Outdoor Livabilityon Aug 21, 2015
In the digital age of iPads, xBox Ones, and Mac Books, it can at times be difficult to feel connected with the people you share your home with. Today we begin to crave more simple times, when a family may have spent their evenings fighting the heat within a home by sitting on their breezy porch, telling stories and sharing in conversations. This simple idea of enjoying the company of your family and friends outdoors is still pertinent, as we believe at Live Well Custom Homes that adding functional and beautiful outdoor spaces to a home can increase the livability and enjoyment of your home.
One of the age-old aspects of outdoor living is the porch. The porch is the welcoming center of the home that greets visitors and connects your home to your neighborhood. A porch should ease you into the home, with comfortable and functional designs that complement the home’s interior and exterior. A recent trend we have found is that clients want wider porches that can fit elaborate furniture sets. We are no longer building porches designed to fit two rocking chairs, but outdoor sectional couches large enough to entertain the whole family and a few guests. Another aspect of porch design to consider is whether you would like a covered or uncovered porch. As with any aspect of home design, we consider how you will use the space to best determine how it will be designed.
Another traditional aspect of outdoor living is the patio. While the porch is the place where you may spend a relaxing night with your family connecting with the neighborhood, the patio is the place for larger scale entertaining and provides a get away from everyday life that is literally in your backyard. When it comes to designing the patio, we like our clients at Live Well Custom Homes to consider a few things: purpose, location, size, shape, and aesthetics. The purpose of the patio is important as it will be the first decision that will guide the rest of the planning. Will you primarily use your patio as a dining space to share delicious meals off the grill with family and friends? Is your patio going to be used as a meeting center to relax outdoors with loved ones? The answer to these questions will help us to decide the location of your patio. If the patio will be used as a dining area, the best place to build it is next to the kitchen for instance. The size of the patio is also determined by its purpose. Do you want to have space on the patio for a grill or hammock for example? Lastly the shape and look of the patio will be the aspects that will make it feel like a vacation space, right in your backyard. You may want a traditional circular or rectangular patio, or maybe you want something more interesting like a crescent shaped patio surrounding your favorite tree in the yard. Your patio should be designed to fit your lifestyle and have the ability to accommodate all of the outdoor activities that your family will enjoy for years to come.
Though traditional patios, decks and porches are certainly still popular outdoor spaces to accent a home, at Live Well Custom Homes we have found that the request for "outdoor rooms” has increased. “Outdoor Rooms” have taken the concept of a patio and expanded it to not only serve as a comfortable space to enjoy the outdoors, but a fully functional room that adds to the livability of the home. Today home builders are creating elaborate outdoor kitchens and living room areas that add to the square footage of the home and provide an open space to enjoy the activities that were traditionally restricted to the indoors. Outdoor rooms are sometimes built around an outdoor hearth, that provides a beautiful, rustic look to the “room” while also providing heat for chilly nights. Some may opt for a two-sided hearth so that guests may enjoy both sides of the “room”; or even an outdoor brick pizza oven. For outdoor kitchens, you may even want to include a built-in sink, wine chillers, keg taps, and even stereo speakers to keep your guests entertained. A space for an outdoor television can be included in an outdoor living room so that you can enjoy the game while sitting in a pleasant breeze. Stone-walls can provide privacy for your outdoor room, or you can plan to line the space with shrubbery and trees. You may also consider a covering for your outdoor room with a trellis, pergola or even a roof. When planning an outdoor room you need to consider factors outside that will affect the space such as sun and wind exposure. An outdoor room provides extra square footage to your home and allows you to enjoy your favorite activities outdoors.
Whether you want to enjoy a quiet evening on the porch, a delicious barbequed meal on the patio or a night of entertaining friends in your outdoor living room, outdoor living has become a way of escaping the digital age that we often find ourselves caught in. As the days of summer give way to cooler days in the months to come, spend more time outdoors with your loved ones. With Live Well Custom Homes you can enjoy an outdoor space that provides a relaxing “get away” right in your back (or front) yard.