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How to Incorporate Outdoor Spaces Into Your Home

Spring is fast approaching, so our thoughts are turning to cool breezes, warm sun and a leisurely Sunday afternoon with friends outdoors. When planning your timber frame home with its yard, assorted outbuildings and conveniences, it’s important to integrate each entity into a total living environment. Incorporate outdoor spaces into your home’s living areas.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces
Dining Pavilion

You live in your home, but there’s no reason you can’t extend your living space to incorporate your outdoor spaces such as patio, gardens and outbuildings to be integral parts of your living space. You’ll extend your livable square footage, have more space for specific activities and provide important areas for family members to get away from the hubbub of family togetherness.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces  – Extend Your Living Space With A Sun Room

One way to expand your living space is with a sun-filled sun room. These bonus rooms are known by various names: Florida room, solarium or three-season room. Typically, these rooms are on the rear of the house, facing the back yard, and they often directly join a patio or deck.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces - Sun Room
Kitchen as Sunroom

A sun porch adjacent to a deck is a great way to increase your outdoor entertaining area while providing shelter against rain, heat, cold or annoying insects. Hardier members can enjoy the deck, while the less adventuresome members of the party can still enjoy the action from the security of the enclosed porch.

A Florida room can also become a secluded haven away from the main living area for the kids to play, adults to read, chat, or a fun place for youngsters to have a sleepover.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces – Your Deck Or Patio As An Extension Of Your Living Space

A well-planned patio or deck can add a lot of living space for very few extra dollars. Of course, unless you live where it’s warm all year long, this space may only be useful for six months of the year. However, things like a roof, a fire pit and a windbreak from prevailing winds can extend that season by a number of weeks.

Consider constructing a roof or pergola over your deck. A permanent roof gives you year long protection from the elements, so you can barbecue ribs on New Year’s Day or enjoy the view of your backyard during a soaking spring rain.

Pergolas are beautiful architectural features that can be used as the structural support for a retractable canvas awning. These awnings allow you to enjoy your patio when the sun is unbearable, when it’s raining or if you want to grill a steak in a snow storm. Since they’re retractable, they can be pulled back for full sun exposure and to protect the fabric during the harshest winter weather.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces - Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor Kitchen

A pergola is a perfect extension of the timber frame look. The massive posts and beams blend perfectly with your home’s design, and it makes a substantial statement and focal point for your yard.

If you have sliding glass doors or French doors that lead from your home onto your deck, you have a seamless integration between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Many folks take outdoor entertaining to another level with a functional outdoor kitchen. Almost all of us have a grill, barbeque or hibachi out back, but there’s a growing trend to add cabinets, a sink and even a refrigerator to the deck or patio. Over-the-top patio designers may even include a fireplace or wood burning pizza oven in their plan.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces – A Garden Room For Entertaining And Enjoyment

If you delight in gardening and creating lovely landscapes, create a cozy and inviting garden that’s as welcoming as your family room. Who says you can’t design and decorate an outdoor space to act as an additional entertaining space? Plantings, fencing or terraces become the walls of your outdoor space, and today’s outdoor furniture and accessories are as fashionable as anything you’ll find for your living room or den.

Adding electricity through underground piping allows you to have light and other electric conveniences in your outdoor entertaining space. A fire pit for warmth, an easy to follow walkway for safety and comfortable seating may make this the most popular room on your property.

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces – A Garage Or Outbuilding To Expand Your Space

Incorporate Outdoor Spaces - Breezeway Entry
Breezeway Entry

Today’s garage can be a veritable palace when compared to the dark and dingy, minuscule structures that many folks have or remember having in the past. Garages are now more than just storage for cars and garden tools. Many garages have workroom areas, or they may even have a second floor studio or living space. Some attached garages have the laundry area incorporated in them to keep laundry chores on the main floor. Many people use the extra space to build open or enclosed shelving for all sorts of household items and off season paraphernalia.

If you have an attached garage, you’ll move effortlessly between the main house and the garage. If your garage is close to your home, you may consider constructing a breezeway between the two structures. Simple timbers that flow with the style of your home and garage can be used to construct a framework for a roof that will keep you dry and comfortable. If you need a little more shelter, you can add siding or SIPs to the framework to enclose it for the most severe weather.

Many families who build timber frame homes have large lots or acreage. If you’re one of those fortunate folks, you may well have plans for an additional building or two in mind. A workshop is a great addition for any property owner and is a wonderful retreat. Whether you’re a woodworker, painter, gardener or a hobbyist, a workshop or studio ensures privacy for the craftsman and frees up valuable space in your home for other activities.

When you’re building a new home, consider all the possibilities available. You may be surprised at how much additional living space you can create by including all aspects of your house, property and outbuildings. A great thing about building a home on your own property is that you can plan for these enhancements over the course of years.

As your family grows, or as finances allow, you can add an outbuilding, expand your patio or develop a secluded garden space. So, plan your home for today, but keep in mind the potential for growth in the future.

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