by Ashley Farrington & Michelle Blue
A well designed outdoor area can make your home feel larger by creating an outdoor living space to compliment your indoor space. Take note of the homes listed on the MLS that are high-end or just feel high-end and many of them have twilight photos and/or photos of outdoor areas that help you imagine summers with family and friends.
1. Outdoor Lighting. There is something magical about outdoor lighting that makes spending evenings outside a little more special. This can be as simple as quality outdoor string lights installed over your deck or patio or above a fire pit, directed landscape lighting, walkway lighting, or outdoor wall lanterns and overhead lighting.
2. Gathering Space. People like an area that is designed for gatherings – a gas fire table, a wood fire pit, a BBQ area, a pool or hot tub, an outdoor tiki bar, a patio table for meals, or even just a bistro table for an evening glass of wine or morning coffee for two. These spaces can be created with a mixture of permanent features and furniture and accessories.
3. Landscaping. Well maintained landscaping is important for curb appeal but it can also be designed to encourage people to want to be outside of your home. Add color with plants and outdoor art, tranquility with fountains, privacy with well-placed screens or fences, and lifestyle with gardens (as simple as a container garden with herbs to fruit trees and raised beds for veggies and cut flowers).
4. Outdoor Structures. Structures can help maximize the use and value of a home providing a place for active use, storage, or additional living space. Structures for active use include a patio, deck, gazebo, shop, playhouse, sports court, swimming pool, and animal related buildings and structures. Structures for storage include a shed, carport, detached garage, or RV covered area. Additional living space structures can include a studio, accessory living quarters (ALQ) with a place to sleep and a bathroom or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) which includes sleeping area, bathroom and a kitchen area.
5. Covered Area. In the Pacific Northwest a covered area can extend your ability to enjoy being outside from Spring – Fall. There are many ways to create this area – everything from a large patio umbrella, sun sail shades, fixed or retractable awnings, or a detached or attached roof.
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