It’s finally summer: the time of year when your home’s outdoor living space is what’s on your mind. If it’s time to upgrade from a small patio slab or a splintered old deck, we have some ideas for spaces that will not only add to your enjoyment and relaxation, but that also increase the beauty and value of your home.

Your outdoor living space can be as simple as a shady porch or as spectacular as a sunroom and deck combo, perfect for relaxing, reading, dining, or a special event for friends and family with elegant lighting, outdoor kitchen, spa, fire pit and more.

Front porch by Merrill Contracting

Front porch by Merrill Contracting

Ideas for Outdoor Living Spaces

Porches

A front porch is a wonderful, warm, welcoming addition to your home that can be as large or small as your lot allows. For a back porch, note that the wider the porch, the easier it will be to create inviting furniture groupings that bring friends and family together. Pay attention to details so that the porch blends with the design of your home and doesn’t look like a tacked-on afterthought. Add height and architectural interest with features such as a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams. To add a porch without robbing interior rooms of light, consider adding skylights to the porch roof.

Front porch by Merrill Contracting

Front porch by Merrill Contracting

A screened porch is a great three-season option. Add sliding glass doors and you gain a fourth season when you can enjoy the view in comfort. When you want to feel the breezes but not the bugs, open the doors but close the screens. If it’s too hot, too cold or it’s raining, close the doors and you are surrounded by your view but protected by glass.

Screened porch by Merrill Contracting

Screened porch by Merrill Contracting

 

Screened porch and deck by Merrill Contracting

Screened porch and deck by Merrill Contracting

Patios

No longer just a slab of concrete, patios today are like outdoor rooms and can include a built-in barbecue grill, counters, sink, and fridge for year-round entertaining. A dramatic fireplace or simple fire pit adds warmth – and the fun of making popcorn and toasting s’mores – even on chilly evenings.

Sunrooms

Sunrooms can range from very simple, casual spaces to elegantly appointed rooms with soaring windows and fine finishes. A sunroom addition is like a “great room” extension of your interior living space that blends your indoor/outdoor living areas. You can open a sunroom to a family room, kitchen, living room or dining area to provide extra space for entertaining or family activities.

Sunroom by Merrill Contracting

Sunroom by Merrill Contracting

 

Sunroom by Merrill Contracting

Sunroom by Merrill Contracting

Your existing heating and air conditioning may not be up to keeping the extra room comfortable, and you might consider adding a separate energy-efficient ductless heater/air conditioner (also called a mini-split) to the new room. This will allow you to adjust the heating and cooling for the sunroom independently of the rest of the house. While natural sunlight will flood the room during the day, creative lighting is valuable for illuminating the space at night without an over-exposed “fish bowl” feeling. The flooring and other finishes you choose will determine whether the room has an “outside” feel, or the cozier ambiance of a sitting room.

Adding a porch to your existing home, remodeling your patio into an outdoor room, or building a new sunroom will treat you to living space you can enjoy throughout the year. These types of remodeling projects can also enhance your home value – as long as they’re designed to complement the existing lines of the house and constructed to weather the outdoor elements while providing a great indoor environment, too. If you’d like to explore the season-spanning possibilities for your home, just give us a call!

Photos by Hadley Photography

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