Custom Decks Enhance Outdoor Living Options For Your Home
Outdoor living space is a must in Colorado, where we enjoy 300+ days of sunshine per year. In addition to providing quality of life, an outdoor living space will both expand your home’s livable space and add to the value of your home.
Outdoor living spaces are one of the biggest trends in home remodeling. They offer a perfect place for outdoor cooking and dining, poolside areas, lounging areas, and more.
In the old days before air conditioners and swamp coolers, cooking was done outdoors to keep the house cooler in the summer or to minimize cooking odors inside the house. Now, dining and cooking “al fresco” on a beautiful custom deck is popular purely because it’s pleasurable and relaxing.
Those cooking spaces of old are nothing compared to the incredible outdoor living areas being created in today’s homes. These days, outdoor living areas can feature restaurant-grade gas grills, refrigerators, sinks, weather-resistant countertops, and even bars.
With all these options, just where do you start in creating your outdoor living space and designing a deck? First, ask yourself these questions:
- How many people do we typically entertain, and how frequently?
(Dictates seating needs and cooking capacity.)
- Is there a particular style of cooking we like? For example, smoked foods, brick oven baking, etc.
(Dictates the cooking equipment you’ll need.)
- How much outdoor cooking will we do each year?
(Dictates how much you should invest in an outdoor living space.)
The next step is to review available space that could be turned into an outdoor living space, and determine how that space could accommodate your desired activities. Practical considerations such as a family member’s ability to navigate steps will affect design decisions, too.
Also, consider how long you plan to stay in your home. If you’re facing a corporate transfer, design an outdoor living space with modular features that can be dismantled and moved, or which can be easily replaced by new owners if they want something else.
What Surface Should I Choose For My Outdoor Living Space?
One of the main decisions you’ll make in designing your outdoor living space is the surface. You must decide if you want a terrace, a concrete patio, or an actual deck.
Option 1: Terraces
Terraces typically involve moving earth, building retaining walls, and re-contouring the land. This can be time-consuming and expensive. In climate with intense sun, terraces also create a “heat-island,” which contributes to global warming and increases the amount of energy it takes to cool your home.
Option 2: Concreted Patio
Poured concrete patios are easy to maintain, but also create a heat island. They also don’t allow water to permeate into the soil evenly, which can create pools or “mini-ponds” in the yard during heavy rains.
Option 3: Custom Decks
Custom decks are a good choice if you’re building over uneven ground, and you want to minimize heat retention and your utility bills. Most new decking products look like wood and are highly stain and scratch resistant. But since they’re made out of composite materials, composite decking doesn’t rot, warp, or splinter like real wood. It also doesn’t require yearly sanding, staining, and sealing each year. These new decking materials also are environmentally friendly because they are not made from fresh-harvested wood. Wood decks remain beautiful and provide a natural look but have extensive maintenance requirements.
All in all, outdoor living spaces offer an excellent opportunity to enhance the pleasure you take in your home, as well as its value. The real trick is to design an outdoor living space that enhances your life without breaking the bank.