Tuesday, April 8, 2014

5 Ways to Create an Outdoor Living Room

Before you relocate your favorite chair to the deck, patio or porch, let's take a look at a few ways you can make outdoor living more convenient and fun. If you want this venture to last until Labor Day, good planning is important.

Keep the Layout Cozy

We know they call it the great outdoors, but designing a super-sized space for your outdoor room may not be the best way to go. A large area and the absence of walls can be refreshing, but it can also make you feel exposed. The space can seem impersonal. Outdoor room plans that have at least one solid (or semi-solid) wall help anchor the space and make it feel more substantial. A room size that roughly mirrors the size of your indoor living room will be big enough for your family but small enough to feel intimate and inviting.

Make it Comfortable
Outdoor living may seem carefree and casual, but to add comfort to the mix takes plush textiles and comfortable furnishings. Sure, built-in concrete seating has a modern appearance and is maintenance-free, but it also looks like it belongs out in an amphitheater somewhere, not cuddling your backside on a warm evening. 
Your outdoor room will feel as good as it looks when you choose loungers, chairs and sofas that include overstuffed cushions in UV resistant fabrics. We prefer wicker to metal or PVC pipe, but the idea here is to balance rough and hard surfaces like concrete, siding, brick and wood with soft, textured and tactile furnishings that people will actually want to spend time on.

Keep it Landscape Friendly
As nice as it is to be outdoors during the summer, maintaining your landscape can still be a hassle. Don't make the job worse by installing an outdoor living room that will make maintaining your lawn and other landscape features more difficult. Check to be sure you can get your mower into all the grassy areas in your backyard without making a major chore out if it, and that you can water your plants and lawn without dousing your outdoor furnishings in the process. The more convenient your outdoor room is to play in -- and maneuver around -- the less you'll have to change or grumble about later.

Add a Roof
Sunny days are hot days, and the best antidote to the noon sun blazing overhead is a little sheltering shade. If your outdoor room has an awning or other type of full or partial roof, it will be more convenient to use during the hottest part of the day. When you can't install a permanent roof, try adding a retractable awning or even a large umbrella that can be opened and closed as needed. You might also want to consider enclosing your outdoor room in a steel frame gazebo complete with mosquito netting. It's a fast way to install a partially protected outdoor living space in a few hours. You can check out our high quality timber Parasols here.

Keep it Private
When you want to hang out in the backyard, adding a couple of strategically placed faux walls can give you all the comforts -- and privacy -- of home. There are a surprising number of options.
Curtains -- Adding curtains can look surprisingly attractive and just right. Choose indoor-outdoor fabrics in cotton/poly blends that dry quickly and resist mildew. Billowy curtains look gauzy, opaque and totally charming. You do need a framework on which to hang a rod, but if you have a roof or arbor, installing curtains will solve your privacy problems in a very stylish way.
Bamboo blinds -- Bamboo or woven grass blinds that roll up and down have been used as sun screens on patios and around pools for decades. They look natural and are also inexpensive and easy to install. Many can be purchased in standard widths and then cut to fit. Installing bamboo blinds also requires some sort if overhead support.
Screens -- Consider using portable room dividers or screens in your outdoor room. You can move them around as needed for privacy or to block bright morning or late afternoon sunlight. Some even have planter bases for added stability. Look for dividers made of wrought iron, bamboo or wood.
Landscape plants -- Shrubs can do more than increase your home's curb appeal. They can add privacy to an outdoor room, too. Adding shrubs or dwarf trees to the areas adjacent to a deck or patio is a permanent solution and may be the cheapest long-term choice. It's also eco-friendly.

This article was adapted from: http://home.howstuffworks.com/


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