Outdoor Rooms: Enhance Your Outdoor Living – From HomeAdvisor Newsletter

Want to add some extra living space to your home —just reclaim that unused  space outside. Outdoor rooms are becoming very popular, and not just in warm  weather climates. Homeowners are remodeling their decks and patios into  small—and full-scale—outdoor kitchens, dining, and entertaining areas. They’re  even upgrading their electrical and plumbing systems to accommodate outdoor  lighting and outdoor showers and sinks.

While building an outdoor living area isn’t as involved as adding a new room  to your house, it does require a fair amount of planning. Before you can begin  picking out appliances or tile, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do I want to use this room for? Cooking? Entertaining? Relaxing?
  • What is my budget?
  • Do I need to build overhead protection in the form of a shade, a pergola, or  even extending the roof?
  • Will my plan require additional plumbing?
  • Will my plan require additional electrical circuits?
  • Will I need a building permit?


Entertaining: Outdoor Kitchens, Outdoor Dining

Even with a small budget you can create an enjoyable outdoor room for dining  and entertaining. The obvious first step is to add a deck or patio in your yard.  But, once you have this accomplished, there are a great many ways you can outfit  this room.

Let’s start with the kitchen. There are three basics to any outdoor kitchen:  grilling area, food prep area and sink and, of course, dining area. Unless you  have an extravagant budget to work with, the grill is a good basis for most  outdoor kitchens.

But, before you can even begin cooking you will want to have a food  preparation area. For many homeowners, a simple counter space will suffice for  this. It is, however, important to remember that the counter either needs to be  able to handle the weather or well–protected by roof covering. Another basic  necessity for food preparation is an outdoor sink. This will also come in handy  when it’s time to rinse those dishes off.

Perhaps the most important aspect of your outdoor kitchen is the dining area,  as this is where you will relax and entertain. Be sure to choose a location on  your deck that is comfortable. If you’re eating during the daytime you’re not  going to want the sun beating down on you or your food. A tabletop umbrella, a  pergola, or even large trees will do the trick.

Basics: Grill, sink, prep area Extras: Mini-fridge, bar  area, outdoor fireplace Luxury items: Dishwasher, stove top

Relaxing: Sleeping Porches, Gazebos, Outdoor Saunas

For many homeowners, relaxing in nature is as close as their own backyard.  Turning to their yards as a haven from the rest of the world, homeowners are  going even further than stringing up hammocks these days. Sleeping porches,  gazeboes and even outdoor saunas are now common features in backyards.

Whichever your relaxation method of choice, an important consideration in any  outdoor room is protection from the elements. In addition to shade from the sun  or even a light rain, consider erecting screens or other wind breaks on  wall-less structures.

Furniture is another consideration. Weatherproof wicker and wood are popular  choices and much more elegant than plastic. Even furniture you wouldn’t  traditionally find outdoors can be outfitted to survive in nature. Outdoor beds,  for instance, can be covered in water-repellant materials or taken inside during  bad weather.

Another popular trend in outdoor relaxing is the outdoor sauna. Traditional  sauna-lovers will also insist that a soaking pool is necessary to take a cold  plunge afterwards.

Basics: Shade, traditional outdoor furniture Extras:  Outdoor saunas, spas and showers Luxury item: Outdoor bed

Deck  Installation Project Guide If you enjoyed this article, check out our  free Deck  Installation Guide, which features expert advice, design & material  comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.

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