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Today's Socializing

After this very long winter, it is no wonder that people are longing to rediscover the joy of outdoor living and hopefully soon, that will be a reality. We have talked about the creation of outdoor rooms and the extension of our living spaces into our yards in the past. (See our reclaiming the backyard blog here.)

While the days of socializing on the back deck with friends, neighbours and family are certainly not gone (outdoor living is likely increasing in popularity), it is important to address the fact that socializing outdoors has taken a different turn.  Today’s modern outdoor living spaces often incorporate the latest in trends and technology. Since outdoor living has become an extension of indoor living, so have many of the activities. The ultimate great room can be the great outdoors, at least during the warm months in the Niagara Region.

So while we have discussed structures, buildings, and walkways in the past, it seems important to point out that it is necessary to consider how to make our outdoor room fit for our new technological way of socializing.  When planning your outdoor space, consider your current needs and try to anticipate the changing needs as life happens. Ask yourself what your own personal needs are but also if your outdoor space is or will often be used as a spill over area for a crowd (children, friends, family or business associates) that is too large to all gather in your home? 

Here are a few questions to consider when planning out your new outdoor room:

  • Technology: Is your outdoor room a place of peace and tranquility? Do you want to make this area a tech-free zone where you get away from it all? Do all your family members feel the same way? Perhaps, peaceful for you is simply being surrounded by Mother Nature while still engaging in electronic socializing: texting, email, social media, searching the web, and/or working on-line. Will your WI-FI accommodate usage in this outdoor space or do you need to consider a booster or additional hard wiring needs?
  • Sound/Music: Is this a zone where music will be wanted or needed and if so, what level of sound will be required. Do you need ‘outdoor’ speakers built-in or is a portable speaker for your MP3 player sufficient for your needs?
  • Video/Screens: Are you going to want an ‘outdoor’ television screen in this area? How will this be implemented for effective use?  
  • Lighting: Is this living space going to be used during the evening or late night hours? Task and ambiance lighting needs to be considered. 
  • Fireplaces, Fire Pits, Outdoor Kitchens, etc.: Consider placement not only for its own effectiveness but the impact it may have on neighbouring electronics.
  • Privacy: How do you protect your privacy while using your computer/electronics? If you are working outdoors, consider not only passwords to protect WI-FI, but privacy areas from unauthorized viewing. 
  • Shading: Will you need a motorized shading system or a permanent roof to provide shelter from the elements and conditions that might otherwise deprive you of enjoying your outdoor space.
  • Irrigation: While not everyone’s idea of an outdoor living space includes plants, for those that do want to incorporate plants, consider an automated watering system to conserve energy and efficiently care for your plants.

While we may love the pictures seen of beautiful outdoor rooms in the tropics, it is necessary to consider that Ontario has four seasons to contend with and protecting your investment is necessary. Keep in mind when you add technology to your outdoor area, you will need to consider the elements and weather that will obviously affect the space. Moisture, sun, glare, cold, etc. all need to be addressed. Storage, location, and direction greatly impacts the effectiveness of your electronic/technology plan.

If you are considering a renovation to create your outdoor haven in Niagara, call Vanderzalm Construction Inc. at (905)562-4463 or (905)684-5823.