More Than a Patio

Creating Functionality and Beauty in Your Outdoor Space

A lot of homeowners are looking beyond the basic patio to a complete outdoor experience. They’re designing and building homes with multi-level patios connected to pools, spas, fire features and outdoor kitchens.

According to a May 2019 article on Zillow.com, a growing number of homeowners also want their interior design theme to continue outdoors. In other words, they want big spaces that serve multiple functions while also looking great.

Great spaces result from careful thought and planning. Before talking with your architect and builder, spend some time thinking about how you will use the space as well as aesthetics, views, maintenance and the weather.

outdoor space, pool, patio, outdoor living

Here are some issues to ponder:

What Will You Do?

In good design, form follows function. Do you just want a place to hang out and read? Something simple may be sufficient. Do you like to host sit-down dinners? You might want room for a grill, a dining table, chairs and a bar.

Do you prefer informal gatherings? Consider including discreet spots for intimate or small-group socializing, such as a step-down from a main patio to a few chairs around a low table. Will your toddlers use the patio for play? You’ll want doors and windows that offer a clear view from inside the house.

These are just a few examples. Your questions will depend on your lifestyle and priorities.

How About The Weather?

Outdoor living means planning for rain, sun, views, privacy and weather.

Think about how much of the year you want to use the space. An outdoor fireplace or fire ring can extend your enjoyment through fall and winter.  The patio can have electric sun shade screens to repel bugs and the sun in summer,

Outdoor Dining

A simple grill may be enough, but if you want to have a real outdoor kitchen, a good design is as an extension of the indoor living space and close to the kitchen. Placing the two spaces as close together as possible will allow easy movement between them.

Concrete block or steel studs with cement siding and stucco are good choices for outdoor cabinets, as is granite and glazed tile for the countertops.

Get the best grill you can. Quality, powder-coated steel will last if maintained properly but a better choice is grade 304 stainless, which has a reputation for long-term durability without rust. Also consider placing some shelter over the grill, such as a pergola for partial shade or a roof to repel rain.

If you want a sink, make it big enough to hold party platters. For the refrigerator, note that an expensive one may not perform better than a cheap one on a very hot day. You can also include a steel beverage trough in a counter and fill it with ice or integrate an ice chest in the cabinetry.

outdoor living, outdoor dining, outdoor grill

Thinking through these and other design issues takes time and effort, but in the end, you’ll have an outdoor space that enhances your lifestyle and that you’re proud to share with family and friends.

Warm Regards,

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