How to Make Your Outdoor Living Space an At-Home Retreat

Now that winter’s over, we don’t have to stay indoors. Warm weather beckons us to spend more time outside. Creating an outdoor living space can give you the best of both worlds.But how do you turn your average backyard into a relaxing retreat?

Thinking Ahead

In my “Thinking Outside the Home” blog, I mentioned that building an outdoor living space all starts with the floor plan. Whether you decide on a concrete patio, a composite desk, or a covered lounge area, picking a floor plan that accommodates outdoor needs is key. So, really consider what you want out of all aspects of your home.But what’s the benefit of thinking ahead?Unity. Bielinski floor plans look at your home as a whole, which means your outdoor seating area will never look — or feel — like an afterthought.

Consider Your Needs

Choosing the right outdoor living space comes down to personal preference. But, it also comes down to function. So ask yourself, “What am I looking for?”Once you have an idea, you can start planning.A concrete patio built at grade level is the simplest way to make outdoor living part of your home.If your home has a little more elevation or you want a place where you can really soak in the sun, try a composite deck.But, if you’re someone who utilizes your outdoor space no matter the climate — come rain or high heat index — a covered option is the way to go.The right decision comes down to your individual needs.

Going Exposed

Both concrete patios and composite decks are low maintenance. All you need to do is hose them off to ensure they’re clean.So what sets them apart?As the simplest option, concrete is usually the most affordable. And it gives you space for everything from a fire pit to seating.A deck offers more ways to individualize your outdoor space — such as rail and balusters or steps leading to the rest of your yard, but this adds to the cost of deck building.But don’t let the price stop you. Composite materials last longer than cedar. Which means less upkeep for you, making it worth every penny. And sometimes a deck is required — like when your home is built with an exposure to the rear.

Benefits of a Covered Area

Maybe an outdoor area that’s exposed to the elements just doesn’t fit your needs. Well, there’s still another option for you: a covered outdoor living space.There are plenty of practical benefits to building a covered outdoor living space. Immediate access is the biggest factor. Because the living space is part of your home’s initial structure, it’s built at the same time. Once construction is done, you can use your space whenever and however you like.Plus, the cost of the outdoor living space goes directly into the mortgage, meaning you aren’t making separate, future payments. You also don’t have to worry about finding a contractor in the future. It’s settled without paying more out of pocket.The best benefit, however, is that you can use your outdoor living space any day and every day. The elements won’t limit your access.Whether it’s raining, snowing, sunny, or somewhere in between, you’re always protected. And we all know Wisconsin weather is finicky. With a covered living space, you can grill in winter, drink coffee in a rainstorm, or stay cool when the heatwave rolls in.

Have Fun With It

No matter which option you choose, you want your outdoor living space to be a retreat — a place you spend a lot of time. So have fun with it.With your concrete patio, you can make a subtle statement without breaking the bank by opting for stamped concrete. This style gives you the look and texture of stone without having to lay individual pieces.For decks, you can have fun with components such as different colored decking material, railings and balusters. Or, if you have a home with no exposure, opt out of railings completely.And, for covered living spaces, you can add a lot of pizzazz to your space: fans to keep you cool in the summer, fun lighting to brighten your backyard at nightfall, a television to help entertain, or a large outdoor sofa for that extra level of comfort.When styling, you can’t go wrong with the basics. A fire pit or a grilling area creates a centerpiece for summertime activities. And don’t forget to consider lounge furniture instead of (or in addition to) the standard table and chairs — so you can enjoy a nice beverage or your favorite reading material outside.The most important point to remember is: decide how you want to use your space. That determines all your needs. Learn more about Bielinski floor plans or start building your new home today.