Get ready to spend more time outside! – 9 Backyard Additions for Better Outdoor Living – Bob Vila

outdoor living

The key to creating an outdoor space that you’ll want to use all the time—by day and night, in all kinds of weather—is a sturdy, attractive little structure to serve as your home-close-to-home. At its most basic, a shed provides shelter, storage, work surfaces, and seating; beyond that, you can customize it to suit your interests.

Whether you decide to create a chic, comfy “she shed,” an awesome adjunct to your grill, a well-equipped workshop, or a playhouse for the kids, it’s important to start with a shed that’s soundly built of top-quality materials and sits on a solid foundation. Look to LP® Outdoor Building Solutions® for the goods—from LP ProStruct® Flooring with SmartFinish®, the only flooring product specifically warranted for shed use, to reflective LP ProStruct® Roof Sheathing with SilverTech® that brightens the shed’s interior while keeping it comfortable. And, thanks to the company’s innovative SmartGuard® treatment process, you can count on its siding and flooring to boast extra strength, durability, and resistance to fungal decay and termites.

This content was originally published here.

How We Made Our Outdoor Living Spaces Low Maintenance- The Patio & Deck Makeover – Shine Your Light

outdoor living

This post is in partnership with Raymour & Flanigan, who I am proud to work with for their quality, customer service and community care!
All opinions about this company and their products are 100% my own.

Summers for us right now mean two of our kids are home from college, our nest is full again, and there are tons of friends and family around. Nothing makes me happier than a warm night with friends, food, music and laughter around the fire, the kids throwing the football around, playing corn hole or laying on the trampoline looking at the stars!! These sweet, ordinary, often unplanned times are what life is all about and I know we will look back on them with such fondness through the years.

Even though all through the winter we can’t wait for warmer weather, every spring Mark’s and my enthusiasm are tempered with ALL THE THINGS we have to do outside before we can relax out there – mow the lawn, clean out the gardens, mulch and plant flowers. We are grateful for our home but sometimes it can feel like endless work! Can you relate? Before you can enjoy, you have a million projects to tackle first? Add to our list the 30+ year old rotting deck that needed boards replaced just to be able to get to our grille safely, and the teak table and chairs that needed to be scrubbed and oiled at the beginning of every summer. Since replacing our deck this year became a MUST with one board after another rotting right through….

….this time around we decided to make it as low maintenance as possible and went with Trex composite decking that has a 25 year warranty and can stand up to our harsh New England winters and hot summers better than natural wood. What a difference!!

As much as we love the look of natural wood, we decided it was also time to say goodbye to our teak table and chairs that I had scrubbed and sealed every summer for years, and find something we could set up at the beginning of the warm weather and just enjoy from Day 1. 

I shared a bit about our new table, chairs and benches from Raymour & Flanigan last week when my rhododendrons were in bloom and we had brunch out here for Hannah’s birthday. They are easy to set up, easy for me to move around on the deck, neutral AND the exact style I wanted, we LOVE them! 

The table and benches are lightweight aluminum but the finish on them is so pretty, just like a driftwood-stained wood. (Holy pollen by the way! I had just hosed off the deck and furniture the morning I took these pictures and when I was editing I could see it had a fresh coat already!)

I opted to go with woven resin wicker armchairs for the ends and these are comfy for lounging after dinner. The chairs and benches came with cushions and I added a couple throw pillows for some color.

The tiled table top is pretty and easy to wipe down.

Also majorly noteworthy about all these pieces – they are all from the Raymour & Flanigan outlet online! There are other pieces from this line that can be bought as a set but I pieced together what we wanted (benches were a must for squeezing lots of people around here in the summer!)

Now onto the patio!

Our deck overlooks our patio and fire pit, and this area got some new low-maintenance seating too! If you’re new here, this is what the view looked like when we moved in – very dark, with tons of trees right up to the deck and a large fenced-in pen for dogs to one side.

We had a bunch of huge pine trees taken down, brought in loam, planted grass and then three summers ago I installed a pea stone patio and built a stone veneered fire pit.

Adding the Adirondack chairs this year was what I had always envisioned for this space and they are perfect here!

A year or two ago I wrote about my search for chairs for this patio and a few of you mentioned that going with a composite material was a total game changer for you, so I took your advice! These chairs are made of a heavy material that is similar to the Trex decking, and won’t warp, rot or need painting through the years! 

At first I thought “composite” Adirondack chairs were the stackable plastic ones you can buy at the hardware store. Those are just fine if you have them by the way, but we were looking for something heavy duty that could withstand the elements for years. These are solid and so comfortable! And it makes my heart beyond happy to see my people hanging out here together!!!

Over the summer this garden of hostas, tiger lillies and seagrass against the house, and the ornamental grasses and spirea I planted around the patio, will all grow tall and fill in, making this area feel a bit more like an outdoor room (in fact I took down the flower boxes that were under those four windows because they eventually get eclipsed by all the plantings in here!). My clematis on the trellis I just built is starting to bounce back from being moved so that will fill up this wall with greenery too.

