Getting the most from this glorious climate and the scenery where we are fortunate to live is a story that, for most people, unfolds over a period of years. If we grew up here, we might catch on quicker, and yet sometimes it is the experience of moving here from up north that opens our eyes even sooner. This realization is that a lot of what we enjoy about life can be even more fun outdoors.

Everything from life’s landmark celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations to an everyday family meal – goes even better, becomes even more memorable outdoors. What we see now more than ever is that it would be a good idea not to wait any longer to begin planning your outdoor room.

All the Way Outdoors

Patios, porches, and decks have come to be expected from a home in the South, and especially along the coastal Lowcountry. More and more, our outdoor spaces have become more capable, more fully furnished, more like places where we want to spend more time. This is a natural evolution, and it goes a long way back.

An advertisement from a hundred years ago gave us a clue how long this love affair with outdoor living has been going on: It was a picture of a Victorian porch with an oriental rug right there on the floor outdoors. People treated that porch as an extension of their home, rather than a shelter in their yard. It’s time to take that lesson to heart.

All the Things You Need

The design elements that today put a full-grown outdoor room right within your reach include retractable awnings or motorized pergolas for variable shade overhead, motorized blinds for controlling the degree of privacy and breeze, and kitchen ranges, sinks, and cupboards that make carrying things in and out of the house a thing of the past.

Going from a gas grill and a cooler to possibly a wet bar, to an outdoor room where you’ll be comfortable any time of day, and where you’ll be proud to welcome your friends calls for the same kind of design and planning you would engage for any other room of the house. Most folks find this is an even greater pleasure to plan because nature’s beauty is the backdrop.

The Elements You Control

Like a painter’s palette, the choices you make for your outdoor room are yours to blend, arriving at a space that says and does just what you desire. First choice, for many, is where to site your outdoor room. The existing location of a patio, deck, or porch may or may not be the exposure that works best for you, as you consider the time of day, position of the sun, and the view that you have in mind. Defining the floor area comes next, because even without walls, the space itself is the canvas on which your vision will appear.

Now comes the nature of the enclosure that will further give life to your outdoor space. Never have these decisions offered so many ways of suggesting, rather than defining, the borders between home and nature. Lighting, heating, and furniture are as much a part of today’s outdoor room as any room indoors. All together, these decisions include how many hours of the day and how many months of the year are yours to enjoy. And never have so many practical approaches to cooking and storage been available for your selection.

Just as we find with any home design process, the best beginning is a conversation. Let’s get together and talk about making the outdoors a part of your home you can enjoy whenever it calls to you. The possibilities are exciting, and the time to begin is now.