5 Design Ideas to Make Your Outdoor Living Space Truly Yours — Part One

This outdoor living space uses plenty of natural materials, including wood, stone and small tufts of greenery throughout to create a festive and inviting space to entertain. The Terravista 1 Story plan by David Weekley Homes at Waterset Patio in Apollo Beach, Fla.

This outdoor living space uses plenty of natural materials, including wood, stone and small tufts of greenery throughout to create a festive and inviting space to entertain. The Terravista 1 Story plan by David Weekley Homes at Waterset Patio in Apollo Beach, Fla.

If there is one new home trend that is here to stay, it’s the inclusion of outdoor living space.

That’s the consensus a group of industry experts highlighted at the 2017 NAHB International Builders Show panel discussion, “60 Design Ideas in 60 Minutes.”

To these builders, designers and developers, it’s not so much a matter of whether or not to include outdoor living space, but rather, how to maximize outdoor living opportunities regardless of home size, style or location and how to create outdoor rooms that reflect individual homebuyers’ tastes.

Here are five takeaway expert insights that we couldn’t help but want to share with you, as you look for ways to create an outdoor living area that is uniquely yours.

5 Ways to Personalize Your Outdoor Living Space

1. Indoor/Outdoor Blending

The trend that all of the panelists agreed on was the continued blending of indoor and outdoor living. Using the same or similar materials both inside and outside the home and adding large sliding doors and big windows can all help make the transition from inside to outside seamless.

2. Natural Materials

Recent years have seen an increase in the use of natural materials inside the home and, to no one’s surprise, that trend has moved outdoors. Large swaths of concrete are out. Instead, natural stone, wood and even recycled glass are in. To keep the emphasis on natural stone and wood decks, nearly invisible wire railings are being used to create the illusion of a larger, more open area, unmarred by harsh lines and edges.

3. The Outdoor Kitchen

If outdoor dining is your thing, you’ll want to look into creating an alfresco kitchen. The idea behind these outdoor food prep and eating areas is to eliminate the need to run into the house to make or eat a meal. Today’s outdoor kitchens have sinks, pizza ovens, ice makers, bars, dishware, utensils, trash bins and more, making them true outdoor rooms, not just places to eat the meal after it has been prepared inside.

4. Use the Roof

Several of the panelists discussed the trend of turning the rooftop into an outdoor living space. Ideas ranged from entertainment areas overlooking the pool and patio to private spaces located off master bedrooms to family-friendly zones that serve as a gathering place for friends and family to relax with a nice glass of wine.

John Thatch of the Dahlin Group, a California architecture and planning firm, says it best: “Possibilities don’t end at the walls. Think of the roof. It can be used as a living room, an outdoor room, anything.”

5. Go Vertical

Advancing the trend of maximizing existing space is incorporating vertical features into exterior design, particularly for those homeowners without a big yard. Smaller, narrow-lot cottages or row homes, townhomes and even duplexes can capitalize on their existing outdoor space by —working upward. Trellises, climbing plants, hanging baskets, wall décor — anything that draws the eye up is fair game.

As Steve James, a community designer from Boulder, Colo., explains, “Garden courtyards have been the rage. Now, the big ticket item is a private outdoor room. We have been moving toward vertical density. How do we get the outdoor room feel in these areas of high density? The key is to go up.”

Do you find these insights inspiring? Let us know your favorite tips in the comments below.

And be sure to check out Part Two to this article, “5 Design Ideas to Make Your Outdoor Living Space Truly Yours – Part Two” for another five tips from the panelists included in the 2017 NAHB International Builders Show’s “60 Design Ideas in 60 Minutes.”
Sarah Ristorcelli is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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