This fall or next spring we’re planning on having a mature river birch tree or pear/cherry/apple tree that flowers planted in the garden bed around the patio that will grow and give this area some dappled sunlight and shade.

I picked up a couple of these pretty, soft chenille throws this year…..

….and I could not resist this “picnic blanket” too – I’m such a sucker for blue and white stripes!

Blankets, summer cocktails, stacks of wood and s’mores…..what else could we need for an evening by the fire?

Have you ever had Ghirardelli chocolates (little blue packs) in s’mores by the way? I buy the variety pack but next time I have to hide the caramel ones from my kids because they devour them. Those are my favorites!

One last peek of this area when the sun goes down – that’s when the real magic of an outdoor space comes alive! We haven’t put up string lights yet this year but I picked up these cute woven candle holders with glass inserts and put citronella candles in them. They were so pretty as the day’s light faded away! 

I’m obsessed with the woven texture and pretty light they give off, as well as my little hydrangeas that I picked up for only $20 each and put them in pots after reading this post by Jessica at Four Generations One Roof. I’ll plant them in the early fall when the weather cools off and they are done flowering. 

We love our whole outdoor space from the deck to the patio where we will spend a ton of family time this summer and in the years to come. Even though it’s taken years it has been so gratifying to see our visions for this house and yard unfold little by little!


• ONE • Use building materials that can withstand your climate. In New England, synthetic materials are far more durable than wood for freezing cold winters, ice and snow as well as summer heat that can be into the 90s. 

• TWO • Consider all-weather furniture that doesn’t need annual staining or sealing. Natural teak and other woods are beautiful and classic but how much time or money do you want to put into maintaining them every year? With so many pretty all-weather furniture sets to choose from, you’re not really giving up a lot to go with a composite material.

• THREE • If you’re installing a pea stone patio, I highly recommend at least one but preferably two layers of weed-blocking landscape fabric under the stone! You can read more about the installation of our pea stone, and what I learned from the experts, right here. Who needs to spend their summer picking weeds? Not us!

• FOUR • While there are so many beautiful annual plants out there, choosing perennials that will come back year after year is great investment of both your money and time. This year I’m opting to use hydrangea plants in pots and hopefully next year they will be adding color to my gardens. Choose perennials that work well in your lighting situation (full or partial sun or shade) and then put it in the ground in the early fall while the soil is still relatively warm. Read more about when to plant here.

Many thanks to Raymour & Flanigan
for collaborating with me to share some of their outdoor furniture and help me create a low maintenance outdoor living area that we can enjoy through the seasons! Although I did check out all the outdoor furniture in their showroom, I truly felt comfortable ordering online from the Raymour & Flanigan outlet after seeing the quality of their furniture first hand. For in-stock items Raymour offers free delivery in 3 days or less, 7 days a week, with no assembly required. Everyone at this this company, from the associates in the showrooms to the delivery guys, couldn’t be nicer and more accommodating and I love that with their huge inventory, there are lots of different price points and something for everyone.

These are some of the products we used for our outdoors spaces (and love them so much we went back and bought another piece for the deck!)

Cheers to low maintenance fun in the sun this summer!! If you have any questions about our new furniture or decking let me know, I’m happy to help!

This week is all about reveals!! Hint hint….there’s another one you’ve all been waiting for coming at the end of the week ? 

This content was originally published here.

Best Outdoor Living Ideas for Every Part of the Country

outdoor living

No matter whether you live in sunny California, the Deep South or the Northeast, it’s fun to be outside when the weather is nice. If you’ve been dreaming of spending more quality time enjoying nature – or just enjoying your backyard – we put together a list of things you can do to enhance your home’s outdoor living space so you can enjoy every moment.

Keep reading to see our top ideas that will get you started on re-imagining your home’s outdoor spaces.

Outdoor Structures

Create a built-in activity zone to help balance busy work schedules with much-needed family and relaxation time.

Gazebo—add a luxurious outdoor room that provides protection from the elements while you’re cooking, dining, or just relaxing. Locate it near a pool, hide it in the landscaping, or connect it to your deck.

Pergola—this open structure offers a variety of options to provide privacy, create a focal point, or use as a transition point. Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to your home with columns and support beams. Add sheer draperies for shading a luxurious spa, a dining table and chairs for family gatherings, or set up a play area where your child’s sensitive skin can be protected while their imagination runs wild.

Arbor—this decorative landscaping structure can be used to separate outdoor elements or the framework for a garden seat. Add some vines to blend with other greenery or create a unique texture.

All Decked Out

With new maintenance-free building materials available, custom backyard decks are more popular than ever. Large or small, decks can be used to create a relaxing retreat, an enjoyable entertainment venue, a way to utilize your entire property, and even increase your home’s resale value.

Choose from low-cost pressure treated lumber, elegant and durable tropical hardwoods, time-tested cedar or redwood, maintenance-free composites, or Ipe hardwood that’s designed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions and keep it looking great year after year.

The possibilities are endless—layout as a single or multi-level structure; add built-in components like benches, railings, bars, planters, lighting, and cabinets; set up designated areas for cooking, dining, relaxing, or entertaining.

