North Olmsted, Ohio … Admit it. You love the great outdoors. Entertaining friends. Watching the kids run through the sprinkler. Napping on your patio. There’s a host of life happening outside the home, and more homeowners than ever are seizing the opportunity to make their patios and yards extensions of their living space.
“We’re finding that people want to utilize every square inch in and out of the home,” says Leslie Segrete, carpenter on the TLC show “While You Were Out” and co-host of the syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit.” “They’re turning patios and garages into family rooms. They’re creating outdoor bedrooms from screened-in porches,”
The key to enjoying these spaces is keeping things simple and functional. By emphasizing your lifestyle and needs, you can create a space that’s 100 percent you – and 100 percent useful.
Define Your Style. Define Your Space. Whether you’re faced with just a small patch of yard – or acres – the first step is to define your lifestyle needs and the physical space you want for your outdoor activities. Will you be using the space for entertaining friends? Relaxing? Do you need a play area for the kids?
“You have to look at your yard and say, ‘this is the space,'” recommends Segrete. “You should then physically define the area using something that reflects your style – lighting, a stone patio, an arbor, landscaping. By saying to yourself, ‘this is the area we will enjoy’ you’re more likely to use and fall in love with the space.”
Segrete has put this plan into practice in her own yard. Although her neighbor’s home is close to her own, she’s placed paper lanterns around her patio – creating a calm and serene surrounding that reflects her style and blocks out any distractions. “I sit out there, and feel I can escape.”
Keep It Simple. Rain, cold weather, extreme wind and harsh sunlight are all culprits that can ruin any outdoor area. With some upfront planning and smart shopping, Segrete notes, you can minimize Mother Nature’s effects.
“You don’t want to worry about moving furniture every time you’re not using it. If you use items that withstand the test of time, you’ll make your life a lot simpler.” Segrete recommends good, exterior grade furniture in a weather-sturdy material like teak, and cushions that are waterproof and fade-resistant. If you live in a high-wind area, consider concrete anchors on furniture and decorative items.
This is also a good time to think about all those activities you’ll be doing outside, and what you’ll need to make them more enjoyable. “You want convenience, so you don’t have to rush inside for things,” says Segrete. “With the right planning, even yard work can be less of a hassle.”
Water is one big outdoor need that’s come a long way over the years. “When I was a kid, my mother would fill our little pool, and the water would be freezing. She’d rush inside to get warm water to try to make it more comfortable. With today’s new water options, you don’t have to worry about that.”
Moen Incorporated recently introduced a single-handle, hot-cold sill faucet that’s designed for today’s outdoor needs. This unique outdoor faucet features simple one-handle operation that delivers both hot and cold water, just like a faucet you’d find in the kitchen.
“With the right water source outside, you can wash away dirt from the yard, car and pets no matter what the temperature, and keep the inside of your home cleaner,” says Segrete. She advises placing outdoor faucets within easy reach of common activities, reducing the need to move and coil up yards and yards of hose. “It’s all about making your life easier.”
Extend Your Opportunities. As outdoor areas become more stylish and functional, homeowners are looking for ways to enjoy them longer in the evening – and longer when the weather gets cold.
Gone are the days of the messy firepit that required constant attention and cleaning. One tip Segrete has is to put modern technology to use for your comfort. “You’ll find beautiful copper dishes with fake logs that you can hook up to a propane line. They are simple to use and easy to set up. It’s a no-nonsense way to generate heat and ambiance.”
Outdoor fans can also provide some much needed heating and cooling for more confined areas, like screened-in porches. The Reiker Room Conditioner provides a remote-controlled heating system in addition to traditional ceiling fan operation.
When it comes to outdoor lighting, look beyond harsh floodlights for maximum drama and impact. “You want to create something that replicates moonlight – always from above, never from below,” says Segrete. Hanging lights or lanterns that surround your space will assure you can entertain or relax well into the evening.
So open the back door, and start imagining. With the right ideas, your yard can become not only an extension of your living space – but also an extension of your personal style.
For more information about Moen’s outdoor hot/cold sill faucet visit www.moen.com or call 1-800-BUY-MOEN (800-289-6636).
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