UNLOCK YOUR TREASURE CHEST
Ideas for Exceptional Outdoor Living Spaces
Whether for spending time with loved ones, moments of reflection, enjoying the natural beauty around your home, outdoor living areas are bountiful treasure chests.
Decks, lanais, patios, porches, balconies, outdoor kitchens, firepits and pools are examples of exterior improvements that homes might have. The COVID pandemic has brought many of these spaces to the forefront of everyday life. Many folks are very careful regarding their interactions with others, and outdoor get togethers are a low-risk way to interact with friends and family. It’s also refreshing to simply be outside and enjoy the fresh air, sights and sounds of your natural environment.
There are many ways to create or enhance your outdoor living spaces. One is to build a new deck or update an existing deck. It is always wise to take some time to think about what functions you’d like to do on your new outdoor space (cooking, dining, hanging out, outdoor backdrop for Zoom meetings or whatever) to make sure its design meets your needs and goals. Decks are most often built with wood framing and usually require a building permit. Stone and masonry patios and lanais are built on grade and depending on the details and your local jurisdiction building codes, may or may not require a building permit. Decks are generally above grade. If the deck is over 30” above grade, deck railings are required. Connection details and railing construction are important structural details to make sure are done properly for safety. The building codes have changed significantly over the past 20 years, and requirements today are much more robust. An existing deck may be “grandfathered in” but any new repairs and improvements should be brought up to today’s codes. Quality levels of materials vary and will impact the overall investment amount of your deck. Decking material selections range from pressure treated pine, (various thicknesses are available), cedar, redwood, composite decking materials (there are many options in this category), to exotic lumber decking (ipe (ironwood), mahogany, etc.). The picture below shows a small deck with room for gas grille and steps down to new stone patio with a bench wall. Deck is constructed with pressure treated pine framing and ipe decking and railing with cable horizontal rails.
Composite decking and railing systems offer durable and good-looking choices for your new or renovated deck. The deck structure is built with pressure treated pine posts, beams and joists. The decking and trim board are Azek in the photo below. The composite railing system is assembled using 4x4 pressure treated posts and a composite post sleeve is installed around them and the railing system is then assembled using concealed screws. Stainless steel fasteners are recommended for durability and resistance to corrosion.
Trellises provide shading and/or aesthetic effect onto decks, patios, and walkways. The first picture below shows a ground level deck with trellis to provide shading. The second picture is of a front walkway with trellis. The options and styles to consider are many.
The project shown below is a two-story addition that expanded the dining room and the master bathroom above. The new on grade deck is directly off the family room, which abuts the renovated kitchen. This space is an outdoor multi-purpose area which the family enjoys most of the year.
Screen porches are another terrific way to enjoy the outdoors. These versatile rooms provide shelter from rain and shade from sun, as well as insect relief. There is something calming and timeless about relaxing in your screen porch, ceiling fan turning, listening to the sounds of wildlife in your yard. They are great places for reading, reflection, enjoying a meal with friends and family, or virtual meetings with business clients or colleagues. Often a deck can be converted to a screen porch since they share similar structural properties. Covered porches are another exterior living space option, they are like the screen porch except there are no screen walls. In some cases where a home has building set back restrictions which limit the size of a screen porch an open covered porch can be built that is larger since there are different rules for them. (Regulations vary-check your local zoning department).
The screen porch pictured below is accessed from the kitchen. The stone patio where the gas grille is located connects the screen porch to the family room, which creates excellent “traffic flow” between spaces. The second picture is of a covered porch with a clear roof panel system to maintain daylight levels in the rooms behind. Composite columns & travertine tiles on concrete slab were selected for aesthetics and durability.
Patios and lanais are wonderful outdoor spaces. Whether a cozy area big enough for a table and chairs or an expansive area for entertaining and hosting large events, there is no substitute for having the outdoors as your walls and ceiling. There are many durable and attractive materials to use on patios or lanais. Water drainage is very important for these spaces.
The project above shows are permeable cobblestone type patio and walkway from the back door. This is a sustainable, cost-effective solution.
Lanais and patios surrounding pools usually have hard surfaces areas around them such as concrete slabs, or slabs with stone/travertine/tile covering. The options for material type and design are extensive. Each material has its own set of plusses and minuses which must be evaluated. Regardless of patio finish material, slope and drainage of the patio or lanai are extremely important and must be designed and built correctly. The durability of the patio or lanai will greatly depend on how well it is designed and constructed. Built right, these spaces will last a long time with a minimum of maintenance required.
Enjoy your treasure chest!
If you’d like to discuss your outdoor living space dreams give us a call at 301-230-3040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.