Pave the Way

Ground-level, custom-designed patios are trending across the country for their versatility and durability. Paver stones, flagstone, brick, fieldstone, and textured concrete come in a wide selection of colors and textures to match your unique tastes.

Don’t be afraid to let your inner architect shine by fashioning a multi-level patio that defines the outdoor kitchen from the dining area. Build up a vertical element with coordinating materials—low cobblestone dividers, seats, and planters to start.

Hard surfaces can be warmed up with upholstered patio furniture, a decorative area rug, and brightly colored pillows or umbrellas. Throw in a few potted, flowering plants and you won’t ever want to go inside.

Hot, Hot, Hot

Homeowners living in the northeast rank fire pits and backyard fireplaces among the most-desired features on their home improvement wish lists. It can be an inexpensive portable style or a permanent element in your design that brings people of all ages together during all seasons.

Keep your family safe by building your fire pit into a stone patio or add screening to stop stray sparks from escaping. Then it’s time to break out the marshmallows and get ready for a relaxing evening under the stars.

Now You’re Cooking

Don’t forget to plan a space for your BBQ grill. Fully equipped outdoor kitchens are every aspiring chef’s ultimate dream. Make sure to include zoned areas for food preparation, staging, and cooking.

Extras you might also want to consider to enhance your backyard retreat are:

  • Bar area
  • Refrigerator
  • Rotisserie burner
  • Pizza oven
  • Concrete or granite countertops
  • Drop-in sink with high-neck faucet
  • Dishwasher

Be careful – you may never want to cook inside again!

Nature’s Bounty

You’ve probably spent some time planting and maintaining your front yard landscaping, and while that’s an excellent way to add curb appeal to your home, you shouldn’t ignore the backyard.

Imagine your own backyard oasis with a kaleidoscope of perennials, annuals, flowering shrubs, and water features to enhance your outdoor living space. Fountains, ponds, and water gardens are among the most popular trends for their affordability, accessibility, and environmentally friendly approach.

Don’t worry if you’ve got a small yard or urban property, you can have some fun with nature too. Consider a green roof garden, decorative pots with tall ornamental grasses as a room separator, or a pergola covered in lush vines and hanging planters to offer an intimate sanctuary in your city setting.

Do you love fresh fruits and vegetables but don’t think you have the time or space to grow your own? Think again. Plenty of weekend gardeners are creating blended gardens that include edible and ornamental plants. This unique concept lets you enjoy the convenience of city living while your taste buds savor flavors only nature can provide.

Hide in Plain Sight

Every backyard living space seems to accumulate an endless amount of equipment and accessories that need to be organized and hidden away. A garden or storage shed can provide the perfect home for all that patio furniture, pool toys, landscape equipment, tools, and every other outdoor gadget.

Pre-built sheds come in all sizes, shapes, styles, and price ranges. Look for something that has double doors and a window or two to let in some natural light. If you want something specially designed, you can opt for a custom-built shed that will incorporate every feature you’ll need.

By adding even a few of these outdoor upgrades to your home, you’ll create the perfect destination for family fun and entertaining. You don’t need a giant yard or budget to make your space amazing. You only need a little inspiration and imagination to be on your way to creating the best outdoor retreat ever.

This content was originally published here.

Creating a Cozy and Comfortable Outdoor Living Room for Summer Nights

outdoor living

Sponsored Content: A huge thank you to Article for providing me with the furniture for this post. All opinions are my own. Scroll down to the end of this post for a very special giveaway!

The following is the story of how an online furniture shopping spree inspired me to create a cozy outdoor living room in my garden. Now my family and I are spending these long summer evenings curled up in homey comfort while ensconced in nature outdoors.

About Article

The folks at Article started a modern online furniture store so they can bring great designs directly from designers and manufacturers while keeping the customer’s prices low. The lack of brick-and-mortar retail stores saves you money, but there has to be a trust factor in online shopping, and that can be hard with large purchases like furniture. To help with that, I’ll share my experience with Article as a first-time online furniture shopper.

I first scrolled through the outdoor collection looking for something to add to my backyard and found the Ora Beach Sand Basket Chair and Sofa. Love! Article has expanded its outdoor collection, which includes a range of outdoor sofas that look so good you could use them indoors or out. The delivery was scheduled via phone by a local moving company who unpacked and set up all the furniture for me, which is great because the sofa is heavy!

Usually online purchases underwhelm me, but this time it was different. When the furniture arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. I mean, look at those wood legs! And the cushion fabric is both durable and water resistant for outdoor use.

I also ordered two Balla Mushroom Sheepskin pillows from the indoor collection and love how they add warmth and texture to the outdoors. The pillows were larger than I expected them to be and one has curly wool while the other has more straight wool. I didn’t expect them to be different, but as it turns out I like that they look like a coordinating set.

As I unpacked all of my new stuff, the plump cushions of the couch and chair, the luxurious softness of the sheepskin pillows, and the calming neutral tones and variations in texture of all of the pieces made me think of the Danish concept of hygge, which celebrates cozy furnishings and creating a quiet, peaceful oasis within the home.

