How to Design a Year-Round Outdoor Living Space

How to design a year-round outdoor living space Love being outdoors? Then why limit your outside time to the all-too-short summer months? With a few simple changes you can transform your outdoor living space from a seasonal spot to a year-round oasis.

How to design a year-round outdoor living space #1

Enclose a space

Your first step is to decide on the space you want to use throughout the year. It may be a deck, porch, freestanding patio, gazebo, or lawn. This is the space you need to enclose.

Screens and sunshades will protect you from insects and sun, but if you want year-round protection, you will need to add some type of roof. An outdoor roof can be corrugated metal, corrugated Plexiglas, wood, or other weather-resistant material. Clear or frosted materials are good choices if you are concerned that the roof will make the interior of the house too dark. Choose a roof style that matches or complements your home.

Walls add another level of protection. Removable walls and retractable roof coverings provide maximum flexibility throughout the seasons.

Another important aspect to consider is the choice of furniture material. The design of your enclosed outdoor area and your lifestyle will determine how often your furniture will be exposed to sunlight, rain and temperature fluctuations. No matter how extreme the conditions are, synthetic wicker seems to be the best choice as it is comfortable, stylish, and designed to withstand the harshest climates.

How to design a year-round outdoor living space #2

Provide heat

When the leaves start to fall it becomes too cold to sit outside comfortably without heat. Fortunately, you have a number of heating options.

Patio heaters
Freestanding patio heaters and wall- or ceiling-mounted heaters are the easiest and most practical heat sources. Freestanding heaters are portable, but they take up space and can tip over. You cannot move mounted heaters, but they do not take up floor space and will not tip over. Whichever you choose, you can find natural gas, electric or propane models.

Outdoor fireplace
For warmth and ambiance, consider an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, or chiminea. If you like to watch the fire glow, a fireplace or fire pit may be your best choice. On the other hand, chimineas give off the most heat because the design allows more air to be drawn in. Choose between wood-burning and gas options.

How to design a year-round outdoor living space #3

Add lighting

As with heating, lighting serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. Each type of light has a different function, and a combination is often the most effective.

Floodlights: Floodlights have broad beams that light up surfaces. Use low wattage bulbs (100 watts or less) and try to hide the receptacles.

Spotlights: Spotlights are for accent only; use them sparingly to highlight a feature, such as a piece of sculpture or a fountain. Make sure spots do not shine in anyone’s eyes (including your neighbors’) and hide the receptacles.

Path lighting: Place fixtures at key points to make walking safer. Mushroom-shaped lights direct light to the ground, making them very effective. Solar path lights work great and save money.

Lamps : Outdoor posts and wall sconces come in many different styles and finishes. Make sure any lamp you use outside is rated for outdoor use.

Extra touches

Now you have the basics of designing a year-round outdoor living space. Possibilities for accessories are endless, including a covered hot tub, an outdoor bed, fans, an outdoor kitchen or bar, and a sound system. Your next step is to enjoy what you have created!

If you plan on buying or selling a home, visit today.

1 comment

  1. Henry says:

    Interesting information. It’s been one of my dream projects to add a sun room to the back of the house. It just gets so dismal here in Winnipeg during the winter that it would be nice to have a space that is bright.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *