One of the popular trends in home-building at the moment is transforming an outdoor area into an extension of a home’s living space. This trend is not that surprising: more and more Americans turn to the great outdoors as a way to relieve stress from their everyday lives. With nature comes many therapeutic benefits, and it makes sense that people would want to incorporate that into their homes. Some surveys report that as many as 70% of U.S. homes now have outdoor living spaces.


If you’re looking to improve your home value, or simply need a respite from your daily grind, here are a few things to keep in mind when renovating:


Building Permits

Depending on your neighborhood, there are building codes to consider when creating an outdoor room. If applicable, one’s Home Owners Association might have specific restrictions to adhere to, on top of that. To save yourself any potential headaches down the line after you’ve begun to optimize your outdoor space, check out zoning regulations and your HOA guidelines—the last thing you want is a notice saying that your privacy screens are too tall, too short, or too close to your neighbor’s property.


Elemental Protection

It’s great being able to eat dinner outside on a temperate summer evening, but it’s a lot harder to do that when nothing is in place to protect you from a sudden thunderstorm. Consider your local climate: if it’s frequently hot and sunny, for instance, you may benefit from building a shaded area where you can relax without fear of sunburn. Similarly, if it rains often, consider adding an awning to keep the weather at bay. Regardless, a covering allows for more frequent enjoyment of the space, protecting you from situations that may otherwise force you to retreat inside. After all, an outdoor living space is wonderful, but it’s even better when you can enjoy it in all the elements.


A Heat Source

Not only will a fireplace or fire pit offer you more time to enjoy your outdoor living space, it also offers a beautiful focal point to tie the space together. With a source of heat, the party doesn’t need to stop once the sun or temperature drops! Of course, you’ll need to consider the electrical work needed to install a new outdoor heat source and to keep it running. But, if that means you’ll be able to spend more time out enjoying your new patio, it’ll definitely be worth it.


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