Outdoor living spaces are popular with homeowners. They serve as an extension of indoor living spaces. It was once an after-thought to have outside living areas of the home. A simple stoop or concrete surface with a picnic table and portable grill was the normal attire. Today, these areas are treated as outdoor living rooms with elaborate designs and decor.
These backyard living spaces vary in style, design, and location. They can be open areas or covered retreats that can be used for many months of the year. In addition, these spaces can be incorporated into the design of the main house, or be completely separate from the home altogether. There are several options to creating your very own backyard living room. Below are some ideas you can use for great outdoor living spaces.
Porches, Decks, and Patios
Porches are usually cover areas and generally are associated with the front of the home. In a family friendly neighborhood, where neighbors actively mingle, porches are great. A porch can be equipped with chairs and a small table for snacks, or it may have a swing.
Decks are the most common backyard outdoor living spaces associated with a home. They are for the most part uncovered areas; however, decks can and often do incorporate a roof. Decks can be outfitted with an outdoor table and chairs, a barbecue grill for cooking, and other outdoor furniture items depending on the size of the deck. Patios are much in the same as decks except that decks are built-up platforms and patios are usually ground level concrete surfaces. Porches, decks, and patios can also be enclosed to create screened rooms.
A Pergola can define an outdoor living area as a free-standing structure or it may be attached to the home. It provides a natural backdrop in a yard filled with beautiful landscaping. They are typically design large enough to include a full set of out door furniture for complete comfort. When covered with climbing plants such as jasmine, wisteria, and climbing roses, these structures provide some shade that makes for an evening of cool breezes and relaxation.
A gazebo is a standalone structure that is partially enclosed. They are usually octagonal or round, but square and rectangular shapes are not uncommon. What makes it different from a pergola is that it has a roof to provide shelter from the weather. This means that you can enjoy it even in light rainy weather. Gazebos can be an intimate space for a small group or a large scale structure, able to hold dozens of people. Add outdoor chairs, sofas, and tables to create a second family room in your backyard. In addition to the furnishings, it can be equipped with a fireplace to enjoy on those cool fall evenings.
Outdoor kitchens are the most elaborate outdoor living spaces you can design. It can be completely open to the elements, partially covered, or completely sheltered with a roof. It can be equipped with a cabinets & counter tops, cooking appliances, a sink, a refrigerator, a fireplace, tile flooring...you name it! When it comes to building an outdoor kitchen the only limit is your imagination. This space can and often do combine some if not all of the attributes of porches, decks, pergolas, and gazebos.
Other outdoor living spaces may be fully enclosed. A pool house or workshop are examples of this. These type of spaces are more commonly referred to as outbuildings and usually match the theme of main house design.