So I thought, why not make an outdoor hygge retreat? The Article items inspired me to put together a whole outdoor living room with little touches that make everything a little warmer, comfier, and more luxurious so I can really enjoy these long summer nights outside.

As a first-time online furniture shopper, I learned that you will still be surprised by online purchases, but if you shop somewhere you trust, like Article, then it will be a great surprise that can even inspire you in ways you didn’t expect.  Read on to see how I put it all together, and then I have a surprise for you at the end of this post (HINT: I’m giving something away!).

There is nothing better at the end of a long summer day than cozying up in an outdoor lounge to sip a cool drink and enjoy the breezes. As the summer winds down, the evenings can start to become cooler and my new outdoor living room has all the elements of warmth and comfort that speak to summer nights. Read on for five easy ways to inject a little summer hygge into your life this season!

“Hygge,” the Danish concept that roughly translates to “coziness,” is all about adding warmth and comfort to daily life. It’s not a word that gets much play in the summertime, but hygge is just as beneficial during the hot, sunny months as the cold, dark ones.

5 Ways to Add Hygge to Your Summer Nights

Furnish the Outdoors like a Living Room.

Hygge is all about making the home into a space of comfort and happiness, and in the warmest months we have the opportunity to extend that hominess to the outdoors. The weather is dry, the nights are warm, and you’re probably spending a ton of time outdoors anyway, so go ahead and create an outdoor living room! The Ora Sand Basket Chair and Sofa set are sturdy and cushy, almost like indoor furniture. They are the perfect base for my summer hygge sanctuary. Set up your outdoor furniture somewhere with a natural backdrop. I chose to place mine in front of my espalier apple tree which gives me a peaceful view and fresh apples to snack on if the mood strikes.

Get Cozy with Soft Blankets and Plush Pillows.

I love a soft throw blanket and this chunky knit wool is just the thing to snuggle up under.

The Balla Mushroom sheepskin pillows add texture and coziness to the hammock chair. They are so soft and luxurious and add the perfect amount of warmth to a summer night. As you can see, my son is a big fan.

The colorful pillows are made with photographs of flowers from my garden – a pink Masterwort (Astrantia) and a coral double coneflower (Echinacea). I photographed the flowers in a light box with a macro lens to pull out all the details, then I had them printed on a soft linen/cotton blend fabric and sewn into pillows. The pillow form is a puffy down in a size bigger than the pillow to make it really poufy (the pillowcase is 18”x 18” and the pillow form is 20”x 20”). I bring these in at night and when it’s raining, but they are machine washable if they get a bit dirty.

Keep Bugs at Bay.

Mosquito bites are decidedly un-hygge. Protect your outdoor evening oasis from bugs by placing DIY citronella candles around the perimeter. You can see how to make citronella candles here. I originally made these citronella candles in cans back in 2011. They got rusty and I fell in love with the look of the rust. When the original candles were finished, I made new candles in them and they look fab!

Add Ambiance and Warmth with Outdoor Lighting.

The candles also add warm flickering light. Candles, lanterns, and fairy lights are all a big part of hygge as they add a sense of warmth and symbolize a connection to the light within. Lighting up the night is also very practical because it allows you to extend those luxurious summer evenings as late as you like. I love the warm glow of my candles and rechargeable camping lantern.

Use Warm Tones like Terracotta, Copper, and Coral.

I love how cool the Beach Sand color of the Ora chair and sofa are, but I also wanted to balance them with the warm light of summer. Warm colors are relaxing and inviting, so try to add a few accents to an otherwise neutral color scheme. The terracotta pots of succulents are easy maintenance and work with the tone of the pillows.

I also like a metal cup to drink from when I’m outdoors, and these copper mugs have the same rosy + rusty tones as the other accents. Some people believe that drinking from a copper mug also helps to build your immunity. I’m not sure of the truth behind that, but I think that the cups look beautiful and my immunity can use any help it can get as we start moving into fall.

We only get so many long, warm nights every summer, so make the most of it! Get outside, light some candles, snuggle under a blanket, and breathe in the fresh summer air. Let me know your favorite way to hygge in the comments section below.

Giveaway Time!

I’d like to send a little of my garden to you! Leave a comment on this post telling me how you find comfort in the summer months and I’ll randomly choose one of them to receive one of the botanical pillows from my Etsy ShopTo enter, simply leave a comment on this post by August 14, 2018. Be sure you are also signed up for our newsletter to make sure we have your permission to email the winner. You’ll get news and special offers we don’t share anywhere else. This contest is open to residents of the continental US and Canada, except Quebec and where prohibited.

5 ways to hygge in the summer

This content was originally published here.

Striking modern home in East Hampton expressing indoor-outdoor living

outdoor living

This striking modern home was designed by Zone 4 Architects in collaboration with builders Design Development, located in the East Hampton hamlet of Wainscott, New York. Boasting 6,000 square feet of indoor living space, there is also an additional 3,000 square feet of integrated indoor/outdoor living — with every detail thought out. DMS Interiors, was responsible for the interior design of this project, with lighting design by Robert Singer & Associates Inc.

