Outdoor Living Spaces

It doesn’t matter how what the size of your outdoor space is, whether a tiny patio or an expansive deck. Today’s emphasis on creating outdoor living spaces – places in which friends and family can relax, laugh, share a glass of wine, enjoy a fireplace, grill dinner and lounge by a pool or a water feature.

It’s all about making the best of home, and creating an outdoor living space to enjoy during pleasant weather is right up there on the list of most popular remodeling projects today.

“Enhancing the outdoor living space has been a huge trend in home improvement in the past few years, making the backyard more enjoyable for homeowners while adding value to the home,” writes Danny Lipford of the website Today’s Homeowner and a web series on Outdoor Living At its Best.

Lipford, who recently remodeled his own patio, offers a few of his favorite trends in outdoor living:

  1. Outdoor kitchens: Remember the backyard barbecues of your childhood, with dad (probably) grilling outdoors and mom (probably) trying to carry condiments and side dishes outside while monitoring the kids, and the guests probably stood around, not sure what to do? Say goodbye to all that. An outdoor kitchen gives you time, space, and the ability to enjoy your guests while grabbing a cold drink, keeping an eye on the grill, getting the kids to wash their hands in the outdoor sink (instead of traipsing inside the house), and watching the sunset, or the hummingbirds at the feeder.
  2. Folding glass doors: Installed between inside and outside living spaces, they allow you to bring the light and feeling of the outdoors into your home, and then expand the entertaining area when the weather’s pleasant.
  3. Outdoor television: Do you sometimes find yourself at a sports bar, enjoying the baseball game but hating the crowd noise? Installing an outdoor TV – don’t worry, they are glare- and moisture-protected – gives you the best of both worlds. It’s no sin to like both the outdoors and organized sports on TV.

The architectural design magazine House Beautiful – in keeping with its name – also has ideas for remodeling your outdoor living space. In a gallery of 40 gorgeous spaces, it shows off such accents and amenities as arched doorways, upholstered outdoor furniture with colorful throw pillows, iron lanterns, terra cotta plant containers and vases, small patio tables that can be pushed together for a crowd, sling chairs for a comfy corner, a pergola or nook created with outdoor walls and windows,  accent tile or stone work, a gas patio fireplace, built-ins for extra seating, mood lighting, a patio fire pit or fire bowl, and, if you’re really in the summer spirit of things, a walk-up bar with a sink and refrigeration hidden beneath.

But don’t let the fact that your remodeling project is outdoors fool you – you still need an expert, qualified contractor to make sure things go well. If your outdoor upgrade is only about furnishings, paint, and accessories, you’re good to go. But if your goals include a modern or Mediterranean architectural style, poured concrete, electricity, plumbing, tile work, a fireplace, appliances, or building of any kind, you’ll benefit by choosing someone who does this for a living and knows what he or she is doing. They will help you avoid costly mistakes and make sure you get exactly what you want.