Creating An Outdoor Room: The Basics

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Creating outdoor rooms is a smart way to make the best use of your whole property. Here are the basics on how to approach this value-adding home improvment.

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When you create an outdoor room, you want it to be so much more than just an everyday porch or patio. Instead, make comfort the top design priority for any outdoor room, since this space is a natural extension of your home.

Get to know some of the basics of creating an outdoor room, and discover how you can create relaxation areas, playrooms, and more while adding value to your home.

Outdoor Room Basics

Before making any other plans or design decisions, first you’ll need to determine the location of your outdoor room. While you can certainly create one on an existing deck or patio, don’t let these spaces limit your imagination. Consider building a space in a shady corner of the backyard, near a much-loved flowerbed, or in an existing gazebo.

If you opt to create your outdoor room in an area that’s connected to your home, you’ve already completed the next step of the project. In contrast, if you’ve decided to build the room across the yard, you’ll need to create a physical or visual connection. Install a series of pavers to create a pathway to the gazebo area, or build a trellis to create an attractive passageway to your new outdoor room.

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Sojag Shade & Cooling – Dakota 10×12 Sun Shelter.

Next, decide on the purpose of the space and the activities you’ll enjoy there. While outdoor rooms can serve multiple purposes, the best rooms are often designed with just one use in mind. If you’re considering doing everything from reading to playing to working in a single space, rethink the number of spaces you need. If your yard has enough space, there’s no reason you can’t create a series of outdoor living spaces for a variety of distinct activities.

Relaxation Rooms

Whether you’re planning a reading, recharging, or relaxation room, you’ll want to prioritize outdoor patio furniture above all else. Since comfort is key, especially when it comes to recharging, consider what will make you feel the most relaxed.

Furniture with plenty of padding like armless sofas provide plenty of space to spread out or curl up as you bask in the sun. Make space for two with an outdoor loveseat, or opt for a simple bench in a sunny spot. For ultimate comfort, opt for a lounger or a daybed, where you’ll be tempted to luxuriate for hours on end.

Kontiki wicker chat set

Espresso Wicker 4 Piece Chat Set from BuildDirect.

Once you’ve found the perfect patio furniture, start planning the additional features that will turn your outdoor room into a slice of paradise. Turn a nearby patch of lawn into a colorful flowerbed, or keep it simple by planting fragrant flowers and herbs in containers.

For serious recharging, transport yourself to an exotic locale by installing a small water feature or fountain. Not only will this increase the relaxation factor, but a well-maintained water feature can also add value to your home.

Outdoor kids’ playrooms

No matter the size of your home, sometimes there simply isn’t enough room for everyone or everything. One of the best ways to maximize your backyard space is to create a play area for the kids, especially if they can’t get enough of the outdoors anyway.

While some outdoor rooms don’t require walls or structures of any kind, a playroom warrants at least a basic structure for the kids. Determine the basic dimensions of the play area, and install a basic canopy or construct a wooden frame for the playroom. Install kid-sized patio furniture, and let them add their toys to the space.

Since you’ll want this to be a year-round playroom, it’s important to create a shaded area and add cooling and heating options. For shade, add a canopy cover, use a hardtop gazebo, or install a large offset patio umbrella to block the sun.

Create an outdoor room for cooler weather and increase the value of the space even more by installing a heating element. Heat lamps and electric heaters are often the warmest and safest options, especially if the area is covered or partially enclosed.

Well-equipped workspaces

To create the ultimate outdoor workspace, designate an area in the yard where you have enough space to spread out and get things done. Start by installing some flat surfaces suited to your projects. These might include large outdoor tables or surfaces with adjustable heights. Add seating areas that will help inspire productivity, whether that means benches, wooden desk chairs, or armless sofas.

Make the space functional and even more valuable by incorporating storage elements like wicker storage boxes, rolling carts, or even repurposed wooden shelves. Add some elements for privacy like shrubs, ornamental grass, or leafy trees. Depending on your needs, you might also want to install a canopy or gazebo for shelter, a heating or cooling element to stay comfortable, and even an enclosed area to store valuable equipment.

outdoor office tabletop view

Entertainment Areas

For many homeowners, outdoor rooms are about much more than just private space for the immediate family. In this case, creating a space for entertaining friends and family is key. Since entertaining often revolves around food and drink, you’ll want to incorporate everything from grilling equipment to tables and chairs to conversation areas in this space.

Start by selecting the grill, cooktop, or outdoor kitchen that will let you take your barbecue game up a notch, and add an outdoor dining set where company can gather around a great meal. Grow herbs and other edibles around this outdoor room to keep the focus on food, and add plenty of tables for food and drinks.

outdoor room fireplace

(image: Landscape Design Advisor)

Increase the value of this space by creating a secondary area for chatting and relaxing together. Add a great conversation set with enough room for the whole party to sit down, or arrange chairs and outdoor sofas around a focal point like a fire pit. If you enclose the space, be sure to keep the walls low in order to maintain flow through the yard and create a welcoming, open space.

Comfort comes first

With outdoor room design, the possibilities are nearly endless. No matter the size or the purpose of the space, be sure to consider comfort first. With this in mind, you’ll create an outdoor room that’s welcoming and functional as well as a space that adds value to your home.

 

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Resources:

 

http://www.sunset.com/garden/landscaping-design/outdoor-rooms

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/build-a-fun-yet-safe-outdoor-playroom#b

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/outdoor-spaces/how-to-create-an-outdoor-room

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/outdoor-spaces/furnishing-your-outdoor-room

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/outdoor-spaces/essentials-for-creating-a-beautiful-outdoor-room-pictures

http://homemydesign.com/2014/15-cool-outdoor-workspace-ideas/

 

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.