This home begun with its humble origins as the modernization of an already existing home found at the edge of East Hampton. The residence then underwent a major transformation “into an all-inclusive statement of contemporary architecture and the embodiment of indoor-outdoor living for summertime living.” Yet, with its warm tones and clean lines, the house brings its owners a livability that is year-round.

Great attention was given to both the lighting and architecture at the exterior living spaces. Linear slot lighting harmonizes with the structured design and manicured landscape. Uplights and downlights are used in conjunction with sculptural and art elements, creating points of interest with intense highlights and shadows. Completely lamped with LED sources, this remodel greatly reduced its energy consumption with custom details that accentuate the updated architectural forms. A fully integrated control system assists with energy savings and ease of use.

What We Love: The project team did a fabulous job of creating a striking modern home that makes full use of its environment. Fully optimizing indoor-outdoor living, this home can be enjoyed by family and guests throughout the summer months. We are especially loving the outdoor living spaces, the swimming pool looks ultra-inviting, with plenty of space for cooking and lounging. We could imagine enjoying a summer vacationing in this outdoor oasis!… Readers, what are your thoughts on the overall design of this home. Would this be your idea of the ultimate dream house? Please tell us in the Comments!

Note: Have a look at another wonderful home tour that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Zone 4 Architects: Extraordinary modern-rustic home in Aspen by Zone 4 Architects.

Photos: Steve Mundinger

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BoHo, Minimalism Top Zillow’s 2019 Outdoor Living Trends – May 21, 2019

outdoor living

SEATTLE, May 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — It’s easier than ever to create an outdoor oasis that’s an extension of your home, and this summer’s biggest trend is creating a backyard space that is as comfortable as your indoor one.  Design styles like bright and bold BoHo and Scandinavian minimalism are heading outside, according to Zillow®’s 2019 Outdoor Living Trends Report.

“The lines have been blurred between what’s indoor-only and what you can use outside, which means it’s never been easier to create an outdoor space that’s cohesive with your indoor design,” says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow’s Design Expert and founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab.

2019’s Top 5 Outdoor Living Trends

Mixed Materials.  This summer, design elements that were once considered for indoor use only – brass, rope, textured upholstery and webbing – are being combined in new, unexpected ways for outdoor spaces. Chandeliers, soft rugs and cozy floor cushions are now popular for outside, and new fabric options now include outdoor-safe velvets, leathers and nubby chenilles. 

Minimalism to the Max. Scandinavian minimalist design, beloved by social media, is now showing up in outdoor furnishings. Lounge chairs, loveseats and bistro tables are trending this summer in lightweight, powder-coated aluminum.  Make it Pinterest-worthy with neutrals like black, white, grey or mix-and-match with a natural material like teak. 

Some Like it Hot. This summer it’s all about elevated outdoor spaces that feel as stylish, comfortable and functional as interiors – with all the amenities.  Fire features and outdoor kitchens continue to be extremely popular, providing a sense of “indoor cozy.”  Beyond adding ambiance, the latest Zillow research found home listings mentioning outdoor kitchens and outdoor fireplaces sold for significantly more than expected.

Pops of Color.  Splashes of bold color are brightening up neutral upholstered furnishings.  This summer’s top color trend of citrus bright oranges, reds, yellows and pinks are lively and vibrant outside. Think about adding a touch of Living Coral, Pantone’s Color of the Year, or play with newly trending emerald green in your accessories.

Go Green Outside.  Eco-conscious landscaping, outdoor furnishings and fixtures have gained traction this year. Living walls make a design statement and reduce your carbon footprint, and solar-powered LED accent lights provide upgraded illumination without complex wiring or tricky installation.  When it comes time to sell, listings mentioning outdoor lighting were associated with homes selling for 19 percent more than expected.  

Outdoor Trends to Leave Behind in 2019
Matching Patio Sets.  With more options than ever, there’s no need to rely on matching patio sets for a pulled-together look.  Instead, curated, eclectic outdoor spaces continue to rise in popularity.  Own a patio set?  Add mix and match multi-patterned outdoor pillows, a textured ottoman and a vintage rattan side table for a unique look. 

Rustic Farmhouse.  Weathered barnwood dining tables and industrial metal chairs are getting a 2019 makeover with a sleeker combination of teak and aluminum.  Take your existing farm table and give it an upgrade with a set of bright, cheery mesh aluminum dining chairs. 

Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with great real estate professionals. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow Group’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists, data analysts, applied scientists and engineers produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.


This content was originally published here.

How to Build an Outdoor Living Room – Feedster

outdoor living

There’s nothing quite like kicking back on your own Patio—until the sun starts cooking you or the rain begins to fall. But you can easily double your time in the great outdoors with this beautiful pavilion. Just think—no more rainouts during your next barbecue! And with a roof, you can relax on dry, clean, comfortable, padded furniture, which just can’t stand up to the elements on an open patio. All in all, you can give your patio the feel and function of an outdoor living room. But the best part is, this pavilion will add real beauty and value to your home by dressing up that lonely, underused space.

