In preparation for the warm season, we want to share some high dollar advice for free on how to make your outdoor living space comfortable, affordable and durable. The outdoor living space has become the hottest space to design. People are ‘staycationing’ and enjoying their own backyards. You too can have your own special haven. As with any area… make a plan! Choose wisely, choose quality, and more importantly… HAVE FUN!!!
Creating a new living area outdoors is a whole lot easier than adding one indoors. You don’t have to worry about walls, ceilings, doors, or windows. All you really need is a floor. So, that is where we begin. The material you choose establishes not only the style of your patio but also its cost, whether you can do it yourself, and how you maintain it for long term.
– Concrete: can be poured or assembled from pre-cast modular slabs. Can be smooth, textured, plain gray, or colored. For an existing pad in need of some TLC, a thin concrete overlay with a deep-relief pattern can jazz up the surface without replacing it completely. Quikrete (from Home Depot) is a great DIY resurface material that you can brush, towel, or squeegee on. FYI: if you have a sealer over your existing concrete, it will have to be sandblasted off to ensure adhesion of the new product.
– Gravel: inexpensive and easy to install – great for the budget-minded homeowner. It easily accommodates curves and requires little more than the occasional raking. FYI: in order to not fight weeks and lose the gravel in the ground, use a heavy fabric on top of the packed base. Gravel also comes in a variety of colors.
– Bricks and Pavers: can be a DIY. Many colors and patterns to choose from. Easily removed. Installed on a sand bed.
– Stone: can be cut, such as a tile or random. Installation can be on a sand bed (easier to repair or move) or lay with grout. Natural stone can have different thickness so you have to allow for that when laying it if you want a fairly even surface.
Awnings/Covers: although not necessary, if you want an area that can be used regardless of the weather, then this is an option. Fabric awnings, pergola, composition roofs are all a possibility. Umbrellas are an inexpensive alternative. They come in many shapes, colors and can give you just the amount you need. When covering your space with a permanent structure, allow for electricity for fans and lighting.
– Water Features: are lovely touches to any outdoor space. You don’t have to have a pool to enjoy the sounds of water. Fountains made from pots are inexpensive and most garden areas have many to choose from. If at all possible, connect the fountain to your sprinkler system and then you don’t have to worry about filling it up all of the time.
– Fire Features: can give a dramatic touch to any area. Fire pits, fireplaces, tiki torches, fire pots are all a possibility.
– Plants: are a MUST! They invigorate the senses. Planning your garden area is key. Sun, water, maintainability, are all key factors so your garden doesn’t own you. Keep it simple and easy to manage. Container gardening is easy and manageable.
– Seating/Relaxing Areas: are the reason we have planned an outdoor “living” space. Quality furniture for outdoors will assure you that you get more than a couple of seasons out of it. The elements can be hard and you have to be sure you have purchased the correct materials for the space that you have. When considering purchasing outdoor furniture, there are lots of different types of materials. You just need to decide what works best for your space, the look you want, and the amount of work you are willing to put in to maintain your furniture and your budget.
First, there is outdoor WICKER FURNITURE. This is not your typical wicker furniture. It is made from a resin and can withstand cold, heat, and rain. It can come in many styles from traditional to contemporary. It requires basically no maintenance.
Then there is TEAK FURNITURE. Teak is more expensive and does require maintenance. If you want it to stay looking as good as the day you bought it, you will need to refinish/oil it occasionally. If you like the look of wood, there is really no substitute. If left alone, it will turn a soft gray, which is still attractive.
Last but certainly not least is ALUMINUM. Aluminum is a near perfect metal for outdoors because it cannot rust, is lightweight, and is very durable. Due to the fact that it is lightweight, if you are in a windy area, this needs to be considered. It should be finished in a powder coat to protect it from knocks and will add to the longevity of the furniture. It is great seaside due to the fact that it does not rust.
There are other materials such as plastic, steel, concrete, fiberglass. I have chosen to touch on the ones that I feel are the best overall for wear-ability, look, and budget.
– Fabrics: There is really one fabric for outdoors that has a track record for longest lasting and maintaining its color… SUNBRELLA. It is more expensive, but you will replace regular fabric 5 times (at least) before you will ever have to replace sunbrella. Having said that, it really isn’t so expensive. It comes in many colors and patterns and even trims for pillows.
– Lighting: Umbrellas can give the shade during the day, but at night, warm candles, lanterns, tiki torches, and strands of lights can really add to the overall ambiance of your new outdoor living space.
– Art and Accessories: As with your inside spaces, accessorizing is the icing on the cake. Make sure there is cohesiveness to your look. A lot of mismatched furniture, pots, yard art can look like a ‘yard sale.’
If you ever feel confused or overwhelmed with all your options during the design process of your outdoor living space, you know can always give us a call!
Until next time