How to cre­ate a four-sea­son out­door liv­ing space


— Cre­at­ing an out­door liv­ing space will give you an ex­tra “room” to en­joy in all types of weather, even as the tem­per­a­tures drop. You can start small with an in­ex­pen­sive pa­tio set and char­coal grill on a new deck, go all out with a fully in­stalled kitchen, fire­place and liv­ing room, or some­thing in be­tween. It de­pends on your bud­get and how you plan to use the space.

Here are some ideas for must-have el­e­ments in your per­fect out­door liv­ing space that will al­low you to en­joy your back yard in style with fam­ily and friends all year long.

(BPT) Deck

It’s the foun­da­tion of your out­door space. Us­ing real wood for your deck is the key to cre­at­ing a nat­u­ral, beau­ti­ful out­door liv­ing space. One great op­tion is Western Red Cedar. It’s re­sis­tant to rot, de­cay and in­sects so it lasts a long time with min­i­mum main­te­nance. It’s also durable, yet sur­pris­ingly light­weight, which is one of the rea­sons DIYers and build­ing pro­fes­sion­als find it so easy to work with. It’s also a green choice. Woods such as cedar leave the small­est car­bon foot­print com­pared to any other build­ing ma­te­rial.


There’s noth­ing co­zier on a crisp night than curl­ing up in front of the fire. Adding a fire el­e­ment to your out­door room cre­ates the same sort of am­biance. Imag­ine gaz­ing up at the sky on a dark, starry night while sit­ting in front of the fire and you’ve got the idea. You’ll find a wide va­ri­ety to choose from, in­clud­ing dec­o­ra­tive me­tal fire pits or bowls; chime­neas, which are earth­en­ware or stone out­door fire­places; or full­blown, per­ma­nent fire­places like you might find in­side the house. What­ever you choose, the crack­ling fire will draw peo­ple and cre­ate a fo­cal point for con­ver­sa­tion and re­flec­tion. Added bonus: It will pro­vide a heat source for chilly nights.

Out­door kitchen

You can go big, cre­at­ing a sec­ond full kitchen al­fresco with a high-end gas grill, a wood-burn­ing pizza oven, a fridge, a sink, stor­age for dishes and uten­sils, and a coun­ter­top for prep, or you can go small, with a sim­ple grill. Ei­ther way, it’s es­sen­tial to be able to cook out­side so you won’t be stuck in your home’s kitchen pre­par­ing din­ner while your fam­ily and friends chat on the deck.


A pa­tio ta­ble and com­fort­able chairs are a must, as are some Adiron­dack or other sturdy, comfy chairs po­si­tioned around your fire source. But be­yond that, think about how you’ll use the space. Does a chaise or two for loung­ing with a book and a cold bev­er­age make sense? What about an out­door sofa and chairs to cre­ate more of a liv­ing room-type feel? What­ever you choose, com­fort, dura­bil­ity in all types of weather, and the size (not too big or too small) are prime con­sid­er­a­tions.


In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard um­brella for your pa­tio ta­ble, cre­at­ing shel­ter for your out­door space lets you en­joy it in all types of weather. The sky is the limit on your choices: a sim­ple wood and fab­ric canopy to shade your seat­ing area, a more struc­tured gazebo com­plete with mosquito net­ting, a dec­o­ra­tive wooden per­gola, or an out­door sun­room or so­lar­ium that at­taches to your home’s ex­te­rior wall. Get some ideas for great DIY projects, be it a per­gola, a Tiki bar, a cover to pro­tect your grill (and the grill­mas­ter) from the el­e­ments, or for less ex­pe­ri­enced DIYers, a din­ing ta­ble, benches and chairs, by down­load­ing free DIY project plans at http://­al­


The fi­nal touch is the yard be­yond your deck. Ex­tend your out­door space with a pa­tio, cre­ate a walk­ing path with stone pavers, or add shrubs, plants and flow­ers that will cy­cle and change with the sea­sons, giv­ing your space a fresh look as the months go by.

For more in­for­ma­tion about cre­at­ing your per­fect out­door liv­ing space or to down­load DIY plans, visit­al­

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