder. It could save you money now or in the long run.
Tip 5: Build with energy efficiency in mind
When planning and designing your pergola or deck, the upfront building costs are usually the focus. But what about the on-going maintenance, heating, cooling and lighting costs? Over time, you’ll forget how much your new pergola or deck cost to build but you will always remember how much it costs to clean and treat the timber or cool your pergola in summer.
Don’t take shortcuts on the promise of immediate savings. It could cost you a lot more down the track.
The trades building your new deck or pergola are usually very hard workers. So they really appreciate small gestures. A cold drink on a hot day or a cup of coffee to keep them going are small gestures that will mean a lot to them. When you show you care, you can guarantee they’ll work even harder on your project.
We’re here to help you
At Mid Coast Pergolas & Decks, we are here to help you design, build and maintain your deck, patio, pergola or outdoor kitchen. We’ll listen to you when you describe what you want and we’ll offer advice and suggestions to help you achieve your outdoor entertaining vision.