At one time, it was enough to have a patio in the backyard for lounging and entertaining. Today's homeowners are more sophisticated, which may be why outdoor living areas are gaining in popularity and becoming a popular home improvement for homeowners and sellers. The best outdoor living areas have a variety of components that can increase comfort and give homeowners options as they spend time outside.
Sun is a welcome component of any outdoor living area, but it can also get hot and uncomfortable. No outdoor living area is complete without shelter to give shade. Shade can be provided in many ways, so it's up to the homeowner to decide how it should be done.
- Canvas covering. This option is utilitarian, easy to install and effective against the sun, but sometimes lacks in beauty.
- Pergola. A vine-covered pergola adds beauty to any back yard, and for any homeowner dedicated to natural shade, this is a smart way to provide shade in natural ways.
- Tall plants. Some homeowners prefer to provide shade and privacy through tall plants, like potted cypress trees.
The most sophisticated outdoor living spaces will have an actual roof that can provide shade and shelter from the elements. This type of shelter provides protection from rain and snow, and thus makes it easier for homeowners to install outdoor electronics like a television and entertainment center.
Seating is critical in any outdoor living space. Homeowners who construct their outdoor space must decide for themselves whether they want their seating to be built in to the structure, or installed separately in the form of moveable furniture. Often, homeowners will install a combination of these two types of furniture.
Typically, seats are arranged into zones where guests and residents of the household can sit in groups to talk and share stories. This grouping creates an intimacy that makes the living space a fun area to spend time.
Kitchen and Dining
Dining and food preparation is an important part of any outdoor living space. Often homeowners choose to install a grilling area and counter space where food can be cut, cooked and served to guests. Homeowners who wish to install a gas grill and refrigerator in their outdoor living space must hire an experienced plumber and electrician to ensure that installation is done properly.
When planning the dining area, many homeowners will place the dining space in an area of the outdoor living space where there is a good view of the backyard or surrounding environment. This makes it easier to enjoy the time spent eating outside. Homeowners who like to entertain may also ensure there is ample space for everyone they wish to invite over.
Weather-Safe Outdoor Storage
Any outdoor living space will need weather-safe storage to make it functional and effective year round. While most homeowners will use their new outdoor space as much as possible, there will be at least a few weeks or months when it is simply too cold or the weather is too bad to get much use. Adding weather-space storage allows for cushions, kitchenware, and other items to be tucked away and kept safe from even the harshest weather. Plus, adding weather- storage increase to the storage that is already available inside of the home, making the entire home, not just the outdoor space, more efficient and functional all year round.
Lighting is critical. Proper lighting enables people to use the outdoor living space at all times of the day or night. Lighting can take many forms. The most sophisticated outdoor living spaces will often include a fireplace or fire pit that provides heat, warmth and beauty in addition to light. Often outdoor living spaces also include electric lights built into the structure. Good lighting is important for safety. Homeowners who are working with a professional to install their outdoor living space must remember that good lighting is necessary for parts of the living space where accidents can occur, like on stairways.
The best way to properly install a Cochrane home outdoor living space in the back yard of a home is to work with a construction contractor. A good contractor will know the various building codes and materials to ensure that the outdoor living space is properly and safely constructed, and that it will last for many years to come.