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Popular Trends in Sunrooms and Patios

Sunrooms and patios

Whether you live in an area with brutal winters or a balmy, tropical paradise, anybody can enjoy a sunroom or patio. These outdoor living spaces add a great deal of enjoyment to a home, as well as adding to its resale value if you decide to sell.

Patios are classic places for backyard barbecues, flower gardens, and simple relaxation. From the elaborate to the classic, there's a sunroom or patio to fit every taste and every budget. Here we'll review some of the most popular, both in design and in construction materials.

Sunrooms

A sunroom is a bit like a cross between an enclosed porch and a greenhouse. These structures are very versatile, and can be built as free-standing structures or attached to virtually any portion of your home. Enclosing an existing front porch is a classic and enduringly popular way of creating a sunroom.

These structures are ideal for those who live in more brisk climates, because they create an outdoor living space which can be used year-round, even if the temperatures plummet. Before you build, ensure that the area will be adequately heated if you plan to use it in colder months. You also have the option of not routing heat to the sunroom, and using it as a three-season structure.

In addition to the enclosed porch, popular current sunroom designs include conservatories, enclosed pergolas, elongated greenhouse-style structures and simple octagon-shaped structures which are commonly attached directly to a home.

Wood, metal and composite materials can all make an excellent sunroom. As always, your budget and climate are determining factors. Many experts feel that quality windows and weatherproofing are two of the most essential elements in constructing a sunroom that will last and provide you with year-round comfort. After all, if you plan on your sunroom being a usable living space during cold weather, you don't want icy drafts ruining your enjoyment!

A sunroom is a much more involved construction project than a patio, in most cases. You'll need to design the outside and the inside. Most homeowners want a sunroom that matches their home, if it's attached directly to the house itself. In a free-standing structure, you have more choices. Consider flooring, for which you have many different options. Tile, composite or hardwood floors, or low-pile, easy-care carpeting are the most popular choices.

Patios

A modern patio is not the weedy section of cracked concrete that most of us grew up with. Today's patios are outdoor living spaces. They can still be extremely simple, however. A simple block of poured concrete can still offer years of enjoyment if planned and decorated to your individual tastes. Most homeowners today are looking to add an outdoor room, however, and so much more planning goes into the majority of current patios.

Traditionally, a patio extends from a back or side door. However, if your space doesn't' allow for this, you can easily construct a patio in any area of your yard. The positioning is not nearly as important as the materials and features.

It's important to remember that the first step in physically constructing a patio is excavating the area to ensure that it's level. You don't want your table tipping over in the middle of your first outdoor party! Once the area is dug, gravel is poured in and then topped with sand. This creates a very stable base for whatever your patio flooring might be.

When it comes to materials, the choices are endless. Poured concrete is a bit hard on the eyes. However, new techniques such as stamped concrete (which creates a textured pattern) or pavers (decorative concrete slabs) offer low-cost options for this traditional material. A growing number of homeowners are "going green" and using materials that allow for proper drainage. This can be as simple as spacing pavers a few inches apart and filling the gaps with gravel.

Enclosing part of a patio, or erecting a privacy wall, is another very popular trend. These structures provide some shelter from the elements and prevent nosy neighbors from peeking at your backyard parties. There's no need for elaborate design; a simple panel of an attractive hardwood or laminate will do just fine.

Plan out your design before you begin, to ensure that you can fit everything on the patio once it's finished. A built-in grill is a very popular trend, but these structures require some expertise and are best installed by a professional. They're also very large, and require special planning. Sketch out room for a table, lounge chairs, and anything else that you want to place on the level portion of your patio to ensure a comfortable area that doesn't feel cramped or crowded.

While technically not part of the patio itself, garden pathways and water feature are two very popular trends which can add a great deal of eye appeal. Pathways can be constructed very simply out of flagstones or stamped concrete pavers, or they can be created by removing grass and laying down gravel or mulch in its place. A water feature can be a man-made pond or a simple fountain. No matter how elaborate your water feature might be, the sound of water, and the wildlife it attracts, will be welcome additions to your outdoor activities.

Finding Help

Depending on your own level of expertise and the degree of danger involved in your project, you may require the assistance of a professional for all or part of your sunroom or patio construction. Seek out builders who have experience with outdoor structures, and who have a good knowledge of the local climate. As always, licensing and insurance are musts, and good references can speak volumes about a potential hire.

An outdoor living space can greatly enhance your enjoyment of your home, while adding valuable new livable space where there was once only grass! Whether you opt for an elaborate, fully-furnished sunroom or a simple concrete patio, your outdoor structure, if properly constructed, is sure to give you years of enjoyment.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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