Tag Archive 'outdoor living spaces'

May 18 2011

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7 Tips for Outdoor Rooms and Enjoyment All Summer Long – The House Plan Shop

House Plans 035H-0034 Covered PatioWhile you might have found the perfect house plan and built your dream home, you may not be quite sure of how to make use of your backyard. One thing is certain, if you love being outside, you’ll want an outdoor room. Below is a list of tips from The House Plan Shop to help you come up with an outdoor living space that is right for you.

 

1.    Divide your space – If you have a large backyard or even a small one, it is important to divide your space. Determine where you want your outdoor room, what portion of the yard will be for the kids to play and the dog to roam, and where do you plan to have a vegetable or flower garden. (Keep in mind your outdoor room does not necessarily have to be the back porch, deck or patio.) Use archways, hedges, fences, gates and shrubbery to define each of the necessary spaces within your backyard.

2.    Consider an outdoor room with a view – Be creative. Your outdoor room does not need to be connected to the home or situated next to the back wall. Try positioning your outdoor room away from the house by building an open-air gazebo or constructing a pergola on a concrete slab. If it is next to the house, orient the living space to the view whether it is the deck looking over the lake or pool or a patio with a view of the golf course.

3.    Dress up your space – Trim your outdoor room with lush plantings such as hostas, evergreens and colorful perennials. Add hanging ferns and container plantings of greenery and flowers to your porch, deck, patio and lanai for more visual appeal. Container plantings are easy to water and move making it easy to spread color throughout your outdoor room.

4.     Add furniture and seating – Make your outdoor room comfortable and inviting by incorporating weatherproof outdoor furnishings and accessories. Anchor the space with an outdoor area rug. Add weatherproof wicker furniture outfitted with thick cushions covered with outdoor fabrics crated to withstand the extremes of the elements including mildew, fading, stains and rot. Choose water-repellent fabric that can sustain freezing conditions.

5.     Consider lighting, privacy and noise – Add privacy to your room and block the view of neighbors’ wandering eyes by adding decorative, folding metal screens. Control sunlight and privacy with bamboo blinds hung from your covered porch, patio or gazebo. These versatile blinds can be raised or lowered to block sun and views. They also help control the noise of your outdoor gatherings as not to disturb the neighbors. Consider installing a soothing water fountain to screen the noise from the street and busy subdivisions. An added bonus: water fountains contribute to a soothing and relaxing atmosphere to your outdoor room.

6.    Build for entertaining – If you plan to entertain in your outdoor room, make sure it is built and furnished for entertaining. Add an outdoor kitchen and bar. This can include everything from a grill or built-in stovetop to a sink, mini-fridge and wine rack. A fully functional kitchen helps keep everyone and everything outside while you are entertaining. There is no need to run in and out of the house as you prepare a meal. With an outdoor cooking station, you can visit with guests, enjoy pleasant weather and prepare a hassle free meal. Consider adding counter with bar stools for snacking and conversation. Create an outdoor dining room beneath your covered porch with a patio table and chairs. Hang a chandelier or lighted ceiling fan above to anchor the space. If you like dining alfresco, make sure you are ready to do so with a group. Include versatile furniture such as benches that can be covered with a cushion and used for extra seating or remove the cushion and use the bench for an extra table when company arrives.

7.    Other elements – Don’t forget to incorporate the things you love. If you’ve always wanted a hot tub, choose a space for it. If your family enjoys sitting by the fire, add an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, perfect for gathering and conversation on a crisp fall evening. If you want a backyard pool, create a sidewalk or pathway connecting your outdoor living area to the pool.

 

If you’re planning to create an outdoor room, carefully consider these ideas and formulate the best plan that will accommodate your family’s needs and wishes.

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Sep 15 2010

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Add Value to your House: Build a Deck – The House Plan Shop

DeckWant a way to add value to your home and actually enjoy it? Consider building a deck. A deck is a very versatile addition to any house. It can be used for grilling and outdoor dining, entertaining friends, stargazing, observing nature and just plain relaxing! Furthermore, a deck can be covered providing shade or it can be open for those who love the sun. You may wish to hire an experienced professional such as a builder, contractor, carpenter or remodeler to build a custom deck for you, or you might decide to tackle the project on your own. Either way, building a deck can be rewarding. Working with a professional will ensure custom touches that you might not be able to create, build or accomplish on your own, while building the deck yourself can be rewarding and offer the satisfaction of completing the job. If you do decide to build the deck on your own, consider purchasing a woodworking or deck plan. They are available online in a variety of sizes ranging from a basic platform with railing to more detailed deck designs that might include built-in wooded benches for seating, plant shelves, a built-in barbecue area or even a hot tub. No matter which route you take, you’ll be pleased with the new deck you can enjoy year-round and feel confident that you have just added value to your home.

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Jun 09 2010

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Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Filed under Outdoor Living

025GH-0164 Outdoor PatioIf you’ve just built a new home with plenty of outdoor living spaces, chances are you’ll want to entertain family and friends. From the backyard to the deck or lanai, any outdoor entertaining space is sure to please your guests. Whether you plan to host a small gathering of friends or a family reunion with everyone from your grandma to your third cousins, this list of entertaining tips will help you prepare for your event.

