10 Fabulous Ideas for Extending Your Outdoor Living Space
As the weather begins to warm, spending time in your outdoor living space becomes more than a thought. So you may be considering how you can spruce up the outdoors. We have some fantastic ideas, from lighting and alternative seating to built-in features like fountains, fireplaces, and pergolas.
How to Extend Your Outdoor Living Space
Depending on your style and budget, you might want to consider some or all of these elements. But ultimately, it’s what makes your outdoor living space comfortable.
1. Install Lighting
There are four types of backyard lighting for late-night fun:
- Illuminating Safety Lighting: This helps to deter prowlers and improve navigation at night or in twilight hours. This can include walkway lights, flood lights, and step lights.
- Landscape Lighting: Lights in your garden can show off your beautiful plants or put them between hedges and other landscaping. They can be a great addition to safety lighting to help show people where not to step.
- Focused Lighting: Think of these like spotlights. These lights can create drama by illuminating statues, walls, and more. Focus lights can come in a variety of brightnesses.
- Ambiance Lighting: These are your string lights, under-wall lights, and low deck/patio lights. Their function is to give a glow, not necessarily provide safety or focus lighting.
Depending on the type of lighting you pick, these can be hardwired or run on solar. Lighting powered by solar energy is a good option for spaces further from the house. However, many lighting options can be explored and adapted to your outdoor space.
2. Heating Elements
That’s right, bonfires. These can be built-in or free-standing. Both can be wood-burning or natural gas designs. Free-standing pits are perfect for moving around the yard. On the other hand, a built-in firepit is a great way to define your outdoor living space.
There are also other heating elements, like fireplaces and patio heaters. Patio heaters are available in ceiling-mount, tabletop, or free-standing styles of various designs, sizes, and power types. These are good ideas for some people who want heat without the smoke from firepits.
3. Adding a Pergola
A well-placed pergola goes a long way to extending your outdoor living space. Not only can they help define your backyard, but they help provide privacy. Pergolas are great for dining spaces and outdoor sitting areas. Add an overhead covering for more protection and shade from the elements. Adding lighting and heating elements can make these more accessible through the day and seasons.
You may have heard of the man caves and she-sheds. Basically a dedicated outdoor room or shed that has been repurposed for more than lawn equipment. These private spaces allow for relaxation and unwinding. They are a retreat in your backyard, designed only for you. And the sky is the limit regarding what they can be. Here are some possibilities:
- Gaming Room/Kid’s Play Area
- Art Studio
- Bar Hangout
- Spa with Hot Tub and/or Sauna
- Office Space
- Outdoor Libary/ Reading Room
When creating these spaces, keep in mind your objectives. You may need to run power for lighting, HVAC, and more. Do you need to insulate it? Also, consider a durable floor option.
5. Water Features
Incorporating water features is a fantastic way to have the soothing, rhythmic sound of running water. Water features come in many forms. Here are some examples:
- Koi/Fish Pond
- Flowing Stream
- Bird Baths
The cost of water features depends on how big and the features you want to include. However, there are many affordable options, and having this feature will add to the relaxing ambiance of your outdoor oasis.
6. Sunrooms/Screen-In Porches
The beauty of sunrooms is the enjoyment of the outdoors, no matter the weather. Similarly, screened-in porches allow for more protection from the elements while still basking in nature. Having these can extend your indoor living space to outside. These indoor/outdoor spaces are perfect for growing plants, bird watching, relaxing, and more. And being in Maryland, they are great for avoiding summer bugs.
7. Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens are a great addition to the outdoor space. We imagine outdoor kitchens as a whole unit, but the designs can go from simplistic to extravagant. On the simple end, you have a built-in or stand-alone grill area, countertop, and dining spaces. When thinking more extravagant, that includes a sink, maybe even a mini frig, and custom cooking elements, like a pizza oven. The great part is that an outdoor kitchen can be as much or as little as you want.
When considering an outdoor kitchen, we recommend thinking about how you would use the space. Do you cook for a small family or love to have large gatherings? Do you need storage or at least space to bring out all your spices and cooking utensils? Don’t forget the lighting and the distance from the kitchen. Luckily we know everything to consider when doing a consultation, so you are in good hands.
8. Alternative Seating
Seating doesn’t just have to be in the designated lounge area; it can be placed throughout your outdoor space, creating private nooks for peaceful solitude. Alternate seating can range from arbor benches, hammocks, porch swings, Adirondack chairs, or quaint iron bistro sets. As with most outdoor designs, the possibilities are endless. But the secret garden spaces you can create with alternative seating can make them quaint and cozy.
9. Patio Roof Extension
Patio roof extensions are a great way to extend your outdoor patio footprint, protect from bad weather, provide shade for hot days, and limit the collection of leaves or debris while allowing you to enjoy this outdoor living space. There are different materials to use, retractable or sturdy structures. Depending on your preference, our team can suggest which material and style of patio roof extension will complement your home design.
10. Space Under Your Deck
Specifically, we are discussing creating a paver patio under a second-story deck. This typically damp, muddy area can be transformed into extra outdoor living space. Since under the deck tends to collect water, paver patios are perfect for drainage while keeping it free from mud. You can use this area for storage, kids’ play area, or even entertainment. If you check out our Facebook, you can see examples of how our clients have taken advantage of that under-deck space.
7th State Builders Can Help You Create Your Perfect Backyard
Creating outdoor living spaces is the details. While you want it to look great, we want it also to function exactly how you imagined. Contact us today; we can help you with ideas and designs, providing you with estimates within your budget. We help many Maryland homeowners decide what and how to incorporate their outdoor living spaces. Extend your outdoor oasis with 7th State Builders today.