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Outdoor Living Ideas

Outdoor Living Ideas The essence of outdoor living is to create an extension of your home, but with all the comforts of the great indoors. With the rising cost in gas and travel prices, families are deciding to stay closer to home, but that doesn't mean you can't create that great getaway feeling with your outdoor living space, you just have to choose the right elements.

A key ingredient in most outdoor living spaces is a fully equipped and designed kitchen. You'll find items like sinks, dishwashers, refrigerators, granite countertops, tile backsplashes, gourmet gas and charcoal grills and much more. To further impress, you can add a fireplace, television, stereo system and high-end teak or wrought iron furniture. A popular design trend is having your outdoor kitchen appliances encased in an island or cooking center constructed of concrete, brick, stucco, slate, limestone or similar counters and bases.

Before you go out shopping you'll need to decide how you plan on using and designing your outdoor space. Do you want to create a retreat or an entertainment space? Do you need a space for food preparation and storage or will a grill be enough? Is a wet bar or hot tub a must for entertaining? Perhaps a combination of all these ideas can be used to create a special outdoor living space that your family and friends can enjoy.

Next you'll want to consider what materials you will use to define your space with walls, floors and ceilings. For example, your floors could be grass, pavers, stone, concrete or wood. You can create walls or space boundaries by using hedging, fences or lattices. No matter where you live, some sort of ceiling is a good idea to protect you from the elements. Popular options include an overhang, awning, canopy or roof.

Other useful considerations:

  • Do you plan on using your space year-round? If so, a fire pit or patio heater is a good investment.
  • If you enjoy outdoor cooking, make sure you have enough kitchen gadgets so you're not running back inside every few minutes.
  • Don't forget about lighting, which can easily be overlooked in an outdoor design. Without proper lighting you will quickly limit the usefulness of your outdoor living space.
  • When considering your design layout, take into consideration the relationship of your new outdoor space to your existing home. Most outdoor living areas work best when situated close to the house because they will increase your usage and comfort.