Planning a Patio: Things to Consider

Keep in mind that building codes, zoning laws and setbacks will come up in your patio project. Arm yourself with tips to work through these obstacles.

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Photo courtesy of Joanne Kostecky

As with any major improvement or addition to your home, when you hire a reputable professional to design and build your patio it is their job to contact the local building department in your area to find out what the building codes, zoning and setbacks from the property lines are in your town.

Not all towns have the same codes and in fact, some municipalities may not require a building permit at all for patio construction. The professional will need to contact the town before they finalize plans for your patio. Often, towns require that the professional submit a copy of the plans for approval before a building permit will be issued and construction can begin.

If the plans do not meet the town code, the professional modifies them and the plans are resubmitted for approval. Any applicable fees required by the town for permits will be applied to the cost of the project.

If you want to check with your town yourself before you hire a professional, they will generally have printed guidelines for you to follow. Again, the professional you hire should be able to tell you what you can and cannot build before they begin.

Taxes

How much your property taxes will increase depends on how much you spend on the project and how much your home’s assessed value increases because you added a patio. This varies by town so there’s no blanket amount nationwide. Once the work is finished, the town will reassess the value of your home and increase your taxes accordingly.

Check with the tax assessor’s office in your town for advice on how much of an increase you can expect. You might want to factor that increase into your budget before you hire a professional to draw up plans and begin work. That way, you can adjust your budget and possibly, adjust the size of your patio if the additional taxes are more than you want to incur.

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