Tomorrow (Saturday) brings the official start to my favorite season: fall. I love the changing colors, the smell (yes, fall has a specific smell), football and the crisp cool air. I love to bundle up in a sweater and a blanket and sit in the fresh air in the fall months. And a cup of hot cider doesn’t hurt either.
For me, this is the best time of year for a screened porch. During the day, it’s the perfect temperature to comfortably sit outside and enjoy the outdoors without the bugs and at night, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in the blanket and enjoy the cool air.
Screened porches are a great way to add value to our home and your outdoor living experience. In most areas of the United States screened porches can be used the majority of the year. Screened porches not only protect you from bugs, but also the harsh outdoor elements like the sun and rain (I love sitting in a screened porch when it’s raining, it’s the perfect time for a nap).
Our Archadeck Outdoor Living franchisees have designed screened porches in every shape and size. Like sunrooms, it’s important to create a usable space that doesn’t detract from the look and feel of the existing home. One of the more difficult design considerations is how it can affect the rooms it is attached to. Natural light into the existing rooms may decrease with the addition of a sunroom. To circumvent that issue, many of our screened porch designers will include skylights in the porch’s roof to keep light flowing into the home.
Ceilings in screened porches come in a wide variety of finishes. While some homeowners may want a wood finish for a rustic/outdoorsy look, others want the ceiling to match the rest of the home’s interior. Whatever your taste, it’s all doable.
Additional features that Archadeck Outdoor Living often include in their screened porches are fireplaces and fans. When designing and building any custom outdoor living space, the designer and homeowner have to consider how and when the space will be used. Ceiling fans are a great in screened porches for those hot humid days of summer when you want be outside without being too hot. On the flip side, homeowners may want to use their porch even when the weather is cool, so adding a fireplace makes perfect sense for them. They can light a fire and enjoy the cool night, and maybe some s’mores, outdoors.
I am the proud granddaughter of the cutest 93 and 91 year old ever. They may not be young bucks anymore, but they have a routine that they love. A few weeks ago I flew up to Maine to visit them in their new apartment at an assisted living complex. My grandmother raved about the whole place and said that there was only one thing she missed from her house: the sunroom.
About 10 years ago, when Gram and Gramp were still living in the house my mother grew up in, they added a sunroom to the side of their house. It quickly became their favorite spot to sit throughout the day and the epicenter of the home.
My grandmother’s reasoning behind adding the room (because she makes all the decisions) was that she wanted a brighter, more open room to enjoy the day. She liked watching the neighborhood kids walking to and from school and my grandfather cutting the bushes in the yard. When it was originally built, I thought they would only use it in spring and summer when it wasn’t too cold (it was Maine and all), but I was wrong.
Despite the frigid air, the sunroom builders created a room for all four seasons. When it was warm out, my grandparents would open all the windows and turn on their ceiling fan if needed. In the cooler months, they used a space heater that was installed in the wall that efficiently heated the room. It turned out to be the perfect spot to curl up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate (grandparents always have hot chocolate) while the leaves turned colors and snow began to fall.
At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we design and build custom sunrooms that transition perfectly into the client’s existing home. Transition is important when considering adding a sunroom. While in general sunrooms do add significant value to your home, it’s important to have it planned out properly. The new project shouldn’t take away from the existing architecture of the home, but instead be a flawless addition.
For our clients, sunrooms are the perfect place to enjoy their outdoor surroundings from the comfort of the indoors. Because they can be built to be used all year round, they truly add to the amount of usable space of your home. Here are some great examples of Archadeck Outdoor Living sunrooms:
Archadeck of Augusta’s manager, Tom Leonard was recently interviewed by Columbia County Magazine. While the piece focused on gazebos, pergolas, ramadas and arbors, it was Tom’s quotes that stood out to me; “outdoor structures are a way of drawing people into the yard…they might offer people a different view of their yard or give them a reason to use a certain part of their yard.”
I couldn’t agree more with this notion. Friends of mine bought a home with a large back yard last year. They bought it in large part due to the yard’s size. They saw the potential, but when they bought it, there wasn’t much to the outdoor space. They would host get-togethers where some drinks and food would be outside, but their guests were always indoors. The reason? Besides the food there wasn’t an inviting space outdoors that you would want to sit down and relax in, just grass and dirt. Gradually, our friends have updated their outdoor living space with a large patio off the back of the house that’s perfect for al fresco dining and a fire pit further in the yard. Now when they have people over, their guests are on the patio, out towards the fire pit and everywhere in between. No one is ever inside.
