Most of us take great pride in our homes, investing countless hours rearranging and remodeling the interior. But it can also be refreshing to step out of the confines of the inside and spend some time outside. The Central Coast is a natural fit for outdoor living because of our amazing climate and the options for outdoor living are endless.
But spending time outside doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your creature comforts. With a few small adjustments you can make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting. Turning a yard, patio, porch or other outdoor area into a functional living space can be a rewarding task, and will expand your living space to the outdoors. With the right setup, you can spend more time in the sunshine and fresh air, and host events for friends, family and neighbors.
An outdoor fireplace, fire table, fire pit, or chiminea can be a good addition to any deck or patio. All of these options are different but have the same benefits; you and your guests can stay outside long after the sun has gone down. If you are not in a position to build in a fireplace, a fire table is a great alternative. The fire is in the center which leaves room to serve your meal or appetizers right on the spot to your guests. Seating in a complete circle encourages conversation with new and old friends and also keeps everybody warm. While a plethora of portable fire pits are commercially available for adding warmth and ambiance with a balance of safety, nothing beats a built-in fire pit. Whether you crave the atmosphere and authenticity of a wood-burning feature, or the convenience of gas, when you opt for a built-in fire pit the element becomes a fluidly integral part of the deck or yard design. What’s more, with built-in options you can tailor the fire pit’s appearance to complement your overall design, and avoid tip risks associated with portable devices.
Grills and decks go together like cookies and cream, but to take your outdoor cooking to the next level, set aside an area on your deck or in your backyard for an outdoor kitchen. These kitchens not only incorporate cooking facilities such as gas or charcoal grills, burners, and even pizza ovens, they also sport wet bars, sinks, and prep areas. Virtually any amenity you would find in a top-quality kitchen can be included in an outdoor cooking area. Your outdoor kitchen is not only a showcase of luxury, it can be the focal point of outdoor entertaining.
For outdoor living, a hot tub is the pinnacle of luxury and relaxation. In fact, 77 percent of hot tub owners say their hot tub is one of the few things that truly transports them away from day-to-day stresses, according to a survey by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. From intimately sized spas that seat just two people to grand hot tubs that can host a half dozen people or more, you have plenty of options when choosing a hot tub. While built-in hot tubs impart a refined, luxurious look to a deck, portable models can go with you when you move some day. Consult a spa professional for help determining the size and type that’s right for your deck.
A variety of lighting options for outdoor spaces exist, and it’s a good idea to include lighting design for safety and aesthetics in your landscaping plans. Lighting can be installed within retaining walls, under capstones and among paving stone pathways and patios. Even a simple string of lights around a patio or deck railing adds a warm ambience to evenings and cool nights.
Select year-round outdoor furniture. Look for outdoor furniture that’s durable and doesn’t need storage or annual maintenance other than cleaning.
Shelter’s not just for shade. Take shelter from the elements with a variety of pergolas, awnings, and other coverings for patios and decks that not only provide shade but also help protect from wind and inclement weather.
If backyard space permits, consider adding levels to your deck. Layering levels of deck adds visual appeal and interest, and also allows you to turn your outdoor “room” into an outdoor house. With multiple levels, you can separate seating and cooking areas, create greater privacy for a hot tub and maximize available space.
Whether your home is modest or majestic, your deck can be a showcase of style, luxury and fun – and an investment that pays off in increased value and enjoyment.