Tips when cre­at­ing an out­door liv­ing space

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Out­door liv­ing spa­ces have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar over the last sev­eral years. The home im­prove­ment boom has shown many home­own­ers just how easy it can be to trans­form a home into a pri­vate sanc­tu­ary that caters to the per­son­al­i­ties of the home’s res­i­dents.

Out­door liv­ing ar­eas have be­come an ex­ten­sion of the home’s in­te­rior, with many home­own­ers cre­at­ing out­door liv­ing rooms and din­ing ar­eas so they can re­lax and eat meals out­side just as they do in­doors. But home­own­ers think­ing of cre­at­ing out­door liv­ing spa­ces should con­sider a few tricks of the trade be­fore be­gin­ning their projects.

• Strate­gi­cally place the space. Prop­erty of­ten dic­tates where the out­door liv­ing space will go, but it helps to keep in mind that the out­door space is more likely to be used if it’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the in­side of the home. For in­stance, if res­i­dents need to walk out the front door to ac­cess an out­door liv­ing space in the back­yard, then res­i­dents might find the area is too in­con­ve­niently lo­cated and they won’t make the most of the space. When­ever pos­si­ble, plan the out­door liv­ing space so it’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the home’s in­te­rior, prefer­ably from the kitchen so it will be eas­ier to carry meals out­doors when din­ing out­side.

• Em­pha­size com­fort. Many home­own­ers look at their out­door liv­ing ar­eas as places to kick their feet up and re­lax, so com­fort should take prece­dence when plan­ning the space. Forgo the plas­tic pa­tio chairs of yes­ter­year for fur­ni­ture that’s more sturdy and roomy so you won’t feel cramped or sweaty on warm sum­mer evenings and af­ter­noons. In ad­di­tion, don’t for­get to shade the area. Some home­own­ers choose to build per­go­las, but of­ten­times an um­brella or two can do the trick at a frac­tion of the cost. If the out­door liv­ing area is near trees, they might pro­vide suf­fi­cient shade from the of­ten blis­ter­ing sum­mer sun. But keep a few um­brel­las in the garage just in case.

• Il­lu­mi­nate the area. Sum­mer nights spent re­lax­ing in the out­door liv­ing area make for great mem­o­ries. But such nights are nearly im­pos­si­ble if the area doesn’t have some light­ing. Tiki torches might do the trick for some, while oth­ers who want to avoid giv­ing their out­door area a luau feel might pre­fer so­lar­pow­ered ac­cent lights, which won’t re­quire any wiring. If your back­yard at­tracts its fair share of in­sects, look for in­sect-re­pelling lights or lamps. What­ever your pref­er­ence, don’t for­get to have some light­ing so those sum­mer evenings spent un­der the sky don’t have to end when the sun goes down.

• Keep the de­sign con­sis­tent with your home. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing an out­door respite from the daily grind, an out­door liv­ing space can also in­crease a home’s re­sale value. How­ever, home­own­ers who have one eye on R&R and the other on re­sale value should keep the de­sign of their out­door liv­ing space con­sis­tent with their home. One of the goals when de­sign­ing an out­door liv­ing space should be to cre­ate a seam­less tran­si­tion from the home’s in­te­rior to its ex­te­rior. The best way to do that is to keep the de­signs of both liv­ing spa­ces con­sis­tent.

• Don’t for­get the fire pit. A fire pit pro­vides a great fo­cal point for an out­door liv­ing area. In­stead of sit­ting at the din­ner ta­ble, fam­i­lies and friends can gather around the fire pit and re­lax with some s’mores and share sto­ries. But even when guests aren’t com­ing over, a fire pit makes for a great place to re­lax and let the time go by.

With more and more home­own­ers trans­form­ing their homes into their own pri­vate sanc­tu­ar­ies, out­door liv­ing spa­ces con­tinue to grow in pop­u­lar­ity. By em­ploy­ing a few sim­ple tricks of the trade, home­own­ers can cre­ate the out­door ar­eas of their dreams

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO/METRO SER­VICES

A few tricks of the trade can help home­own­ers cre­ate the out­door liv­ing space of their dreams.

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