At Archadeck Outdoor Living, we view decks, porches, patios and other projects as more than just structures. They are outdoor living spaces that increase your home’s useable space. When designing a space, “homeowners need to look at the function” of their outdoor living space, says Leonard. Is it a dining area, living area or just a place for you to curl up and read a book? Whatever the function, the size, structure and layout of the space has to mirror its primary use. If completed well, you will want to spend time in it.
A few years ago I visited one of Archadeck of Central Virginia’s clients. They had this beautiful porch off the back of the house which led down to a nice deck. The size of the porch was perfect. Just big enough for an outdoor couch, chairs and space to move around. Sheer curtains were added to the backside of the porch for added privacy as well. Their goal in building the space was to have a homey area outside where they could host friends and family. Trust me, if I was visiting that home, I would want to sit on that porch. And while sitting there, I could take in the beauty of the property (this particular homeowner had quite the garden).
If you are researching the best way to enhance your outdoor living space, take a look at the Archadeck Design Guide. It will ask you all the important questions for you to consider while you are in the planning and designing phase.
We at Archadeck love to see all of the custom designed projects that our franchisees create for their clients. Like we’ve mentioned before, whether it’s a patio, porch or deck, each of our outdoor living spaces is created with the customers’ tastes, budget and lifestyle in mind. Recently, Curtis Crays, the owner of Archadeck of Front Range, created the perfect paver patio for clients who had been saving for 10 years for the backyard of their dreams.
The before picture to the right shows the not-so-special outdoor living space they had before. There was a small area that was covered with rocks and a stone path going through it. There was nothing special or comfortable about the space that invited you to spend additional time outdoors overlooking the beautiful foothills of Golden, Colorado. The homeowners knew they wanted the perfect outdoor space and saved for years to make it happen.
When Curtis initially visited the homeowners, they had a clear idea of what they wanted in the space: a large paver patio, stucco wall, an iron gate and some kind of fire feature. And boy did they get it. Look at these after pictures! Wow!
“They deserve to have the space they always wanted,” says Crays. “And we were happy to give it to them.” The Santa Fe style space includes a 160 foot long stucco wall in Valparaiso Clay that provides a clear border to the space, creating an outdoor room. Adds Crays; “that wall is such a focal point to the space. It’s visually interesting but still defines the space and provides additional privacy.”
The patio, constructed with borgert pavers, includes neutral greys to provide an even base and sporadic red pavers that complement the vibrancy of the red stucco. And with 1,000 square feet of patio, the homeowners now have the perfect place to relax or entertain friends and family.
The finishes of an outdoor living space often “make” the space and that’s the case with both the iron gate and the fireplace of this project. The iron gate, with its intricate design, is the perfect “door” to this outdoor living room. An outdoor fireplace was a must for these homeowners and it became a standout feature of this space. Adds Crays “most outdoor fireplaces are low to the ground, but we wanted to do something different. By raising it a few feet it becomes a piece of art on the wall and the lights on either side enhance it even more.”
Although we think this paver patio in Golden, CO is absolutely stunning; in the end it’s all about how the client reacts. In this case, the homeowner had a very clear and concise reaction to the space: “This is exactly what I dreamed of…, we absolutely love it.”
One of the many benefits of adding an outdoor living structure to your property is that it increases the amount of livable space to your home. Outdoor rooms are becoming increasingly popular and are often used in multiples ways: a living room complete with couches, dining areas, outdoor kitchens, etc. The possibilities are endless when it comes to outdoor living spaces.
You can define different spaces of your outdoor structures in numerous ways, but one of our favorites is the pergola. Seen here to the left, a pergola is shade structure that can be added to new or existing projects.
Pergolas make a dramatic addition to any outdoor living area, creating the feel of a true room at the fraction of the cost of a sunroom or screened porch. Pergola designs vary in size, shape and finish. A fan or triangle pergola may work better for your backyard than the more commonly used square or rectangle pergola. At Archadeck, we work with our clients to not only make sure their new pergola complements their home seamlessly but also that it works well with how they are going to use their space. If the space is going to be used for dining, do you need to include an overhead light? Do you need a fan to combat the summer heat? No problem, these are both easily incorporated to make your space work for you.
Some Archadeck clients are opting to include awnings or louvered roofs to their pergolas for increased shade and definition. A louvered roof gives the homeowner the ability to let sun stream into the space or close it off for a more porch-like feel if wanted. With numerous options to consider, pergolas offer a lot of versatility that other structures don’t.