Our crystal ball is showing a promising trend toward outdoor “rooms.” While that market has yet to explode in the Northern Virginia and Mid-Atlantic states, more homeowners are asking custom remodelers for “yardscapes” similar to what’s popular in the south. These might be walls of windows, outdoor seating or full outdoor rooms. The 2013 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey released by the American Society of Landscape Architects rated outdoor living spaces such as kitchens and entertainment areas among the top most popular design elements for 2013, with a 94.5 percent rating.
While fire pits and patios are still popular, homeowners are taking it steps further with actual outdoor barbeque courtyards and outdoor kitchens. They range from open areas to pergolas to complete enclosures – anything that extends the indoors outside. In many instances the structures give shelter while combining the elements of both outdoor gardens and indoor furnishings. Use of natural stone for walls and fireplaces keeps the elements of nature in the forefront. Glass windows and doors allow the “yardscapes” to be enjoyed from inside.
These outdoor rooms can also be energy efficient and “green.” It’s easy for a good custom builder to do with tightly sealed windows and doors and building to exceed standard code. These outdoor additions are also designed for light and heat efficiency with windows letting in sunshine during cooler times of the year, and the outdoor structure itself creating shade with overhangs and cross-ventilation for the warmer times.