"Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years."
Whoever came up with this quote was definitely on to something. Gardens are special peaceful spaces with restorative qualities that can work wonders when we are stressed and under pressure. Stress is a worldwide 21st century problem that can cause physical problems such as higher blood pressure, muscle tension and digestive problems, while long-term stress can lead to serious health issues including depression and anxiety.
So many of us homeowners find ourselves wishing for a back deck, patio or gazebo space for entertaining or just relaxing outdoors. Everybody has a different vision for what they want that space to look like - some love the idea of a screened in porch with an a tin roof, others want an open and sunny deck space with weather-treated wood, and some of us just want a small gazebo with comfortable furniture, tucked in a shady spot away from the elements.
No matter what sort of outdoor space you’re interested in, you can build something that will stand the test of time in durability, provide your family with hours of fun and relaxation, and up the property value of your home - all while staying on budget. So what do you need for your perfect outdoor addition? That’s up to everyone’s individual taste, but there are definitely some decisions to make before you get started. Here’s what to consider:
Are you building a deck or patio just off the back door, or do you prefer to build a deck space around another point in the yard, such as a pool or pond? Do you want to build a gazebo or small patio in a garden or shaded area? While off-the-house decks and porches are the most popular, many people elect to build outdoor areas in other parts of their yard. Deciding your location should be your first step, because this determines the shape and size of your deck, as well as the materials you’ll need. Think of what you want to get out of your outdoor addition. That will help you decide where it is best located.
Most decks and gazebos are made of wood, while patios can be as simple as a concrete slab just off the house, wood, or something else entirely. In recent years, composite materials have also become popular for deck and porch building, for those who don’t wish to utilize wood. There are plenty of things to consider when deciding what materials to use for building - what matches/goes with your house, whether or not it’s weather/sun proof (and if not, can it be easily treated), cost, and more. Take the time to research different building materials to determine what fits with your style and budget.
Once you’ve got building materials out of the way, now you’ve got to decide about the rest of the project materials. Do you want to screen in your deck? There are many different types of screens, shades, and more to choose from. Will you use carpet for flooring and keep the natural wood? For the roof of your structure, if you have one, what type of materials would you like? There are many roofing options, from insulated roof panels to steel, to wood planking, and more. Will your structure have doors and windows, or will it be more basic? You should also think about safety measures for any steps or ramps you install.
Once you’ve got all the building materials sorted, you’ll want to think about how to finish your deck. Will you stain the flooring? Paint? Use carpet? Purchase weather shading? For many, decorating their deck space and making it their own is the best part of building a new outdoor structure. Making sure to buy durable materials that will stand the test of time through sun and rain is really important.
The same is true for any furniture you buy for your outdoor space. There are all sorts of amazing tables, benches, settees and accessories for outdoor spaces, but not all are created equal. Some brands are more about flash and appearance than durability. You want furnishings and decorations that won’t fall apart the first time it rains. And investing in a tarp to protect these items in harsh winters is a good idea, too.
If you live in an area with a lot of pests, up the comfort of your family and your guests by investing in a few citronella plants or candles to keep around. These come in a variety of styles, sizes and options so you can pick something that matches your decor and keeps pesky bugs like mosquitos and ticks away.
Making an outdoor space your own is so much fun. Get creative with various plants and flowers, outdoor accessories such as vases and collectibles, match your cushions and furniture to the decor of your home, and be sure to have lots of seating for all the guests who will inevitably arrive to enjoy your outdoor space!
If you use your outdoor space to store valuable items such as elaborate grills or smokers, or sports equipment like bikes, you may want to invest in some security and keep the outdoor space locked up when it’s not in use. Many screen doors come with high-quality locks and deadbolts. You can also equip your outdoor space with your security system, though this can be tricky in rural areas, due to nocturnal animals that may come rummaging around the property. At the very least, some security lights are a good idea. It’s advisable not to use your outdoor spaces for storage of expensive items unless you have a good security measure in place.
While some people are content to design and build their own decks, porches, patios and gazebos, there are plenty of people who hire a designer to do the hard work for them. However you choose to build yourself an outdoor structure is totally up to you; there’s great design firms everywhere as well as amazing and easy to follow DIY plans online.
Whatever route you decide to go, as long as you choose the right building materials, follow a well thought out plan, and build a safe, accessible and secure structure, the finished result will be an outdoor addition that will give your family and friends relaxation, joy and fun for years to come. However you paint, stain, decorate or furnish your outdoor living spaces, they are guaranteed to be a beneficial addition to any home.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of Learn Develop Live