Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoor Living (7 of 7): Covered vs Uncovered Space - Both are Needed

Some people think that they have all their bases covered if they add a deck on the back of their house.  “Now I can spend every day outside,” they mistakenly think.  With our more days of sunshine per year here in Colorado vs other states you may think that this is okay.  But you will soon find that there are many days that it is too uncomfortable or that the weather is too uncooperative to make this possible.  So now you have spent a lot of money on an “awesome” deck that you can’t use as often as you would like because it is too exposed.  But be careful you do not go to the other extreme and provide permanent coverage over your entire deck.

The prefect outdoor living space will have both covered and uncovered areas.  There may be times you want to sit in your deck chair while gazing at a clear summer night sky.  Or you may want to spend that rainy afternoon enjoying the cool breezes and tranquil sounds of rain splashing on the ground while reading your favorite novel.  (FYI – this cannot be done without some kind of coverage).  If space is limited some have found that retractable awnings provide a viable solution. 

Whatever your need or space requirements providing covered and exposed areas will give you year round enjoyment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Outdoor Living (6 of 7): Cooking Centers

Cooking outdoors – although similar to indoors – has a few differences.  The most important is location which relates to the type of cooking preferred (ie grilling or providing an outdoor cook center).  Grilling usually involves a great deal of smoke (or it does in my case).  With this in mind then the location should account for prevailing winds.  If possible it would be good to place the grilling center downwind from any of your congregating spaces.  If you are a good cook or have a cook center that minimizes smoke then placing the center upwind could be a feature, allowing the inviting aromas of a perfectly seared steak and fresh grilled vegetables to permeate the whole yard.  You also don’t want to be so far removed from the kitchen that you must run a marathon between the kitchen and grill to prepare a simple meal.

So now you know where to put it – what is everything you want to put in it?  Is it going to be simply a place for your mega grill or do you want a mini-kitchen (for those gourmet grillers)?  Will this include a bar and dining area?  Is the space going to be covered (good for year round grilling)?  Do you do your prep work inside or is it done at the grill (ie will you need a sink and counter space)?  The sky’s the limit even if your budget is not.  Proper planning will incorporate all of these needs and budget constraints.  But do not fret if you have a limited budget – you can still plan the perfect grilling center for you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Outdoor Living (5 of 7): Scale

Designing exterior space is very different than designing interior space.  A weird phenomenon occurs once you step outside – the spaces get crowded a lot quicker!  If you take a 10x10 space and furnish it inside your home – that same layout will feel crowded and uncomfortable outside.  So be sure you have enough space to do what you want outside.  If you are planning a picnic area with table and chairs you need more space than in your dining room.  If you are planning a lounge area you need much more space than you would for your living room.  A key is to provide less furniture than you would inside and allow the lawn to become part of your space planning.  Nothing feels better than to lay back on a thick carpet of grass and spy shapes in the drifting clouds!