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Turn your backyard into the oasis of your dreams

Financial Advice


Articles and research about improving your home

Ideas on turning your backyard into the oasis of your dreams

Financial Advice


Articles and research about improving your home

Turn Your Backyard Into an Oasis

Published March 17, 2017 by Jim Baker

Have you ever dreamed of turning your own backyard into a vacation destination – the kind of place you want to retreat after a long day at work? With some imagination and a Home Equity Loan from Amplify Credit Union you can make that dream a reality.

Think Big or Think Small

First, you’ll want to determine what you want to do – not to mention how much you want to spend. Whether it’s a simple landscaping upgrade to a swimming pool installation or something in between, you can remake your backyard into your vision of paradise.

Think of the Possibilities

We are lucky that the weather in Central Texas beckons us to take our inside activities and move them into the backyard. There are any number of things you can incorporate into your backyard renovation that will enhance your lifestyle:

Swimming Pool: If you’ve got the room and the desire, there’s nothing quite like a swimming pool to make your backyard a warm weather destination.

Outdoor Kitchens: Anything you can do inside you can do outside with today’s modern outdoor kitchen facilities. Smokers, ovens, grills, stoves, refrigerators, sinks – they have all been specially designed to go outdoors. Entertaining is much easier when you can mingle with the guests while doing the food preparation, eliminating the need to go in and out of the house.

Outdoor Screens: More and more people are installing large-screen televisions on their patios, which are great for big-game events or movie nights under the stars.

Fire Pits: Not only can they be attractive additions, these allow you to enjoy your backyard year ‘round.

Pergolas and Gazebos: They are decorative and functional and help keep the sun at bay.

Amusements: This could mean anything from a deluxe sandbox to a tennis court. The choices are many: bocce court, horseshoe pits, climbing wall, batting cage, putting green – whatever you can come up with.

Jacuzzis and Hot Tubs: These can be enhancements to your swimming pool or stand-alone installations.

Dog Washing Stations: There are some very fancy – and practical – applications you can have, all designed to keep your pooch clean and your home from getting messy in the process.

All-Weather Furniture No paradise is complete without a place to lounge.

Man Caves, She Sheds, and Granny Pods

Another backyard trend is building a small, self-contained structure that can serve as a hobby house, creative retreat or residence. This kind of versatility can make your home more saleable should you decide to move. Naturally, you’ll want to check the local zoning codes before building.

Man caves have been popular for years, but they’re not just for garages or rec rooms anymore – they can now stand alone in the backyard. Some double as workshops, freeing up the garage for storage and parking cars. The newest trend is the “she shed,” the female equivalent to the man cave. In either case, they provide a backyard sanctuary. The so-called “granny pods” are separate structures that can house a parent or other guest who has come to stay permanently. They feature kitchenettes and bathroom facilities and afford the tenant and homeowner both a level of privacy.

The Best Rates

Because you are using your home as collateral, you are unlikely to find a better interest rate than on a home equity loan. Your loan might also be tax deductible1 (check with a tax professional). To calculate your payment or learn more about Home Equity Loans, click below.

1. Home Equity: APR is Annual Percentage Rate. Loans Subject to approval. Combined Loan-to-Value (CLTV) cannot exceed 80% of your home’s value. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership and Property Insurance required.

HELOC: The home equity line of credit Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is variable and is based on the highest Prime Rate published each month-end in The Wall Street Journal Money Rates Table (the "Index"), plus a margin. The current Index is 3.50%. Maximum APR is 17.90%. This Account has a Draw Period of 10 years, after which you will be required to repay any amounts within a 10-year term. Interest on your HELOC may be tax-deductible – please consult your tax advisor for details. Property Insurance, including flood insurance as needed, is required. Loans Subject to approval. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership required. Consult the CFPB's Home Equity Line of Credit booklet as well as the Early HELOC Disclosure for more information.

Under Texas law, the maximum you can borrow with a HELOC is 50% of the fair market value of your home, as long as the combined loan-to-value does not exceed 80% in cases where there is an existing first lien mortgage on the home. A minimum draw amount of $4000 is required for each advance after the initial $10,000 advance at origination.

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