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Investing In Your Hamptons Landscape: Top Five Backyard Improvements To Increase The Value Of Your Home

The number one improvement for return on your investment is a luxury gunite swimming pool and spa. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)

How much is enough? How much is too much?

Homeowners in the Hamptons often have to decide between the practical, the impractical, and the over-the-top. The type of over-the-top pampering that most people dream of is available in your own backyard. And, you don't have to feel the least bit guilty about it; because, quite often, major improvements to your landscape can be highly practical.

The second best return on investment can be attained by increasing your livable space. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)

1. Custom Gunite Pool: The number one improvement for return on your investment (that will also offer years of enjoyment) is a luxury gunite swimming pool and spa. Most real estate brokers will confirm that either building a heated gunite pool or replacing your existing vinyl pool with gunite adds great value to your home. We recently helped a client in Sagaponack receive an incredible return on his investment within one summer. The construction of a new gunite pool with a patio and an outdoor kitchen allowed an increase in rental income for the summer that equaled the cost of the project.

Outdoor kitchens can be both fun and practical. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)

2. Custom Pergala: The second best return on investment can be attained by increasing your livable space. A custom pergola substantially increases outdoor living space and accentuates a pool area. It can add to your comfort as you soak in a late August sunset and also add to the calm of your own piece of paradise. Pergolas can be simple or quite elaborate. The dimensions, the lighting, and the overall aesthetics can change the entire look and feel of your backyard. It can also add to the value of your home well beyond the cost of the project.

Even a modest pool house is likely to be fairly elaborate. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)

3. Outdoor Kitchen: Outdoor kitchens can be both fun and practical. Gone for many are the days of firing up the Weber grill and calling the kids to come over for a burger. The accoutrements of an outdoor kitchen are far reaching. Hot and cold running water, an ice machine, a Viking or DCS or Wolf grill, a marble counter top, custom stone work throughout, and electrical outlets; all allow for a more pleasurable (and contained) cooking experience. And, the best news, the investment of a high end outdoor kitchen with reward you for years to come.

For a more modest investment, a simple outdoor shower can make life more pleasant. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)

4. Pool House: If you have room for a legally permitted pool house, you are among the most fortunate few of Hamptons residents. Even a modest pool house is likely to be fairly elaborate. A sitting or sleeping area, a bathroom/shower room, an indoor kitchen, a place to warm up (or cool down), and possibly an area for some private time out of the sun while others enjoy the pool are just some of the conveniences that a pool house provides. Many already have a pre-existing non conforming building (such as a garage, shed, or other ancillary building) on your property and could consider converting it into a pool house. Adding an additional space or renovating a dwelling that is already on your property truly maximizes the value of what is permitted by law by the local towns and villages.

5. Outdoor Shower: For a more modest investment, a simple outdoor shower can make life more pleasant, especially after a day at Main Beach in East Hampton. A well conceived plan will allow the shower area to blend into your home and add to the backyard area. Form, function, and a valuable addition to your summer retreat are all easily obtainable for relatively minor investment.

Quite honestly, the single most important improvement you can make to your backyard is you, your family, and your friends. Too many homes in the Hamptons go unused for too many days. The late great Warren Zevon said, "We buy books because we believe we're buying the time to read them." Don't let that be true of your pools, pergolas, and outdoor kitchens. Enjoy every sandwich and every day in the Hamptons with the people you love.

Chris Hall is a partner at Pembrooke Fine Landscapes. He has been a luxury gunite pool and landscape consultant for over thirty years and shares his observations and advice each month on Hamptons.com. www.pembrookefinelandscapes.com PembrookeLand PembrookeLand PembrookeLand

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