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Outdoor Living Space – June 10, 2014

outdoor living roomOne of the most popular spaces in today’s residential world is the outdoor living space.  Increasingly people are re-purposing a portion of their lawns and rather than maintain it or struggle with an odd corner of the lot, owners opt to transform these spaces into rooms for relaxing and entertaining.

Various approaches ranging from a roof-covered gazebo to a simple stone-paved surface provide a variety of seating options.  Typically these spaces contain a fireplace or fire pit giving a focal point for activities and may include water features to provide a soothing background sound.  Outdoor grill stations are also popular for cooking and serving meals.  In considering items to include in your space, think about the activities you enjoy most.  If grilling out on weekends is popular, make the new space an extension of your current kitchen.  In this outdoor counterpart, along with a grill add a small sink, under-counter refrigerator, and a table to seat guests.  For after dinner activities, the fireplace/fire pit is where everyone will relocate to enjoy evening coffee and conversation. 

In this napkin sketch, I’ve shown a simple outdoor space adjacent to an exterior door of the house.  By visually aligning the barbecue grill with this door, easy communication occurs through line-of-sight and gives the opposite side of the room an anchor point.  Perpendicular to this axis, I lined up the fire pit with the center of the dining table which directed an optimal location for the outdoor serving counter.  Adding columns to the corners of the patio to support a roof further enhances the design and upgrades it into a deep sheltered space that can be enjoyed rain or shine.  A few potted plants in the corners liven up the space and connect the hardscape to its surrounding natural area.

Providing a little organization to the overall composition creates an elegant yet simple atmosphere.  While it may seem as simple as installing pavers and adding a few chairs around a fire pit, careful attention during planning and layout of the space can easily customize an underutilized area that becomes the favorite spot outside the home.

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