Outdoor Living at Home
Once again, COVID-19 has us discussing our new way of life, which includes truly living in our homes! Regardless of where you reside in the Niagara region, right now you are likely feeling a little confined by the restrictions and are thinking about the way you function in your home and yard and how you can make changes to it to better suit your needs. You may be thinking that you have outgrown your house… or perhaps your house has stopped feeling like home! For some, the simple answer will be to move or build elsewhere, but for others, moving is simply out of the question.
Some people would never consider leaving their neighbours, who over time have become wonderful friends. The maturity and tranquility of some neighbourhoods is a draw that cannot be equaled elsewhere. And, most often logistics and proximity to work, the babysitter, particular schools, parks, arenas, malls, or the nearest city centre are key deciding factors when it comes to staying or going. After all, we don’t expect to be in a pandemic crisis forever. In this current real estate market however, the cost of finding a perfect home, and the cost of the bidding war to buy it, is just too steep. For whatever the reason for not moving, a custom renovation can be the solution.
Perhaps a kitchen, bathroom, office, or additional living space renovation can offer the solution for interior functionality issues. But for many, it is their home’s exterior that they want to update in order to create their own slice of paradise. After all, we don’t just live indoors!
Creating your perfect outdoor living space takes some careful planning. Here are just a few things you need to consider:
- Outdoor living rooms can be designed to serve any purpose. They can be used as an entertainment or games area, a dining space, a relaxation retreat, or a secondary living room. First, determine what the purpose of your space is going to be and during what months it is going to be utilized. Will the space be usable all year round, or will it be just for certain seasons? Sun, the snow and cold, rain and wind, etc. are all considerations that affect the design plan of an outdoor living room. Will you have a fireplace, outdoor heater, fire pit, fans, a roof, awnings, windows, screens, etc.? Mother Nature can be unpredictable… you will need to be prepared.
- Creating the confines of the space is a major step. Establishing dimensions, access points, and a sense of enclosure are all part of the design process. It will be important to establish whether the space will have man-made walls, nature-created walls, or be open to your entire yard, etc. It is also important to take into account the direction the sun takes in the yard and how protected from the elements the space is.
- Architectural features like decorative details, decks, wrap around porches, gazebos, fences, retaining walls, new walkouts or outbuildings can all contribute to the functionality and beauty of the space and create a harmonious transition to a new outdoor room.
- Some choices require permits and have restrictions/regulations; make sure to consult with your local building department before creating your design.
- Privacy and safety are also huge factors that will need to be addressed. Will you need walls, trees, a fence? If you are considering a pool or have one in the same area as your new outdoor living room, it is vital to consider how to enclose the pool while unifying your spaces. This is especially important if small children could have access to the space.
- What is the design style for your space? Are you creating a cottage-like backyard, a tropical paradise, a similar extension to your indoor living, a spa-like space, or an outdoor party room, etc.? If you are considering a tropical paradise, keep in mind that Niagara winters are difficult and tropical plants and palms need to wintered indoors. Not all elements are suitable to four-season regions. Remember to be realistic with your style ideas and your budget!
- Utilities are a major contributor to creating an efficient space. Having running water, electrical outlets, natural gas/propane, lighting, fans, heaters, technology elements (WIFI, television, speakers, etc.) and appliances, etc. are all part of a complete design plan.
- Unifying the indoors with your outdoor living space. To make the most of your outdoor space, access to and from the indoors is vitally important. Patio, sliding, French or folding doors, large windows, along with access to a washroom, make your outdoor living room a natural extension of your indoor space. Coordinating your indoor style with your outdoor design will help make that transition seamless.
- Furniture choices are about more than just aesthetics. How many people will need a seat? Do you need a dining table, coffee tables, side tables, or all of the above? Dimensions, materials (water proof, fade proof, wind resistance, weight, etc.) and walk around space is important.
- Your choices should also take accessibility into account—this can make all of the difference to making someone feel truly at home, and ensuring that your house can be your ‘lifetime’ home if you want it to be.
Imagine yourself walking up the sidewalk to that dream home that you always wanted, and it is the house you have always had. So much is possible with a custom renovation – we, at Vanderzalm Construction Inc. can transform your ordinary home into an extraordinary retreat... the home of your “happily ever after”.