While this outdoor living room design may look complicated to the novice carpenter, don’t be intimidated. If you have the basic hand power tools, can handle a circular saw and have a bit of remodeling experience, you have the moxie to pull off this project. We’ll show you some scribe-it, nail-it-up and cut-it-in-place techniques that greatly simplify the tough spots and speed up the project. In fact, another carpenter and I built the basic structure in three leisurely days and spent a fourth day finishing the decorative column skirts. Give yourself and a helper about twice as long and you may finish faster than you think.

Besides a carpenter’s apron outfitted with the basic hand tools, all you need are a 4-ft. level, a circular saw, a jigsaw and posthole digging tools. But consider renting a power nailer for a day to save time and effort for the massive job of nailing down the roof decking.

Comparing the before and after photos, you can see that in addition to building the pavilion, we did some major stonework and planting. Those improvements aside, our total materials bill was roughly $4,000.

Note: A complete Materials List is available as a pdf in Additional Information below.

Figure A: Roof Assembly

This front view shows the basics of the patio roof. Make a scale drawing of the structure adapted to your own house before applying for a building permit.

Figure A is also available as a pdf in Additional Information below.

Sandwich framing and 2×6 tongue-and-groove decking construction

The design of this roof resembles traditional post-and-beam construction, but without the headaches of working with heavy, expensive timber and the tricky joinery that goes with it. The posts, beams, rafters and ceiling ties (see Figs. A and B) are built-in-place sandwiches of common 2×4, 2×6, 2×8 and 2×10 smooth cedar lumber. The center board of each sandwich is 2 in. narrower than the outer ones, which lends attractive shadow lines and architectural “heft” to the building.

This triple-thick assembly method makes the framing members very strong, which allows for longer spans and wider spacing between members. This technique allows you to overlap and lock all the pieces together for a very strong framework, easier nailing and tighter joints. And, by assembling beams in layers, they’re lighter to lift. Since the rafters are so beefy, you can space them 32 in. apart. But those wide spans call for a roof decking that can handle those spans. Tongue-and-groove 2×6 decking (Photo 18) fills the bill nicely because it’s very strong, reasonably priced and easy to install. It also looks great on the inside. You can let butt ends of the roof decking fall randomly throughout the roof; it’s not important that they splice over framing members. But the seams will look more polished if you use a block plane to carve a little chamfer on decking ends where two boards meet.

Figure B: Pilaster Assembly

The pilaster assembly is designed to float around the piers, allowing for movement due to freezing and thawing.

The cedar base trim will last longer and look better over time if you hold it an inch or so above patios to keep the wood dry.

Figure B is also available as a pdf in Additional Information below.

This flexible design is easy to customize
How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 1: Lay out the footprint

Assemble a rectangular template to mark the outer perimeter of the posts and beams. Use the dimensions from your plan and tack together 2x6s and a 2×8 ridge board. Square the template using the 6-8-10 squaring method shown. Nail 2x4s across the corners to keep the template square. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 2: Lay out the roof

Mock up the roof framing against the wall. Cut three 4-1/2- x 9-1/4-in. plywood rectangles to simulate the beams and ridge and use 2×6 rafter stock to lay out the rafters. Position the beam templates by drawing vertical lines on the siding with a 4-ft. level and a straight 2×4, using the perimeter template as a guide (Photo 1). Measure halfway between the templates and draw a vertical line to mark the center of the roof. Tack each 2×6 rafter to the siding with a couple of 16d nails crossing at the centerline. Tack the ridge template at the point where the rafters cross, keeping the top two corners even with the rafter tops.

Photo 3: Dig footings

Dig 12-in. diameter footing holes to frost depth and pour 6-in. concrete footings in the bottom (Fig. B). Then reposition the perimeter template precisely and recheck squareness. Nail the lower post assemblies together with 16d hot-dipped galvanized nails spaced every 4 in. Drop them onto the concrete footings. Then plumb and brace the posts in both directions and backfill the holes, packing the soil every few inches. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Close up

Toenail the assemblies to the template corners.

We give the basic measurements for the structure in Fig. A, but don’t treat them as a cutting list, because you’ll most likely have to adjust them to fit your own home. Adjusting sizes is easy. First you get the beams and posts laid out and in position, then you simply measure or scribe the rest of the elements for exact lengths or angles before cutting them to length and installing the parts. On your site, you may need to widen or deepen the structure to miss windows or doors on the house or bridge over existing patios.

You can “grow” the length or width of the roof as much as 2 ft. without compromising structural integrity and shrink it as much as you want. The roof lines can also be altered to miss wall obstructions. We had to steepen the roof slope on one side to miss the bay window you see in Photo 2. Under that window, the roof has a 7/12 slope (7 in. of vertical drop for every 12 in. of horizontal distance), while the other side has a 6/12 slope. At a minimum, you should try to have a 4/12 slope if you live in a snowy area. Ask your building inspector for minimum slopes for your area when you pick up the building permit. But remember that steeper pitches may call for longer rafters and more decking. You can figure out required material lengths when you go through the layout exercise we show in Photos 1 and 2.

