Outdoor Living Never Looked So Good with These Attractive Spaces
As more and more Americans embrace the indoor-outdoor connection, outdoor living has emerged as one of today’s hottest trends. Homey, relaxing and attractive rooms are coming up in the home’s exterior space as families actively bring the indoors out. Living life outside has become part of the modern American culture.
If you’ve been dragging your feet about outdoor living, now’s the time to think about what you really need, want, and are willing to take on. For inspiration, here are some of the trends in outdoor living that you can choose from:
1. Outdoor Living/Hearth Room
Can’t let go of your fireplace and the warmth it radiates in the hearth room? Not a problem. Today, most families just create a living/hearth room outdoors – that is equipped with a fireplace, furniture, and fixtures that are suited for the exterior space. Designing an outdoor living room is made easier with all-weather materials and accessories. Think of adding area rugs, upholstered benches, throws, pillows, flowers, plants, and other furnishings that give you the feel of being inside the home.
Relax in the comfort of the stunning outdoor living/hearth room of this 2-story 3-bedroom Craftsman-style home plan. A stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the room, which also features chairs, a sofa, cushions, and a coffee table. (Plan #108-1789)
2. Outdoor Porch
A porch – whether it’s at the front entryway or at the rear of the house - never goes out of style. It just gets updated to adapt to the changing demands of modern family living. In 2016, a porch can be designed as an area for relaxation, entertaining, or dining.
Left: this 2-story 4-bedroom Country house plan features a traditional wraparound front porch. Right: There are white columns and a row of rocking chairs … just the spot to relax, watch the sunset, and wait for nightfall for the moon and stars. (Plan #109-1093)
Cards or lemonade, anyone? This bright and colorful porch of a 2-story, 3-bedroom Farmhouse home plan is ideal for relaxing and entertaining. Sit back on the cushioned chairs, set up a game of cards at the table on the end, or serve drinks and snacks. (Plan # 153-1871)
Much like the porch, the patio is another outdoor “comfort zone” for the family that you can incorporate into your home plan. It can be as small and casual or as big and elaborate as the family wants it to be. For some, the rear patio can be a simple sitting area to relax after a game of billiards or cards or enjoy the beauty of nature and the landscape. Other homeowners surround their patio with plants and gardens filled with colorful blooms, water fountains, a grilling area, and dining furniture.
The outdoor patio of this 1-story, 5-bedroom European Country-style house plan serves as an informal sitting area where the family can relax and watch the sunrise or sunset. (Plan # 165-1077)
A 2-story, 4-bedroom Craftsman-style home plan features this gorgeous and spacious rear patio that comes with light sconces, a water fountain, a garden, and a grilling/dining area. (Plan # 153-1781)
Thanks to the popularity of outdoor living, decks are now an important design element in house plans and home construction. Whether you live in a small urban home, a city apartment, or a spacious home in a residential area, your deck – like a porch and patio – can be stylish as well as practical and functional. The floor plan of today’s larger decks – which a number of homeowners prefer to mirror their home’s indoor square footage – accommodate outdoor kitchen appliances, furniture, and other fixtures. And to illuminate the space and add to the ambiance, comfort, and warmth, lights are installed on the stairs and railing posts, and sconces are strategically placed around the area.
Left: Bask in the sun and enjoy nature’s beauty from the deck of this 2-story, 3-bedroom Craftsman-style house plan (Plan # 108-1789). Right: Kick off your shoes and unwind on the rear deck of this 2-story, 3-bedroom contemporary European home plan, which faces the landscaped courtyard (Plan # 153-1897).
