An outdoor living space can completely transform how much you can enjoy Northern Michigan's breathtaking scenery. It offers a cozy and practical space for relaxation and entertainment while allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the area's natural splendor.
Yet, it's important to be aware of any potential costs before starting the process of designing your ideal outdoor oasis.
Failure to estimate the price of your future outdoor living area can result in budget overruns, unfinished projects, and subpar quality. Furthermore, poor research can result in shoddy or mediocre construction, which will limit the usability and general happiness of your outdoor space.
At Custom Built, we have over 15+ years of experience designing and completing thousands of outdoor living spaces - giving us a fully formed perspective into what costs you can expect while pursuing a similar project.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the factors that influence the cost of outdoor living spaces in Northern Michigan, as well as our professional estimates:
Average Cost of an Outdoor Living Space in Northern Michigan
Ready to estimate your outdoor living space costs? Using our considerations, here is a brief but informative breakdown of what you can expect to pay for each area of your project:
Average Deck Costs
Deck Size (sq ft)
Small-Sized Deck 14 ft x 20 ft (280 sq ft)
$25,000 - $50,000
Medium-Sized Deck 16 ft x 25 ft (400 sq ft)
$37,000 - $65,000
Large-Sized Deck 20 ft x 30 ft (600 sq ft)
$55,000 - $85,000
Average Landscaping Costs
Type of Landscaping
Cost Per Unit
*This is a general rule of thumb and could vary with specific plants/rocks or landscape goals.
Average Outdoor Addition Costs
Cost Per Unit
$10,000 - $25,000
$16,300 - $29,250
Basic Outdoor Kitchen
(Grill and Mini Fridge)
$20,000 - $35,000
Luxury Outdoor Kitchen
(Grill, Range, Mini Fridge, Minifreezer, Countertops)
$80,000 - $100,000
5 Factors that Influence the Cost of an Outdoor Living Space in Northern Michigan
1. Size and Scope of the Project Influence Overall Estimate and Material Usage
Do you want to design a big outdoor entertainment area or a modest, cozy patio?
The cost will be influenced by the size of the space, material selection, the complexity of the design, and the number of elements you want to include. As you design your oasis, remember to visualize how you intend to use the area and what features are necessary for your way of life.
A straightforward patio or deck will require fewer materials than a multipurpose outdoor living area with amenities like a kitchen, fire pit, water feature, and seating.
2. Materials and Finishes Impact Quality and Price
The appearance and cost of your outdoor living space can be significantly influenced by the materials and finishes you choose.
It's crucial to use materials that are resilient to weather in Northern Michigan, where the climate may be harsh thanks to frequent rain and snow.
Due to their resistance to the elements, options including natural stone, composite decking, and metal are popular alternatives. When choosing materials and finishes, take your desired feel and aesthetic, upkeep needs, and long-term durability into account.
On the other hand, natural stone pavers may be more expensive than stamped concrete, but they offer a timeless and elegant look that complements the surrounding landscape.
3. Enhancing Your Outdoor Living Space with Structural Elements and Features
Your outdoor living space will be more functional and aesthetically pleasing if structural features are added. These features, which range from outdoor kitchens and fire pits to pergolas and gazebos, serve as focal points and improve the whole experience.
The price of these components will differ based on elements like size, complexity, material choice, and the presence of auxiliary facilities like lighting and music systems. Prioritizing the components that support your design goals will allow you to set realistic expectations for your project, avoiding unnecessary additions or omissions from your end product.
For instance, using your outside space can extend into the cooler months if you install a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. Thinking of hosting weekend parties or simply wanting a space for nightly family dinners? An outdoor kitchen with a grill, sink, and storage makes outside dining more practical and frequent.
Applying the cost considerations we’ve identified above, you should expect basic outdoor kitchens (grill and minifridge) to cost less than luxury configurations (grill, range, mini fridge, mini freezer, countertops).
4. Landscaping and Hardscaping to Elevate Your Foliage and Water Features
In Northern Michigan, landscaping (foliage) and hardscaping (water features, concrete pathways, etc.) are ideal for an outdoor living area. Installing them elevates aesthetics and provides a smooth connection with the surroundings using local plants, trees, and shrubs. Pathways, retaining walls, and water features are hardscaping components that can give the area depth and visual interest.
The size of the area, the complexity of the design, the selection of plants and materials, and the requirement for professional installation will all affect the cost of landscaping and hardscaping.
Think about hiring a landscape architect or designer familiar with the special features of Northern Michigan's environment and can develop a sustainable and low-maintenance landscape plan.
Because they are adapted to the local conditions and require less water and upkeep, native plants are frequently a more cost-effective choice. While environmentally friendly elements like permeable paving or rainwater harvesting systems can increase costs, they also have long-term advantages.
5. Professional Labor and Services Impact Project Timeline
In Northern Michigan, the price of building an outdoor living space is heavily influenced by skilled labor and other professional services. The design, construction, and installation of your project will go more smoothly and with higher quality if you hire pros.
Professional services and their costs will vary depending on the difficulty of the project, the experience and skill of the contractors, and local rates in Northern Michigan.
Hiring a qualified architect or landscape designer to create your outdoor living area can be useful. These professionals have the knowledge and abilities to transform your concept into a practical and beautiful design that complements the distinctive features of Northern Michigan. To produce a design that smoothly blends with the surrounding environment, they will consider things like the topography, local climate, and natural components.
A professional designer may charge a fixed fee or a portion of the entire project cost, but their knowledge can help you make wise choices and prevent expensive errors. If you’re looking for a streamlined construction experience, design-build firms will work directly with trusted local landscaping architects to conceptualize and deliver your dream outdoor living space.
Next steps to designing your outdoor living space in Northern Michigan
Creating an outdoor living space in Northern Michigan allows you to embrace the beauty of the region and give your family an exciting area to make lifelong memories. However, going into a project without knowing accurate cost estimates can lead to underestimating - resulting in months to years of frustration over your unfulfilled vision.
While the cost of such projects can vary depending on size, scope, materials, features, and professional services, careful planning and research can help you manage your prices and transform your yard into the outdoor living space you’ve always wanted.
For the past 15+ years, we have helped our clients set realistic expectations for their home projects before, during, and after their build.
In this article, you have learned more about the factors that impact how much an outdoor living space costs in Northern Michigan and the average estimates you can expect.
To learn more about finding the right contractor for your outdoor needs, read the following articles:
Brian brings 20+ years of experience in the home remodeling industry to the table. He’s worked with families in all areas of whole home performance (science-backed solutions for home health, safety, comfort, and efficiency), residential renewable energy, conservation, foundation, and hydrostatic issues and solutions.