10 Steps for Creating the Ultimate Outdoor Room
Step one in the design process is to create a list of needs and wants for all residents, then prioritize. How will it be used most? Maybe as an outdoor kitchen, a cozy nook for two, an al fresco dining room, a gathering place for friends and family, a quiet place to read and write, an entertainment center or outdoor theatre, gardening, swimming, lawn games or jungle gyms.
Tip – Make use of free online resources that help gather and organize ideas; Evernote, Pinterest, and more recently Olioboard, a service geared towards designers.
Don’t set limits while envisioning a room without walls – consider any option and think big. Some people have difficulty seeing how a room without walls can be decorated, but as soon as they picture a pergola or outdoor structure, it’s easier to define the space. This may include simple pillars for stringing lights or hanging ivy on full-size structures to create privacy walls.
Make efficient use of space and time by working with a professional designer or landscape architect who will analyze the site, provide solutions and develop a scaled plan that includes all of the desired elements. Besides offering valuable building and layout ideas, a professional will be able to provide a rough estimate on project costs.
American society has changed tremendously over the past few years and consumer spending habits have shifted to accommodate the economic ups and downs. There has been a sizable shift to more home-based activities, and many homeowners are opting to expand or remodel. In place of a $5,000 vacation, it’s possible to create an exterior living space with full amenities like a patio, all-weather furniture, outdoor lighting, fireplaces, pergolas and outdoor kitchens. This not only allows for long-lasting enjoyment in the comfort of home, it also increases the utility and value of the property. In many cases, products such as pergolas or outdoor kitchens which are anchored can be considered a permanent part of the home. That means a home with an outdoor room may be appraised at a higher value and the cost of the outdoor upgrade can be rolled into a home mortgage. It also means proper planning and professional installation may be required.In keeping up with this growing trend, industry manufacturers and retailers are ensuring that a wide variety of product options are readily available. An increasing number of indoor retailers have added outdoor collections to their product mix and manufacturers have expanded their collections to meet demand for high quality outdoor goods at a variety of price points and designs. This means that it is easier than ever for consumers, buyers and professionals to find unique outdoor products with great value.
4. Prepare a Timeline and Stick to the Budget.
Be sure that a savings plan and budget are in place to cover the cost for new items, renovations, and professional services. Determine which parts of the project can be done in phases to meet budgeting needs. With a structured plan, it is much easier to work in phases and not end up with a mismatched or unfinished looking final result. Begin with the essentials and then move forward with intent towards completion of the project as a wh5. Take Inventory. There may be salvageable items for use which are currently available in a garage or storage space. What needs to be replaced or refurbished? Consider each component for the outdoor space in this inventory: outdoor structures (pergolas, shades, gazebos, patios/decks), grills (gas, electric, charcoal, pellet), outdoor kitchens and outdoor entertainment areas (outdoor televisions, lawn games, sinks, refrigerators, side buers, kegerators, spas, etc), lighting and heating (consider solar lights, infrared heating options), campfires/fire pits (prefab surrounds, built in, custom finishing options), fireplaces (gas, wood, gel fueled), landscaping (plants, water features, pathways), hardscaping (pavers, pizza ovens), etc.
6. Do Your Homework.
As a rule, cities have adapted from the Uniform building Code, which was written to enhance public safety and protect property owners from unsafe construction. Local codes take precedence, so it’s important to check with planning and zoning boards. For some landscape projects and outdoor rooms, a city permit may be needed. Also consider any foundation work such as laying pavement, staining, landscaping, gas lines, or installation that may need to be done by contract workers. Be sure you know the lay of the land – some items that require installation may need a flat area. Also consider the climate, the direction of the sun, shading, noise and privacy factors.
7. Save Time and Money.
Find local talent to help with set up, assembly and manual labor – especially the heavy lifting. Contact local dealers, retail locations, and ask around to get recommendations for experienced, reliable worker. It may take time up front, but will save you time and effort in the long run. Another idea to consider is DIY options (Do it yourself). Everyone wants to save a buck, and while working on various phases, there may be elements homeowners wants to manage by themselves. This means more money to spend on plants, furnishings and accessories. Example: finishing of custom surfaces on pre-fab unfinished islands or fire pit surrounds.
8. Entertainment Outdoors.
Outdoor kitchens are the heart of the home indoor and they are becoming an equally essential element outside of the home. Grilling islands now offer everything from storage space to refrigeration, sinks, even outdoor TV’s. Remember to check restrictions or codes related to use of open flames or any requirements for natural gas lines.
9. Light up the Night, Turn on the Heat and Pull up a Chair.
People are naturally attracted to flame. Think of fire either as an anchor or centerpiece for the room. Setting a fire pit in the middle of the spacecreates a cozy focal point, while a fireplace just outside the perimeter brings natural warmth to the whole room and allows for maximum square footage for decorating. Lanterns, solar lights, infrared heaters, or hanging lights add ambience, warmth, and an outdoorsy glow to the whole yard Outdoor furniture is generally a high priority. By committing to purchase products with high quality and design, they will withstand the outdoor elements far longer than similar looking, less expensive options.
Strategically placed plants and accessories add the finishing touches to an outdoor room. Now it’s all about aesthetics: hanging plants, outdoor rugs, art, lawn games, potted plants, candles, etc. Pull in colors and textures from the home architecture to create a seamless transition from indoors to out.Like the multi-car garage, the outdoor room is not a passing fad. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable home investment, an upgrade that can be added at a fraction of the cost of indoor construction, in a fraction of the time. By knowing the right steps to take, it’s possible to turn an outdoor space that’s been a dream and turn it into a reality.
ABOUT THE OUTDOOR GREATROOM COMPANY
Founded by industry veteran Dan Shimek, co-founder of Heat-N-Glo Fireplaces, The Outdoor GreatRoom Company (OGC) manufactures unique, upscale products for the indoor and outdoor living spaces. Products include grills (gas and electric), outdoor kitchen islands, indoor/outdoor fireplaces (gas, electric, gel), outdoor fire pits and fire pit tables, outdoor heaters, outdoor lighting (gas, solar), outdoor patio furniture, pergolas and accessories.