The Outdoor Living Industry has seen tremendous growth in the last 15 years, hitting its stride in 2018. Here in the Southwest, the idea of creating an outdoor room appeals to people across all generations. We have a natural appreciation for the outdoors. Creating beautiful backyard spaces is no longer an afterthought, especially when it comes to newer homes.
Bringing Home Outdoors is a concept that is exciting, but can be a bit intimidating if you are attempting to design an area on your own. Keep in mind that your outdoor room is YOURS! It can be grand and luxurious, or small and comfortable. Spend a little time in your outdoor area visualizing how you will use the space. Do you want to expand the area, perhaps create more shade with an overhead awning or pergola, or even motorized sun shades? In considering the outdoor kitchen, which is often the focus of any outdoor living area, what — and how — do you like to cook? A grill, charcoal or gas, side burner, storage drawers and doors, refrigerator, and even ice makers are just some of the many options to choose from for the perfect outdoor cooking experience.
Do you see yourself entertaining often? Will your guests be primarily adults, or will families with children be the focus? Do you have room for additional seating, or would a bar with built-in seating better accommodate your guests? What about including a fire or water feature? Firepits and outdoor fireplaces provide ambience, and function as heat for cool fall evenings. Including a misting system to help cool things on warm summer nights is inexpensive and will be an invitation to stay outside a bit longer. Perhaps including a television, stereo, and a surround-sound system is a must for your group – think of all those games you want to enjoy watching with friends!
To truly capture the essence of Outdoor Living, take your ideas to a professional. It’s important to have someone come and assess your area, making sure that electrical, water, and gas utilities are available or can be brought in properly. It’s always a good idea to get a professional opinion on the layout and functionality of your area. Make sure you hire contractors who are licensed and insured – ask to see their credentials. Consider using the contractor who does it all, or use multiple trade specialists for the different aspects of your project. Get a few bids for your project, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Remember that a business that has been around for a number of years, specializing in a particular trade, may be a bit more expensive than the guy creating and building out of his garage. There’s value in experience, and satisfied customers may have to pay a bit more to be assured of quality workmanship and warrantied work. Look for outdoor kitchen components that are meant to last – it’s expensive to have to remodel an island if your grill needs to be replaced.
Being outdoors invigorates us, pulling us out of the craziness of life. It helps us find balance and lifts our spirit. Just as we find refuge inside our homes, we can find joy and purpose in outdoor living – and it can be in the convenience of our own backyard. Investing in a professionally designed and built outdoor living area adds value to your home and your life.