Home Improvement: Adding an Outdoor Living Space

Nowadays, people build outdoor living spaces to extend the home’s overall square footage. Some homeowners would either add sun rooms or garden rooms, or screened in porches. There are several deck building materials readily available in the market that are low maintenance and can stand the test of times.

Designing and building an outdoor living space that adds square footage, beauty, and value to your home takes some time to plan and build. You need to make sure that you know what you want and what you need.

Here are some tips on how to design and build your own outdoor living space:

1) Layout and Design: You need to know first what you are planning to use this outdoor living space for. Do you need this as a room for entertaining or for relaxing? Others add an outdoor living space to use as an extension of their family rooms or kitchens. Yet, some function as game rooms, exercise rooms, music rooms, reading rooms, and so on and so forth. Knowing what purpose or functionality this outdoor living space would be is the first step to consider in pursuing this project. Once you have determined this, you can start laying out the design. When laying out the design, consider where the furniture would go. Think of how much walls and windows you would like to add. If you have a huge backyard and a nice view, you would want to frame the views with your windows. Oftentimes, outdoor rooms are made of series of huge windows because this is an outdoor room after all. Some homeowners add real windows and some just use wood frame and screen. If you are considering privacy consider a simple trellis which allows you to enjoy great views and quiet conversations in private that neighbors would not be tempted to eavesdrop.

Layout can be easily determined by dividing the deck into different areas or zones. For example, you may want a zone for dining which will require extra space. A zone’s function should determine its location. In this case, the dining table should be close to your cooking area or kitchen so that serving food would not be such a cumbersome task.

2) Choosing the Right Materials: There are several choices of material one can choose from when adding an outdoor living space. There are many natural and synthetic materials that can be considered when building an outdoor deck. The first choice that most people go for is wood. Wood is all-natural and can develop a beautiful patina overtime. Also, nothing beats the smell of real wood; it adds appeal and freshness to your outdoor room. Unfortunately, with wood, you have to think about maintenance. Depending on how much foot traffic or outdoor elements your outdoor living space would be exposed to, you need to consider keeping the wooden deck properly maintained even refinishing or staining every couple of years. There are some wood that are pre-treated so it should lessen the amount of maintenance. Another option would be to use synthetic materials, which are basically low maintenance and attractive too. They come in different colors. Use them on floorings and railings. Your budget, as in any project big or small, would play a major role in your choices. All the more you have to be very conscientious with what you choose. Also think about the environmental impact your choices would make. For example, wood is recyclable and renewable, lessening the home’s environmental footprint and impact compared to those synthetic materials or mineral building products like metal, cement, stucco or plastic that must be extracted from the ground and are not renewable.

3) Construction: You have to choose whether this is something you would tackle on your own or hire a professional to do. It is important to take into consideration not only the money involved but the timeline. If you are doing this yourself as a DIY project, make sure to do your research, especially if you have not tackled a project like this. Attend home improvement workshops at your nearest home improvement stores to learn more about how to do this project on your own. On the other hand, if you choose to hire a professional, make sure to get estimates from different contractors, and get references. Check those references or even go to the site of their completed projects. This would show you their quality of workmanship. Think also if you will hire a subcontractor or you will act as your own subcontractor. You can save money if you do the latter, you can hire your own woodworker or carpenter, mason, electrician, and buy all the materials yourself cutting the middleman fees. Make sure to keep tabs on those people you will hire and also put it in writing, sign a contract with them to have a better handle on things.

4) Decorate: After the project has been completed, you are ready to decorate. Keep in mind the transition between the indoor and outdoor living spaces. You would want to make sure that the color scheme around the interior of your home is also reflected in your outdoor room for cohesiveness. Use plants that blend well with your backyard landscaping to bring the outdoors in.

5) Using your New Outdoor Room: There is nothing like enjoying the fruit of your labors. Make sure that this room you are adding will be used and not just turn into another wasted space. Take advantage- enjoy and relax in your new outdoor room as often as possible, all throughout the year.

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