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Tips when creating an outdoor living space

Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular over the last several years. The home improvement boom has shown many homeowners just how easy it can be to transform a home into a private sanctuary that caters to the personalities of the home's residents.

OutdoorLivingSpace

Outdoor living areas have become an extension of the home's interior, with many homeowners creating outdoor living rooms and dining areas so they can relax and eat meals outside just as they do indoors. But homeowners thinking of creating outdoor living spaces should consider a few tricks of the trade before beginning their projects.

• Strategically place the space. Property often dictates where the outdoor living space will go, but it helps to keep in mind that the outdoor space is more likely to be used if it's easily accessible from the inside of the home. For instance, if residents need to walk out the front door to access an outdoor living space in the backyard, then residents might find the area is too inconveniently located and they won't make the most of the space. Whenever possible, plan the outdoor living space so it's easily accessible from the home's interior, preferably from the kitchen so it will be easier to carry meals outdoors when dining outside.

• Emphasize comfort. Many homeowners look at their outdoor living areas as places to kick their feet up and relax, so comfort should take precedence when planning the space. Forgo the plastic patio chairs of yesteryear for furniture that's more sturdy and roomy so you won't feel cramped or sweaty on warm summer evenings and afternoons. In addition, don't forget to shade the area. Some homeowners choose to build pergolas, but oftentimes an umbrella or two can do the trick at a fraction of the cost. If the outdoor living area is near trees, they might provide sufficient shade from the often blistering summer sun. But keep a few umbrellas in the garage just in case.

• Illuminate the area. Summer nights spent relaxing in the outdoor living area make for great memories. But such nights are nearly impossible if the area doesn't have some lighting. Tiki torches might do the trick for some, while others who want to avoid giving their outdoor area a luau feel might prefer solar-powered accent lights, which won't require any wiring. If your backyard attracts its fair share of insects, look for insect-repelling lights or lamps. Whatever your preference, don't forget to have some lighting so those summer evenings spent under the sky don't have to end when the sun goes down.

• Keep the design consistent with your home. In addition to providing an outdoor respite from the daily grind, an outdoor living space can also increase a home's resale value. However, homeowners who have one eye on R&R and the other on resale value should keep the design of their outdoor living space consistent with their home. One of the goals when designing an outdoor living space should be to create a seamless transition from the home's interior to its exterior. The best way to do that is to keep the designs of both living spaces consistent.

• Don't forget the fire pit. A fire pit provides a great focal point for an outdoor living area. Instead of sitting at the dinner table, families and friends can gather around the fire pit and relax with some s'mores and share stories. But even when guests aren't coming over, a fire pit makes for a great place to relax and let the time go by.

With more and more homeowners transforming their homes into their own private sanctuaries, outdoor living spaces continue to grow in popularity. By employing a few simple tricks of the trade, homeowners can create the outdoor areas of their dreams.