Recently we visited my daughter and her husband in their new rental, the ground floor of a beautifully renovated mid-twentieth century house. Outside the door we stopped and marvelled: they now enjoy a large covered patio surrounded by planter boxes and a cleverly designed little pond and fountain.
The space is big enough for an outdoor dining set and a beloved armchair in the corner for reading and looks out on a large rambling yard under many mature trees. My son-in-law beamed. “First place I go every morning,” he said.
I thought of that first morning when the air nips – and your heart sinks a little. Patio season will soon be over! No more morning coffee on the deck, wine in the sunset, afternoons with a book under the trees.
But it doesn’t have to be. With the right home renovation or addition you can enjoy outdoor views and the languid patio vibe all year long, protected from rain, snow, wind, and mosquitos!
The simplest way to keep that patio in use all year long is too enclose it in glass, making a full sunroom or solarium. Whether or not you’ll want to go this route depends on how much direct sun the space gets. What direction does it face? A completely glassed-in sunroom might work better in a room that faces north, or sits under some shade trees. Then you get the all the glorious sunlight without being baked like a cookie!
If you’re a houseplant lover or aspire to become one, a traditional glass solarium will have a greenhouse effect on your plants. Those fresh herbs or lush tropical plants you’ve dreamed of cultivating would be completely at home there.
If a glass box is not going to work for your home, you might choose to cover or partially wall in your outdoor space with a continuation of whatever wood features your home already boasts: cedar siding, exposed walnut beams, log pillars. You might love a wooden roof, but decide to wall a side or two in with stone or brick to evoke a country house. Any style of architecture can be adapted to an outdoor space.
And any style can be designed to incorporate different kinds of lighting, depending on how you want to use the space. If you love hosting family dinners, an outdoor kitchen will need task lighting in barbecuing and bar areas, perhaps a pendant light or chandelier over the dining table, and various ambient lights to set a mood. If you prefer a living-room vibe on your patio, reading lights and ambient lighting will suffice.
Whatever you choose, think of adding a heat source as well if you have enough room. In our part of the world this can make the patio usable almost all year. The standing propane heaters you see on restaurant patios can sit on yours, too, or radiant electric heaters can be appended to ceiling. To keep the outdoor vibe, you might choose an outdoor fireplace, a fire bowl, or one of those sleek outdoor coffee tables with a row of flames flickering down its middle.
The more “living-room” patio will feature low, cushy furniture and small tables for drinks and snacks. Or you can go full relaxation with chaise lounges and hammocks or hammock chairs. A hammock is my dream spot for long afternoons reading.
If you love to throw parties, you can divide a large outdoor space into more than one “room”: a bar area, a lounge, some small tables for eating appies… By using screens, planters, or slatted partitions, all this can be achieved without losing the sense of space and sunlight that inspired the room in the first place.
And don’t forget that other calming feature of outdoor living: the sound of water. Pools, fountains, water walls… these can be cleverly added to even a small patio with minimal or no additional plumbing. Of course if you have the space and resources, you can go to town and engineer a whole creek-and-pond system, incorporating all your outdoor landscaping and architecture. Just don’t tell the cat where you put the koi pond!
Finally, remember that your outdoor space doesn’t need to be at ground level: imagine a sunroom or covered patio on your roof or on top of the garage. Then all the advantages of this kind of space can feature gorgeous faraway views as well, and not take square footage away from your lawn or garden.
Reid Developments is fully equipped to help you achieve such an amazing renovation. Their experts can accompany you during the whole process, from planning all the way to that first patio party.
Contact us today!