Your Backyard Living Space
Spring: the time of year the trees and flowers bloom–and so do the ideas for improving your home. Especially ways to add some quality outdoor living space to make your home even better.
“Quality” outdoor living space means space that not only adds to your enjoyment and relaxation, but that also increases the beauty of your home. This can be as simple as a small deck or patio or can be a multi-level, multi-function space perfect for relaxing, dining, or even for those special events, complete with elegant lighting, a screened porch, outdoor kitchen, spa, fire pit and more.
Add Space for Less
Assuming your outdoor living space is consistent with the level of design and features of your home, an outdoor living area can be less expensive per square foot than indoor space. It also adds a whole new dimension to your at-home experience. In other words: it’s too valuable a space to ignore and you won’t regret it!
From Decks to Accessibility: The Possibilities are Endless
There are endless ideas for creating just the right outdoor living space for your home. Here are a few things to consider.
Decks. They can be simple – one level and rectangular – or they can be multi-level with custom shapes. They can be with or without a roof or awning, with or without screening and made of one of several composite or engineered building materials that offer longer life and require little to no maintenance.
Patios. Being at ground level, patios are perfect for integrating your home with your landscaping, which can offer shade, privacy, fragrance and beauty to your time outdoors. There are a tremendous number of building material choices (man-made and natural) for patios. You may like the variety, color predictability, and cost that man-made products (like brick, pavers, and poured surfaces) offer or you may prefer the warmth and blending of colors and textures of natural stone.
Lighting. What really lets you expand the hours of enjoyment your outdoor living space affords is lighting. But it can do much more than keep you from tripping over the dog in the dark. Exterior illumination can be done in a creative way, as dim or bright as you want, that sets a mood and adds drama to your home. It pays to consider the lighting design as carefully as you consider the design of your deck or patio.
Cooking. If you are not doing at least some cooking outside, you are really missing out! Your options range from a charcoal grill to a complete outdoor kitchen with a mega gas grill, sink, refrigerator, icemaker, counter space for food prep and serving, storage cabinets, a fireplace or fire pit, and more.
Shade. Whether you love to bask in the sun or would prefer to sit in the shade, you have options…and a lot of them! At one end of the spectrum, you might opt for just a freestanding umbrella to provide spot shade, or you may like the flexibility of a retractable awning or sunshade. For a more permanent solution, you may wish to have part of the space under a roof, pergola or gazebo (or even screened in).
Accessibility/Universal Design. When designing an outdoor living space, you may want to consider building in some universal design features for maximum accessibility for all. Always provide secure hand rails for stairs. Low-rise steps, low-threshold doorways, and levers instead of doorknobs are excellent options.
You will get years of enjoyment from your investment in your outdoor living space if you take the time to have it planned out carefully, designed right, and built for low maintenance and long life.