The Most Important Thing You Need Before Remodeling

The Most Important Thing You Need Before Remodeling // Outdoor room via Better Homes and Gardensvia BHG and Simple Details Blog

As we are in the midst of renovating our side yard and planning our future interior remodel, I’ve been reminded of one thing you need that will always lead success with a remodel. If you don’t have this one thing, you probably aren’t ready to start renovating.

You have to have FLEXIBILITY if you want a successful outcome to home remodeling projects.

It’s really nice when projects come together just as you expected (that’s definitely a good goal), but being prepared in advance for a few unexpected experiences definitely makes the whole process less stressful and more successful.

Being flexible means you’ll be less stressed.

Last week I was told our concrete would be poured. It wasn’t. That’s not the contractor’s fault. It was the weather’s fault. If we had a big party planned for next week, we would’ve been totally stressed by the delay and the mess.

We have been inconvenienced by not having a fence around our yard, by having contractors outside of our window (and inside when we’ve done interior work in the past!), we had rats in our garage, we have stuff laying around outside that won’t be cleaned up until the projects are done. Remodeling projects often come with chaos, mistakes, messes, delays and rescheduling of contractors, so the ability to go with the flow will give you a greater sense of control.

1950s Ranch Patio Makeover - Before

Being flexible offers you opportunities to make better decisions. 

As our project got underway, it became clear that the existing porch we had originally planned to keep wouldn’t look as great or flow as well into our new patio or steps. If we left it as it was, we’d be somewhat disappointed in the finished project. We really wanted our porch to be attractive next to our new concrete and of course, next to the dream Dutch door. : ) That future visual sealed the deal for us, ha! Being flexible allowed us to make the right choice for this project.

Exterior Concrete Porch Removal

Being flexible allows you to correct mistakes and not perpetuate more problems.

We wished we had made the decision to redo the entire porch when the rest of the concrete was removed, but our budget conscious side had originally resisted doing more than seemed necessary. And darn, that delayed decision and lack of careful planning cost us more money. Being a little flexible with your design plan and budget helps you to swallow your pride to correct the mistake. Flexibility allows you to be confident in your new decisions so you’ll avoid additional problems that you may eventually regret.

Being flexible helps you to navigate the decisions without a breakdown.

Unexpected things happen when you remodel. Decisions need to made. Sometimes you realize as you go that you want or need to do a bit more (or less) than you originally planned on, you and your spouse might disagree on decisions, or your contractor might find a problem he didn’t expect. Flexibility will definitely help you to navigate the unexpected and maintain your sanity.

Framed Steps Progress

You save money when you are flexible with expectations and creative with solutions.

Being flexible means you can save money along the way, too, and still end up with a great project! Sometimes you save in the long run because you are able to group projects together to save on labor costs. But flexibility doesn’t always mean you have to do more or spend more money to get the results you want. Flexibility while maintaining a budget means you will be creative with solutions and complete projects at a pace and timeline that makes sense for your family.

Side Yard Progress

Wanting to finish the side porch now means we need to be flexible. We stay on budget by being totally fine with choosing not-as-expensive concrete surfaces as opposed to insisting on finishing with beautiful stone work. It means we will save additional projects in this space for a future time. It means we had to limit this project to the side porch this year, and not go on to the back patio or the front porch until we were ready to tackle another project. It meant we had to start our renovation outside instead of inside.

When you have a big vision and want to do ALL THE THINGS now, it’s hard to be patient and content on a budget! Flexibility means we will be able to do the best we can with what we have right now and be grateful for what we are able to do (rather than be impatient about what we can’t do or be tempted to overspend).

Renovating a house inside or out can be a stressful (and expensive) experience, but the more flexible you can be, the better the end result for your project, your family, your budget and your sanity.

The Most Important Thing You Need Before Remodeling

Inspired By: Charming Garden Gates

Stone Wall with Light Blue Rounded Gate - Charming Garden Gate
Atlanta Homes

All my life I’ve been intrigued by charming garden gates. Perhaps it is my love of the “secret garden” type fairytales, but gates are a key part of what makes a yard feel special, like it is a private outdoor room.

Curb Appeal - White Gate and Hedges - Black and White Awnings

I used to drive by this house (above) which was down the street from us when I lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I loved their front yard and gate (well, I loved their whole house — I think it was in a magazine, too).

Secret Garden Door - The Inspired Room

There was another darling house a few blocks down from us that had a private wood door on the side to a backyard, installed right in the middle of a super tall hedge. SO COOL! I took these photos probably ten years ago, I was pretty enthralled with that door. Believe me, I wanted to go look through that little window to see the backyard every time I walked by. But I didn’t. I am a house stalker but I try not to be too scary.

Front Yard shrubs - The Inspired Room

Her front yard (above) was beautifully landscaped and so well cared for I loved walking by it, but I felt like that back garden was her private sanctuary and I never got the chance to go in it (darn, in hindsight I should have just asked for a tour!). I wanted to respect her space and tried my best to restrain myself to not sneak a peek through her gate window (ha, although when the gate was open you better believe I was strolling past a few times just trying to get a glimpse of the glorious garden beyond!).

A charming garden gate really helps set the tone for the home, the style and personality of the owners and just makes coming into a yard a little more special, I think.

Because we are planning to put in two new gates in our side yard area (YAY!), we’ve definitely had gates on the mind lately. I’ve been searching online for inspiration and I can’t help but ask myself WHY can’t I have ALL THE GATES? :) I love so many of them! But for now we will install just two gates, so I’ve been working on narrowing them down to what would suit our situation and style. It wasn’t easy to pick, but I think I’ve got the side yard pretty much all designed now. I’m excited about the direction it is taking. More to come on our decisions!

But meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy a glimpse of spring today (to help pass the dark night of the soul that is January) with a few charming garden gates I ran across in my searches.


Painted White Gate - Round with Oval Cutout and Black Iron Hardware - Design by Jenny Wolf - Photo by Emily GilbertJenny Wolf / Photo by Emily Gilbert

Curved Garden Gate with Arbor and Hedge - Painted White Brick HouseBHG

Charming White Garden Gate with Metal Arbor
Atlanta Homes

Double Wooden Entry Gate - White House
Molly Frey Design

White Lattice Gate - Black Iron Hardware
Style At Home

Latticework Curved Two Door Garden Gate - Double Gate

White Gate with Arbor - Brick Patio

More Inspiration:

How to Create a Magical Garden

Raised Garden Bed Inspiration

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

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