 

·         Give your guests plenty of notice about the date and time of your party. Mail invitations or send an email if it is an informal get-together. Be specific about who is invited. If it is an adult only party, specify it in the invitation. If the whole family is welcome, specify that the kids are invited too.

·         If you’ve chosen a theme, tell your guests. They may want to dress accordingly or bring a themed gift or dish.

·         Music adds to the festive atmosphere of any gathering. If your party has a theme, choose themed music.

·         Make sure you have enough seating for everyone. Ask everyone to bring a lawn chair if necessary and bring indoor tables and chairs outdoors if extra are needed.

·         Have a backup plan in case of bad weather.

·         If your gathering is on a hot summer day, consider setting up few umbrellas or screened tents to beat the heat.

·         Have plenty of drinks on hand in coolers filled with ice and make them accessible so guests can serve themselves.

·         Be aware of guests that may have special needs. Those who take certain medications cannot be in the sun, so make sure there is seating available on the covered porch or provide an umbrella. If someone has special needs when food or drink is consider such as a diabetic or someone with food allergies, make sure you have food items that are safe for them.

·         Burn citronella candles for bug control. Place a smaller one in the center of each table and use larger ones at the ends of your entertainment space.

·         Netted food domes will keep insects out of food dishes.

·         Promote group activities by putting up a volleyball net, provide horseshoes, ladder golf or washer boxes. If you have a large backyard, organize a softball or kickball game.

·         Don’t forget the kids. Fill a box or tub with things just for them like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, balls, etc. If it is a hot day fill a cooler or tub with prefilled water balloons and organize a water balloon toss. Water guns are always a big hit too.

·         If your party is going to continue from daylight until after dark, don’t forget about lighting. Make sure steps and walking areas are well lit. Solar lighting, rope lighting and even strands of white Christmas lights are great for lighting pathways and covered porches and patios. Check around for themed lighting. If you are hosting a luau, palm tree shaped lights hung around the entertainment space will add a little extra fun.

 

Don’t forget to refer to this list before you plan your next outdoor gathering.

 

Visit The House Plan Shop to find home plans with outdoor living spaces that are great for entertaining such as a patio, courtyard, covered porch, grilling porch, screened porch, deck or lanai.

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Jul 22 2009

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House Plans with Outdoor Living Spaces

Filed under Outdoor Living

House Plan 035H-0034If you are planning to build a new house chances are you’ve consider a wide range of aspects and elements about the interior of your home from efficiency and comfort to form and function. You’ve probably even considered the exterior appearance. But before you make your final decision about the house plan you wish to build, take some time to think about the usefulness and other benefits of choosing a floor plan with at least one outdoor living space making the most of your lot and yard.

 

Outdoor living spaces include a wide range of possibilities. They can be almost any size and can satisfy one or more purposes.  They include covered front or rear porches, wrap-around porches, screened porches, covered or open decks, patios, terraces, lanais, balconies and more. Furthermore, special features such as outdoor fireplaces, grills, outdoor kitchens, pools, hot tubs, spas, gazebos, cabanas, built in seating and planters improve usefulness, function and enjoyment of outdoor living spaces. Other additions include sound systems to listen to music or the ball game, a TV tucked into a weather proof cabinet, outdoor lighting, ceiling fans and weather poof furniture.

 

How could your family use an outdoor living space?  Think about your family and the activities you enjoy.  The following ideas will help you decide what outdoor living space is right for you.

 

·         Do you enjoy barbecues and outdoor gatherings? A deck, patio, covered porch or screened porch work well for grilling and outdoor dining. If you tune into your favorite radio station you can enjoy some music too.

·         Maybe you prefer to prepare an entire outdoor meal. Consider a grilling porch or outdoor kitchen keeping the heat outside while leaving your indoor kitchen clean and spotless. Furthermore, your family and friends will enjoy as tasty meal outside without leaving a mess inside for you to clean up when everyone’s gone home.

House Plan 043H-0155·         Do you envision your kids swimming all summer long? Does your family hope to throw pool parties through the summer months? A patio, lanai or a deck will make a nice complement to any home with a pool.  Add built in benches for extra seating and outdoor lighting so your gatherings can continue after sunset.

·         Maybe you just enjoy reading or relaxing outdoors after a day at the office.  Consider a courtyard or covered porch. Planters will add a splash of color and satisfy any gardener’s green thumb. Perhaps an upper level balcony is more what you desire, a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

·         Do you have a lot with beautiful panoramic views? Do you enjoy submerging yourself in the sights and sounds of Mother Nature? A sweeping deck or full-length covered porch will give you a great place to take in the view or observe surrounding wildlife.

·         Does your family like to entertain? Maybe a covered porch with an outdoor fireplace is the answer. You’ll have a great place for gathering and conversation without being crowded inside the house and the fireplace will give the kids an opportunity to roast marshmallows and make S’mores when they want a snack. Not to mention everyone will enjoy the warmth of a crackling fire on a crisp fall evening.

·         Looking for a romantic evening? How about dessert and stargazing with your loved one on an open deck? An open deck is also great for sunbathing. 

 

Outdoor living spaces offer endless possibilities. With a little imagination, your family can use and enjoy the spaces surrounding your new home just as much as the interior living areas. Be sure to consider the outdoor living spaces of every home plan you review.

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