Designing A Living Room
Outdoor living rooms are the perfect way to make use of your outside space and turn a simple square of grass into the center of your social and recreational life. Here at ALD, we love creating outdoor living rooms to meet any size, complexity, and budget. Here’s how it works.
Did you know that a few low walls, some stones to walk on, and a couple of permanent seats are all it takes to make an outdoor living room? It’s true! Creating these is easier than most people realize, and we’re proud of our attention to detail and focus on making sure that outdoor living spaces look like a gorgeous, natural part of your property.
Here are some of the most popular elements that people ask for.
Raised Garden Beds
Gardens provide a lush, fragrant addition to any outdoor living space. If you want a raised bed, we’ll do some calculations and tell you which sorts of plants and flowers will grow best in the area.
Some people enjoy having a garden in the middle of the room. These gardens tend to be square or circular, and raised high enough to easily tend without being so high they block anyone’s line of sight.
Another common design is having the garden surround the area, forming both a protective wall and a sturdy backing for anything placed inside.
Flowers are the most common choice for raised garden beds, but they’re certainly not your only choice. Some people prefer stone gardens instead – these can discourage unwanted plants and insects, forming a sort of natural barrier that helps you from getting too close to nature.
Fireplaces and Fire Pits
Whether you want to toast marshmallows in the summer or roast a whole meal during the winter, fire can keep you warm and make your outdoor living room comfortable at any time of year. We know how important safety is, though, so every fireplace and fire pit is built to meet or exceed all standards for construction.
These parts of an outdoor living room come in two main forms. First is the classic wood-burning fire pit, which you can add fuel to at any time. Of course, these types of fires are a little harder to control – that’s why some people opt for a natural gas fireplace. Adjusting the fire is as easy as turning a knob, making it simple to get a fire going whenever you want.
A focus fixture is the centerpiece of an outdoor living room. It may not be the center, but it’s the part of the room that everything is designed around. This is often a fireplace or set of seats, but it could also be a fountain, a garden, a pet house, or anything else you’d like to design your area around.
Some homes already have focus fixtures that an outdoor living room can be designed around. If not, our team can talk with you and provide suggestions for a design that matches your home.
Creating The Perfect Outdoor Living SpaceBuilding your outdoor living space involves several steps. Here are the key things that happen – although, as with all custom projects, some of these may not be needed.
Utility LinesIf your outdoor living room needs a utility like natural gas, that will get put in before anything else. Safety is one of our top concerns, and we may work with qualified subcontractors to ensure that everything is done exactly right.
Once all of the big pieces are in place, we’ll start to put down the paving. This might involve pouring concrete to create or extend a patio, adding rocks and mortaring the spaces between them, or putting down plant-inhibiting fabric and covering it with rocks.
As a general rule, solid paving requires less upkeep than paving made out of small pieces. Upkeep is rarely a factor in people’s final decision here, but it is something you should be aware of, and our team will tell you anything you need to know about maintaining your paving.
Overhang StructuresSome outdoor living spaces have overhangs of some kind. These could be simple tarps set up overhead, or a more complex creation like a permanent stone roof. Either way, overhangs need sturdy footings to stay in place, so they get put in before we begin working on surface-level details. While the main focus of this step is overhangs, ground-level installations (like large stone chairs) may also be put in at this time. Most things added at this stage are fixed in place.
GradingThe first step, grading, is where we’ll adjust the surface landscape to match the final design. This usually involves flattening out an area, but some designs may involve slopes or digging into the ground instead of building up the terrain around it. Most grading is done to match existing fixtures like patios, decks, or other major outside features.
UnitsUnits include fireplaces, raised garden beds, and any other small or mid-size structures added after the paving is done. Units with particularly complicated designs – such as stone veneer, detailing, mosaics, or other artistic components – tend to take longer to install.
Finally, when all of the main parts are in place, we’ll add any extras and finishing touches you asked for. A popular choice here is lighting, especially in areas where people want to sit and talk. Fireplaces can provide light, sure, but you don’t always want to start a bonfire just so you can read a book outside.
Get The Outdoor Living Room You Want
Here at ALD, we love helping you say “yes” to a design. If you’re ready to turn the outside of your house into a full-fledged living area, contact our team today. We’ll help to create a design, timetable, and budget that works for you – no matter how much or how little you’re working for. Whatever you’re looking for, our experts are ready to make your vision come true.