White Flower Farm Photo
Spring equinox starts on March 20th and the daffodils, crocuses and lilies are starting to sprout in my yard. Like most of us, I can’t wait to enjoy the outdoors with the warm breezes and the fresh smell of spring!
A growing number of homeowners are discovering ways to enhance their lifestyles year round by remodeling for outdoor living. Outdoor living is a burgeoning trend, and experts agree that a defined outdoor living space can represent up to 30 percent of a home’s value. Outdoor areas expand on entertaining space for family and friends, give the kids a safe place to play and add the feeling of a peaceful retreat right in your own backyard. As we all welcome spring with relief and anticipation, here we share some ideas for improving your outdoor living space to take full advantage of the season.
If you want to maximize the amount of space you have to work with, consider a system placed underneath your deck to create a clean and dry living space. A ceiling placed underneath your deck structure captures rain and debris falling through the deck boards and sends it to the rain gutters and spouts. A formerly dark, damp and under-used space is transformed into an environment that expands your living area into the outdoors. What will you use the new space for? An entertainment area with media and a hot tub, a screened-in porch, or an intimate dining area are just some ideas.
Here are some things to consider when planning for such a system. Most importantly, it has to be able to handle any potential ice loads from the typical Connecticut winter. Second, a good system needs to keep debris moving, as trapped debris that falls through deck boards will act like a sponge and keep wood from drying properly. And, don’t forget good ventilation to prevent stagnant air, which will keep wood from drying and age your deck prematurely.
Now that you are spending more time outdoors enjoying the welcoming weather, take a good look at the details of your surroundings. Careful attention to landscaping can significantly increase a home’s value, while landscaping mistakes detract from value.
A gurgling water fountain brings serenity to your outdoor environment, along with attracting the season’s bright feathered visitors. Regardless the size of your backyard area, the use of water, whether in swimming pools, spas, fountains, ponds, or even waterfalls adds a whole new dimension to your outdoor living experience.>
Outdoor furniture, often placed in storage or exposed to the elements, should be carefully cleaned at the beginning of each spring. For most metal tables and chairs, including those produced of steel, cast aluminum or aluminum, mild soap and water is the best choice for safe cleaning. To maintain the frame finish, some experts recommend a coat of clear liquid car wax once a year.
If you don’t have an outdoor fireplace, a freestanding or tabletop patio heater is an easy way to extend the seasonal life of your space. If you are a music lover, consider enhancing your outdoor experience with a new sound system. Shield yourself from the elements and add privacy with the creative use of trellises, hedges, awnings, umbrellas, gazebos, pergolas, fences and landscaping options.