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5 Tips for Designing a Luxurious Patio: An Interview with Greg Perger of Sunset Patio Construction & Design

By Greg Perger

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Sunset Construction and Design was established in 2010 when I joined forces with Jay Hagobian, owner of Sunset Patio & Awning. When the economic crunch hit late in 2009, people were no longer considering a move to a newer, larger home. Instead,they were looking for ways to extend their indoor comforts outdoors. As a general contractor we were qualified to open walls and install French doors and beautiful glass retractable walls, run gas and electrical lines, water and drains - virtually everything found in a home could be moved outdoors into a comfortable even luxurious setting.

We are in the business of helping people discover their own backyards and the fun and beauty they can find there. As folks decide that the time to sell their home isn't now, they are instead looking for design ideas to help them take advantage of what they already have. They have learned one of the best home improvements you can make is to enhance the outdoor living areas around your own home. Often, the cost of those improvements can be offset or even overcome by the enhanced resale value.

What are some of the most popular styles or features for patios in the Fresno area?

Mediterranean and Tuscan styles are the most popular in the Fresno area. Features would include heavy beamed ceilings supported by rustic stone columns. Some people opt for fireplaces, others are content with fire pits and seat walls. Those who do a lot of entertaining incorporated barbecue islands and refreshment centers with bars.

What are the basic choices that a homeowner will need to make when they're designing a new patio?

Because of its convenient location and outdoor living feel, a patio is often seen as an extension of your indoor living space. Whether it's made of stone, brick or concrete, this paved spot is frequently the life of the party, especially when you add a grill, fire pit or fireplace. With an outdoor kitchen and dining set, it can become your favorite eating spot, while an abundance of patio furniture and colorful decor turns it into the perfect sunny lounge. Since it has so many different functions, planning out your patio is key before you start remodeling.

First of all, take time to figure out what material works best for you and decide whether you want a covered or uncovered spot. Next, determine what amenities are important to you. Is an outdoor fireplace essential or would a smaller scale fire pit work just as well?

Finally, much like any other room, decorate the space to ensure that it's welcoming, interesting and colorful. With an outdoor space your materials help dictate the overall style and feel, so make sure the patio accurately reflects the style of the home.

What is one of the biggest challenges that people face when they want to design a patio that stands out?

Today almost any activity you enjoy inside your home, you can bring to the outside. Depending on your budget, your outdoor room can be simple, with a stamped concrete patio, a grill and a table for dining, or more elaborate with a fully functional outdoor kitchen complete with granite or cast in place countertops for preparing and serving food, a sink and a refrigerator. You can take the concept even further by adding such amenities as a pizza oven, a fireplace or fire pit, a bar top for serving cocktails, an architectural fountain or fire feature, landscape lighting and concrete statuary. Deciding what is important with the amount of space and money you have is one of the biggest challenges homeowners have.

Can you briefly talk about some things that make patios really enjoyable and comfortable for homeowners?

Water has been an indispensable component in the landscape for a number of years, fire features have only recently become a backyard essential. The addition of a fire element is one of the hottest trends we're seeing in outdoor design.

Used alone, fire and water each have their own attractions, but bring them together and the appeal is enchanting. On a practical level, fire does much more. Because it provides warmth and light, the addition of fire in the landscape extends the use of the yard into the night and into the cooler seasons of the year. Fire features allow homeowners to get much more use out of the outdoor spaces they love.

Do you have any design tips for people who want a luxurious patio at an affordable price?

Planning is everything! Decide what you want and establish a budget before you set the foundation. If what you want doesn't fit into your budget, make provisions to add them later. Gas and electrical lines can be run underground before you pour concrete and tapped into later when you have money for that elaborate fireplace. Remember, footings are needed for those overhead structures and can be costly if added later. Elaborate, luxurious patios can cost upwards of $50,000.00 so if you don't have that kind of money laying around, have a plan and stick to it.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

I still like the personal connection a phone provides, however being a hands-on builder doesn't always make me available during the day. Since I wake every morning at 4am, busy at my desk by 5am and on the job by 6:30, this is best time for calls. Emails and text are also great because pictures can be sent so ground work may begin immediately. Call or text 559-940-3357 or email gregperger@gmail.com. You can also contact me through my website

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