The easy way to determine the shape and slope of your roof is to first lay out the “footprint” of the posts and beams using the dimensions we give you (Photo 1). Then use a 4-ft. level and a straight board to draw the beam locations on the walls. The height of the bottom of the beams should be at least 6 ft. 8 in. for “headbanging” clearance (Photo 2). Tack 4-1/2 x 9-1/4 in. beam templates cut from plywood to the wall to simulate beams. Then lay out the roof lines with two 2x6s tacked through the siding to be sure:

The rafter tails have a minimum of 6 ft. 8 in. of head clearance.
The roof has at least a 4/12 slope.
The windows, bays or other wall projections are spaced at least 5 in. above the rafters to leave room for flashing.

This is the time to make final adjustments to the roof slope and the post-and-beam locations. If everything seems OK, you can start digging your footings (Photo 3).

Foundation-grade posts and floating base skirts
How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 4: Add the slip forms

Cut and assemble two lower and upper slip forms (used for post trim later; Fig. B), then slip them over the posts and let them rest on the patio. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 5: Cut slots for the flashing and rafters

Trace around the beam templates and the bottom of the ridge templates (Photo 2) and pull them free. Mark the tops and ends of the rafters and remove them. Snap chalk lines 3 in. above the rafters to allow space for the decking and step flashing (Photo 20). Set the circular saw to cut just through the thickest part of the siding and cut out the 3-in. wide strip, leaving the sheathing intact. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 6: Cut in the ledger

Snap chalk lines between the tops and bottoms of the two beams and cut the ledger recess through the siding and sheathing. Cut one end of a 10-ft. 2×10 ledger to match the roof angle, hold it in place, and mark and cut it at the center point. Nail the ledger in place with two 16d galvanized casing nails into each wall stud, except for the studs on each side of the joist hanger position. Repeat for the other ledger half. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 7: Fasten the ledger

Bolt the ledger into the studs on each side of each joist hanger location with three evenly spaced 1/2 x 5-in. lag screws with washers. Nail triple 2×10 joist hangers to the ledger at each beam location with 1-1/2 in. galvanized joist hanger nails, then screw through the large hanger holes with 1/2 x 2-in. lag screws. (First drill 3/8-in. pilot holes for all lag screws.)

Photo 8: Level and mark the beams

Extend the posts with 2×4 and 2×6 cedar so that they project beyond the top of the ledger, nailing every 4 in. with 16d casing nails up to the beam height. Cut a 2×10 beam member to length and shape the end. Rest it in the joist hanger, level it and mark the height on the post. Cut only the post 2x6s at that height with your circular saw. Cut the center 2×4 9 in. higher (Fig. A).

Use .60 foundation-grade treated 2x4s and 2x6s for the lower post sections and the footings (Fig. B). You may have to special-order them, but the added longevity is worth the money and trouble. For the above-ground base skirt framing and sheathing, standard .40 treated material will work just fine.

The base skirts are designed to “float,” that is, slide up and down the fixed posts that they encase. That’s especially important when they rest on a slab or stone surface in cold regions where frost can lift patios when the ground freezes. The skirts can move up and down during freeze/thaw cycles, but the posts, which extend below frost depth, stay put—without lifting the entire structure. So when you frame and trim the pilaster base skirts, make sure everything fits loosely.

If the posts have to penetrate a concrete or stone surface, cut a 20- in. square hole for digging the footings (Photo 3). Use a circular saw with a diamond blade and don’t worry about making it pretty; the skirt will cover the hole. To prevent settling, just be sure to pack the soil well as you backfill around the posts.

Bracing as you build
How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 9: Add the ridge beam

Nail the outer 2×10 beams into the post’s center 2×4 with three 10d galvanized box nails and into the joist hanger with 1-1/2-in. joist hanger nails. Plumb and brace the posts as shown. Center and nail the two temporary ridge supports, one to the house and the other to the post braces. Cut, place and tack each ridge member in position atop the ridge supports, then recheck the ridge for level and center. Brace the ridge with a couple of 2x4s nailed to the ridge and each beam. Nail the ridge members together from both sides with 10d galvanized box nails.

Photo 10: Scribe the rafters

Cut an approximate 25-degree angle on the first 2×6 rafter and hold it in place against the ridge. Use a 2×4 to scribe the exact angle on the rafter. Use the rafter as a pattern to cut all the 2×6 rafters for that side. Repeat the process on the other side of the ridge. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 11: Attach rafters

Lay out the rafter positions on the beams and ridge as shown in Fig. A and toenail the rafters into the ridge with three 16d galvanized nails (where they’ll be hidden by the middle board of the “sandwich”). Sight down the beams to make sure they’re straight before installing the rafters. Straighten if necessary and hold them in place with braces until the rafters are on. Nail hurricane tie-down straps to the middle side of the rafters and to the inside of the beams with 1-1/2-in. galvanized joist hanger nails.

