Let the Sun Shine In

You can have more than just a patio, extend the livable portion of your home to include the outdoors!  It's like gaining an addition to your home for a fraction of the cost by transforming your outdoor area.  With smart design you can enjoy use of a multifunctional living space that’s perfect for dining and entertaining. Even a small space can transform into an appealing outdoor retreat. Why stay cooped up inside?  Here are some tips to make it more comfortable and inviting for most of the year.

Climate Control –  for a few months nights can be chilly, and days can be hot, but there are strategies to extend the use of your outdoor living space.  First we’ll talk about lowering heat.  A roof will protect the space from the heat of the sun and from rain. Outdoor rated ceiling fans will lower the sensation of the temperature by their wind chill effect. Can you plant trees on east and west side exposures to provide shade and an extended microclimate of coolness? An outdoor roll down reed shade will block out light and let breezes through. If you are doing a new pour of cement, you may want to put in in-floor heating where people will be sitting. The same reed shade that kept out the sun’s heat, in the winter months can help keep the rising heat from the floor from blowing away.  If you have a concrete pad, you can put down a layer of cork, then the in-floor heating, and top with tile. Perhaps you’d like to add a fireplace, or plan a space with a fire pit.

Maximizing space—patios typically have several columns to support the roof which takes up and breaks up the space.  If you want unobstructed views and to maximize useable space, you can have the interior columns removed and the roof supported by a stronger beam.

Lighting—Sufficient lighting is important for the varying functions.  Are you going to sit outside and read? Are you going to have an outdoor kitchen?  You want enough light so you can see what you’re doing! Rope lighting is a fun way to light up the space with a bright glow for a party atmosphere.  Outdoor lighting of your yard can accent special features and provide security as well.

Flooring—there are many product choices beyond grey cement. You can have the existing slab stained, top it with an outdoor rug, or cover it with tile. If you're pouring concrete, you can have a colored finish, stenciled, or have it stamped to look like stone. You can use brick or stone pavers instead of concrete with a beautiful pattern.

Build an Outdoor Kitchen –Since most families have a portable grill, surveys found that primarily men have been the outdoor grillers, and women kept to cooking indoors. Not surprisingly, there is an increasing demand for an outdoor kitchen, creating many more products available to get an indoor kitchen look and conveniences outdoors!  Whether you want an outdoor kitchen to be as simple as a built in grill station or as elaborate as a full meal-preparation and service center complete with built-in burner stoves, ovens (there’s even a pizza oven), refrigerators, wet bar, sinks, and cabinetry storage. Covered dining areas provide all-weather enjoyment for your guests and family.

Add a special feature –Architectural features such as pergolas or trellises and carefully selected vine plantings create secluded areas for meditation. If you have a large yard, you may want to consider a gazebo. A water feature such as a fountain can provide a beautiful and relaxing focal point.

Whether you have acres or just a few square feet of space, consult an experienced designer for great ideas on making the most of your outdoor space.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; He is not here.      Mark 16: 5-6

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