Left: Open the living room doors and walk out to the spacious deck of a two-story, four-bedroom Shingle-style house. Right: Relax in the quiet of the surroundings and the fading light of the day from the deck. Light sconces atop the railing posts illumine the deck. (Plan # 161-1038)
5. Outdoor Kitchen/Grilling Area
In 2016, the outdoor kitchen continues to be a trend with staying power. With the larger decks, families can create a kitchen that’s as elaborately furnished and comfortable as the main kitchen inside the home – to serve as the outdoor social hub. With that in mind, they are installing dining room furniture, cabinets, refrigerators, fireplaces, sinks, a full range of state-of-the-art appliances that include grills and even pizza ovens.
Left: From the breakfast room, one can access the outdoor deck of this one-story, three-bedroom Craftsman-style home that’s outfitted with an outdoor grill, a fireplace, and a dining area. (Plan# 169-1016) Right: A two-story luxury European-style home features a charming outdoor kitchen surrounded by trees and flowers. (Plan # 106-1156)
Open the glass doors of the Great Room of this two-story, three-bedroom European-style home and step into the beautiful summer kitchen that gets you closer to nature (Plan # 153-1897).
6. Outdoor Dining Area
If you are planning an outdoor kitchen for your home plan, it makes sense to have an outdoor dining area – especially on a larger deck that has the space for both a kitchen and dining furniture. You can also enjoy alfresco dining on your deck, grilling porch, or patio. All you need are the basic furnishings – and go casual and informal with the dining table and chairs.
An informal dining table, chairs with cushions, and an area rug make the outdoor dining area in this 2-story, 3-bedroom Craftsman-style house plan inviting and eye-catching (Plan #108-1789).
7. Backyard Pool
Ready to take a break from the hot rays of the sun or from reading a book? Instead of retreating to the patio, some families prefer to extend their outdoor space by building an outdoor pool where they can cool off and refresh themselves. The pool can be the center of a home’s exterior space – or an addition to enhance your patio, outdoor kitchen, and dining area. Just remember to build a space that all members of the family can use. Think hot tub for adults and a slide for children.
What a great way to unwind after a long day! Get refreshed in the outdoor pool at the center of the landscaped backyard of this 2-story, 5-bedroom Mediterranean-style home plan (Plan # 134-1355).
Step into the refreshing waters of the stunning outdoor pool of this 2-story, 3-bedroom contemporary European house plan (Plan # 153-1897).
8. Outdoor Shower
One of the home trends in 2016 that’s gaining in popularity is the outdoor shower. For homeowners whose budget cannot include an outdoor pool, an outdoor shower to cool them off after a hot summer day is a wonderful alternative.
And for those who have a pool, an outdoor shower is a practical addition. It’s a great place to get cleaned up after a swim. But before you start building, consider privacy and plumbing issues.
Outdoor shower, anyone? A trend that’s slowly gaining ground is the outdoor shower. Here are two models that provide privacy for families and guests who prefer to cool off outdoors after a day in the garden, patio or sundeck.
To the left of the swimming pool of this 2-story, 5-bedroom Mediterranean-style home is a cabana that can be used not just as a changing area but a shower as well (Plan # 107-1026).
9. Vegetable Garden
A typical flower garden or a vegetable garden? For a lot of “green thumbs” the swing is toward a vegetable garden that’s both colorful and functional. There are some clear advantages to a vegetable garden. Not only is it decorative, it is more low-maintenance than growing flowers. In addition, families can enjoy – and save money on – their produce. Just imagine all of the smells of the various herbs and vegetables in that garden.
A colorful small flower garden sits at one end of the swimming pool in a 2-story, 5-bedroom, 5-bath French Country Fench-style home plan (Plan #190-1014).
Want some calm and serenity? How about a vegetable garden? Left: A simple vegetable garden planted in rows of rectangular plots is an appealing sight. Right: The vegetables in this garden are planted in attractive wood containers of various shapes and sizes.
With the warmer months upon us, it’s time to start thinking of creating wonderful outdoor spaces that bring the indoors out!
Footnote: The lead image in this article is a modern and attractive outdoor living/hearth room of a two-story, three-bedroom Craftsman-style home. For more information, click here. (Plan #108-1789)