If your home doesn’t have a dedicated place for outdoor living, you might consider adding a deck or patio. Another popular addition is a sunroom or screened area that expands living space, allows lots of outdoor light, but keeps some of the peskier outside elements away. Let’s check out each type of outdoor living area to see where you feel most comfortable.
Decks. A well-planned deck can add real beauty to your outdoor space. It is especially tailored for terrain that slopes more than a foot in height difference from the house. A deck can be contoured to the shape of the home and have multiple tiers. It can be built with wood or with weather-resistant composite materials. Check online for inspiration and actual plans. If hiring a contractor, make sure the proper building permits are pulled and inspections completed. Structural integrity can’t be emphasized enough. As with any contractor, ask for references and check public records for any complaints or lawsuits filed. Depending on size, design and quality, a deck is a good investment for adding value to the house.
Patios. If the ground in the area you want to improve is fairly level, patios are a nice addition. As with decks, patios can be contoured to the shape of the home and around landscape features. Patios can have grills or fire pits built in, set into part of the stone. Homeowners can choose from an endless array of colors, sizes and shapes of stone to blend or match masonry on the house. If the ground slopes, a retaining wall and steps will be needed, adding considerably to cost. Like decks, a well designed patio can add real value and quality of living to a home, in some cases more than decks. Decks and patios can sometimes be combined, with a beautiful deck stepping down to a patio, a terrific combination.
Sunrooms and screened-in porches. Existing patios are sometimes converted into a screened-in area or enclosed sunroom. A sunroom allows you to enjoy outdoor light but with indoor climate control, although the additional space may be difficult for your existing heating and air conditioning system to accommodate. Screened-in porches have become popular “three-season” spaces with upgrades such as vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, retractable windows and media connections.