One of the top home remodeling trends for 2012 is actually in the great outdoors. Depending on the survey, it ranks only behind kitchens and baths. Extending your living space outdoors to a patio, lanai or deck is no longer just a trend but a necessity for creating a balanced lifestyle. When done correctly, it provides calm peaceful space for relaxing and enjoying life.
Outdoor living is all about creating private getaways; a retreat or sanctuary from the outside world. Not only does a well-planned outdoor deck or patio increase your living space, pleasure and the value of your home, it also provides a wonderful flow of soothing Feng Shui energy into and out of your home.
When adding or remodeling your outdoor space it is important to remember to select weather-proof equipment and furnishings; items that need little or no maintenance to prevent unnecessary and unwanted stress. You want this space to provide you with joy-filled energy, not headaches from a constant barrage of repairs and maintenance.
Hot Trends for Outdoor Living
The soft economy is playing a big role in remodeling, and expanding living space to the great outdoors is the perfect place to start. An outdoor haven is a great home improvement that provides a larger living area to your home when space is at a premium and moving is out of the question. For some, expanding outside means a simple deck with lawn furniture; for others it means creating a complete outdoor kitchen including cabinetry and all the appliances. Below are some of the trends you may wish to include in your expansion.
Privacy – This is one of the major concerns most have when it comes to outdoor living. Homeowners want their space to be a private retreat and a sanctuary from outside intrusion. Privacy fencing has become a popular method for increased privacy and seclusion. Some of the newest fencing selections include vinyl privacy fencing offered in real-wood looks that include a variety of wood colors and require little maintenance.
Another popular privacy selection includes plantings in oversized pots or in the ground from a variety of shrubs and hedges that are thick and lush, preventing the outside world from peering in. This type of privacy is definitely more work however it adds a wonderful natural touch that provides a more serene relaxing space than traditional fencing. Clumping bamboo together in the south or using appropriate evergreens in the north are great natural fencing.
Outdoor Kitchens – The outdoor kitchen adds the elements of eating and family togetherness time, in addition to being a recoupable value to your home. The grill or cooktop is king when it comes to the outdoor kitchen. Even if your budget is limited, do not skimp on the grill.
Today you can find grills that are capable of cooking with any combination of charcoal, wood and gas so shop wisely. Compare your findings and narrow down your choices before you purchase. There are also flexible grill systems known as modular outdoor kitchens, which are easy to install. You can purchase grills, refrigeration and other cooking components, clip and screw each unit to its neighbors and even add the desired countertop. In fact, you can even purchase pizza ovens, weather-tight cabinetry, warming cabinets and a freestanding fireplace – an outdoor dishwasher is coming soon.
Whether you add simply a grill or a complete kitchen doesn’t matter, expanding your cooking ability outdoors will provide you expanded living space, more together time and enjoyable fresh air energy.
Decor that blends – Stainless steel is still at the top of the list for its durability outdoors but many consumers want their outdoor living space to either blend with the landscape or to follow a theme from within their indoor living space. Gone are the days of a deck being an afterthought – it is truly an extension of the home.
Often the kitchen work triangle of appliances and sink are recreated in outdoor kitchens, and design elements like countertops and backsplashes carry the same theme from indoors making a seamless transition from inside out or outside in. Masonry or tinted concrete is very popular in high-end outdoor kitchens and are often combined with stainless steel for a very sophisticated look.
Within this trend is another trend – one of providing shelter at least over the kitchen area for rain-or-shine use. Additional trends indicate that you can expect to see porcelain tiles for finishing the patio slab.
Outdoor comfort – On the rise are computer-controlled perimeter insect control systems, which allow people to spend more time in their outdoor sanctuary by keeping mosquitoes or other bugs from invading their space. Also on the rise are patio heaters which add many days to the outdoor season for people living in colder climates. In warmer climates adding a shaded area or umbrella for comfort is a necessity.
Remember you are increasing your outdoor living space first, adding value second. The choices are many but what’s most important is that the sanctuary you are creating meets your needs for rest, relaxation and privacy.
Download “Taking the Indoors Out: How to Increase Home Value and Living Space” in PDF Format.
© Pat Heydlauff, All Rights Reserved
Pat Heydlauff, president of Energy Design, uses Feng Shui design principles to eliminate chaos and stress at home and within oneself. More than a Feng Shui expert, Pat is a consultant and speaker who helps remove clutter and negativity while encouraging personal growth, improved relationships and prosperity. Her new book, “Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It,” shows how to achieve a better tomorrow. For information on her consulting, speaking and artwork, call: 561-408-2708.