One of the best and least expensive ways to add “square feet” and value to your home is to create an outdoor living space. Some of these spaces are quite elaborate and cost as much as an actual home addition, but your new “outdoor living room” doesn’t have to break the budget. All you need is indoor comforts in an outdoor setting. That means you need to combine the best parts of each world.
For example, people enjoy the inside of your home because it has cozy furniture, intimate lighting, and inviting flooring. The reason people venture outdoors is to enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and nature. The trick to saving money on an outdoor room is to combine the best of both areas without over-doing it. Sure, people hang out in the kitchen, but do you really need an expensive outdoor kitchen on the patio? Probably not.
Bringing the Inside Out
If you want people to enjoy some comfortable seating, a roof is in order. Yes, there are weather resistant outdoor furniture options, but even these fare better with some coverage. Unfortunately, extending the existing roof is expensive — although this may still be the best option, considering an attached roof’s longevity.
Adding a pergola or gazebo may be a good, financially-manageable solution, however. A pergola or a gazebo can accommodate many different types of roofs. Polycarbonate roofing lets light though while blocking ultraviolet (UV) rays. Metal roofing comes in many colors and is very long-lasting. Pergolas can even accommodate a professionally made or do-it-yourself fabric roof. These roofs lend an earthy, warm feeling. To add more homey-ness as well as shelter from the elements, you can even hang curtains from pergolas and add an all-weather rug.
Making the Most of the Outdoors
Many people spend 40 hours per week closeted in bland, fluorescently lit cubicles. Therefore, make the most of your outdoor living space by keeping it outdoorsy. Create coziness, even on cool evenings, by adding a heat element. You don’t have to install an outdoor fireplace; a simple fire pit will do. You will want to place this just beyond the roof, of course, unless you choose a gas heater instead.
Next add a water feature. According to the Chinese, a water feature invites contemplation. Buying a ready-made patio fountain from the local home-improvement store is not very expensive, but you can create your own from some cast-off planters, a pump, and a hose. Now you have art and water in one place.
Much of the lure of the outdoors is plants. Use planters of different heights to give your water feature some depth. Shade plants offer different textures and deep green allure. Next, use pavers or river pebbles to create a curving path leading into and through the rest of the back yard. A path creates intrigue and curiosity. Line the path with fragrant flowers, shrubs, and ground cover. The addition of fragrance completes the sensual experience.
Finally, add landscape lighting. Many people light the fronts of their homes; however, this is not usually the outdoor living space. Consider lighting the back yard instead. Light can be placed in trees to bathe the area underneath in a glow. Or place lighting at the base of a feature plant, such a Japanese red maple, to add interest. A few garden lights along the path keep the intrigue going even after the sun sets.
Give yourself something to look forward to when the work week ends. Create a small, inviting oasis in your very own back yard. Not only will you enjoy its beauty year after year, but you will also improve your home’s value by adding-on without undergoing actual construction.