Outdoor Living Spaces, Bringing the Inside Outside!

The weather in the Pacific Northwest is wildly unpredictable. A sunny day in February might be 70 degrees, while April could bring snow flurries. That said, the three months out of the year of near-perfect weather make the other nine months worth the wait. If you like to maximize your time outdoors once the weather is conducive, now is the time to make sure your outdoor living space is ready.

Depending on how much space you have available to work with, the opportunities for elevating your outdoor experience are endless. Is dining alfresco something you enjoy? Consider carving out some underutilized space for an outdoor dining area. Perhaps add a patio or convert an existing patio into an outdoor kitchen. An outdoor fire pit is a cozy place to gather with friends and family after sunset. These are just a few ways to expand your living space and add value to your home.

Patios

If you don’t already have a hard surface in which to transition your outdoor space into an alfresco oasis, perhaps you want to consider adding a patio. Patios add value to the home and can provide a variety of uses. They are the perfect location for a table and chairs, container gardening, or even a canvas for children’s chalk art. Some popular types of patios are stamped concrete and paver patios.

Stamped Concrete: This is a popular option because of the beautiful aesthetics and durability for your outdoor environment. It doesn’t take a lot of maintenance, such as required with a wood deck. Typically, the surface is sealed, which protects and gives the surface a “wet” look. Re-sealing is generally required every three to five years.

Paver Patios: Paver patios are an excellent choice if you’re looking for another long-term option. They are anti-slip, durable, and over time will withstand cracking and weather damage. It also comes with unlimited design options and virtually no maintenance costs. The only disadvantage is the potential weed-growth between the cracks, which isn’t anything a little natural, vinegar-based weed killer can’t solve.

Outdoor Kitchen

Do you love to cook and entertain? Enhance the alfresco dining experience even further by adding an outdoor kitchen, combining a love of cooking with the great outdoors. Adding a kitchen is a larger commitment and investment. Like a patio, it adds value to your home and entertaining options.

Outdoor kitchens are designed to withstand exposure, within reason. Typically, they are constructed with some type of overhead roof cover and open air on the sides. This design, along with a heat source allows for maximum use, nearly year-round. An outdoor kitchen will need to have a water and electrical supply, and possibly natural gas, if available, or propane. Construction and zoning rules are careful considerations for this type of project. Consulting with a certified home improvement contractor who specializes in outdoor upgrades will be helpful.

Sun Protection & Lighting

Keep in mind how your outdoor space will serve you, day and night. By day, you might want some protection from the sun. Just type in sun awnings or sun shades in your favorite browser. It’s amazing the variety of designs and options available. After dark, outdoor lighting plays a large part in the ambience and usefulness of your space. Experiment to find that perfect balance of not having to play hide and seek with your guests while maintaining a soothing glow on those warm summer nights. Don’t forget about pathways. Strategically placed solar stake lights are inexpensive and will help avoid anyone tripping on the journey to your outdoor mecca.

Fire Pits

Another source of light and warmth is an outdoor fire pit. Adding a fire pit to your patio or outdoor kitchen pulls everything, and everyone, together. Common options are gas and wood burning fire pits. Gas is clean and easy to light and doesn’t give off smoke. If you like chopping wood and enjoy a natural flame, then a traditional wood burning fire pit is for you. Be sure to check with your city’s zoning rules to see if wood burning fire pits are allowed in your area.

Each of these outdoor enhancements is a guaranteed way to sizzle up your summer, convince your guests into thinking they stepped onto the pages of Landscaper’s Digest, and get the kids away from being glued to their screens.

There are no bad ideas when it comes to renovating your outdoor space for entertaining. We invite you to get creative. Even the smallest of updates can elevate the outdoor experience for yourself, your family, and your guests. For larger projects such as a kitchen or patio installation, make sure you have a certified contractor who specializes in that specific type of outdoor renovation.

If you need assistance with any of these projects or upgrades, we can connect you with the appropriate service professionals for your specific needs. Just let us know how we can help by completing our online Work Request today!

Cari

Cari Barron, owner and founder of Contractor Hotline, purchased a home in need of various repairs in 2002. The process to find a quality home remodeling contractor proved to be a complex challenge. The first-hand experience was the inspiration behind founding Contractor Hotline in 2006. Connect with her on Google+

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