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Outdoor Living: Design Choices


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Outdoor Living: Design Choices

outdoor livingOne of the easiest ways to enjoy the great outdoors is to extend your living space beyond the walls of your home. However, homeowners are often confused as to which type of space to choose. From balconies to verandas, this article discusses the differences between outdoor living spaces.

Balcony. A balcony is a platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or console brackets, and enclosed with a balustrade usually above the ground floor. Balconies are typically small and are not used as social spaces or for entertainment purposes, but they do offer an ideal spot for a quiet cup of tea and a great book.

Designer Tip: Balconies offer a great way to extend a room and to make it feel more open and airy.

Deck. A deck is an elevated, flat, roofless platform usually adjoining a house (but not necessarily). Decks can be constructed using a variety of wood, including cedar, redwood, pressure-treated, or composite. Decks are usually enclosed by a railing and can be covered by a canopy or pergola.

Designer Tip: Multilevel decks can be built on a property featuring a steep slope or differences of elevation, thus adding usable space to the home.

Patio. In traditional design, a patio was the inner courtyard found in a Spanish-style home. Today, the term is used to describe an outdoor living space connects the residence with the garden—whether attached to the dwelling or freestanding. Patios can be covered or not, and can be constructed out of concrete, brick, pavers, tile, or other outdoor flooring materials.

Designer Tip: If thoughtfully designed, a patio will extend the living space of a home into the outdoors, creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living.

Porch. “There is perhaps no architectural feature that conveys a sense of home, warmth, and community like the front porch,” says writer Adrienne Gaffney in a Wall Street Journal article. A porch is an outdoor structure with a roof but without sides and is attached to, or projects from, the main residence. The porch protects the entrance and is the perfect place for homeowners to entertain and enjoy the fresh air.

Designer Tip: See my article The Front Porch: An Extension of Your Home for suggestions about how to decorate and enjoy your front porch.

Veranda. Veranda is the Portuguese word for porch. Like a porch, a veranda is a covered structure located on the ground level of the house. However, a veranda generally wraps around the perimeter of the home on two, three, or even all four sides of a home. In fact, what is often referred to as a “wrap around porch” is really a veranda.

Designer Tip: A veranda can have a flat curved roof. The flat roof can cover space of different shapes and can suit all styles. A curved roof may appear more elegant and can potentially become a focal point of the home.

With a wide range of choices, we can help you select the best outdoor living space for your lifestyle. Please contact us today if you are considering adding an outdoor entertainment area to your current home or if you would like to incorporate one into a new build.