Photo 12: Construct the beams

Center and nail the two-piece middle 2×8 beam members to the 2x10s with alternating 10d nails spaced every 8 in. Then nail up the inner 2x10s with the same nailing pattern. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 13: Cut the ceiling ties

Push the 2×6 ceiling ties against the rafters and scribe the end cuts to match the underside of the rafters. Number them to avoid confusion. Cut a second 2×6 ceiling tie for each rafter using the ones you scribed as patterns for their mates. Tack one under each rafter with a 10d toenail and save their mates for the other side of the sandwich later.

Photo 14: Add rafter ties and rafter boards

Cut the middle 2×4 rafter tie boards so they’re flush with the outside of the beams. Nail them to the rafters and the 2×6 ceiling ties with 10d nails spaced every 12 in. along each edge. Cut the 2×4 rafter center boards as shown here and in Fig. A and nail them to the center of the 2×6 rafters. Cut the center 2×4 rafter tails so they’re just short of the horizontal level cut.

Photo 15: Cut the curved braces

Cut two 4-ft. lengths of 2×10 and tack them between the 2×4 rafter and ceiling tie parts to lay out the curved decorative braces (our positions vary because of the differing roof slopes). Mark the lengths at the 2x4s. Bend and clamp a thin board and trace arcs about 7-1/2 in. apart on both sides. Cut them with a circular saw and jigsaw and nail them into place. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 16: Complete the rafters and ceiling ties

Nail on the previously cut 2×6 rafters and 2×6 ceiling ties to the 2x4s to complete the rafter and tie sandwiches. Place 10d casing nails every 12 in. Toenail the rafters to the ridge beam. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 17: Cut the rafter ends

Transfer the rafter tail length from the house rafter to the outermost rafter and snap a chalk line to that mark. Draw the 1-in. end cut with a square and the level cut on both sides of each rafter using a 2- or 4-ft. level. Make the rafter tail square cuts first with the circular saw, then make the horizontal level cuts. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Close up

Mark the rafter tails with a chalk line.

We show a fail-safe method of positioning your outdoor living room posts so they’re square and spaced perfectly from the house and each other. The trick is to use a jig made from the framing materials (called a “footprint template” in Photo 1). Initially tack the posts to the jig (Photo 3, inset) and then later to each other (Photo 9). Constantly check the posts throughout the construction to keep everything square and plumb and you’ll make your life easier as you assemble the upper parts.

The ridge assembly is especially tricky to center and support before the rafters are in place. Use the rafter mockup (Photo 2) to determine the height of the bottom of the ridge and tack a temporary 2×6 support against the house to support that end of the ridge (Photo 9). The temporary brace that supports the yard end of the ridge will most likely be taller to accommodate any drainage slope on the patio. Cut that support a few inches longer, tack it in place and use a long, straight board and level from the top of the house-mounted support to mark the length. Then cut it to length and use existing and additional supports to hold it in place before you set the ridge. A couple of 2x4s nailed to the outside and a couple of braces will keep the ridge from slipping off the support while you’re installing the rafters. We assembled the ridge sandwich on the ground and lifted it into place, but it was a struggle for the two of us! It’d be much easier to lift the boards separately and nail them together once they’re up.

After the ridge is assembled, measure from the ridge edges to the beams on each wall. To center the ridge perfectly, adjust the ridge until the right and left measurements are the same. Note that if you have to build an offset roof as we did, the ridge will no longer be exactly centered, but you still have to make it parallel to the beams.

Photo 18: Deck the roof

Lay the first course of tongue-and-groove roof decking with the groove side facing downhill flush with the rafter ends. Nail the roof decking into one rafter of each rafter pair with two 10d nails. Select lengths so butt seams fall randomly throughout the ceiling. Halfway to the peak, check to make sure the boards are running parallel to the ridge beam. If they’re not, adjust the next few courses slightly to fix the problem. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Close up

Snap a chalk line flush with the edge of the fascia board and cut off the decking ends with a circular saw. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 19: Add the shingle molding

Nail the shingle molding onto the eave edge flush with the top of the decking with 7d nails into the rafters and the decking. Notch the gable-end shingle molding around the ridge and nail it to the fascia. Cut the end of the gable shingle molding flush with the eave molding with a handsaw. How to Build an Outdoor Living Room

Photo 20: Step flashing

Staple roofing felt onto the decking and shingle the roof following the manufacturer’s instructions on the wrappers. Bend and tuck 5 x 7-in. shingle tins under the siding and over the top half of each shingle for every course against the house. It’s easiest to slide the step flashing up from the bottom edge of the last piece of siding.

Photo 21: Build the pilasters

Cut and assemble the tapered plywood post-base sides using Fig. B as a guide. Raise the top slip frame 5 ft. above the floor and hold it in place with a 2×4 block toenailed into the post. Nail the side pieces to the top and bottom slip frames and to the 2x2s with 7d galvanized nails spaced every 6 in.

Photo 22: Shingle

Shingle the pilasters by alternating overlaps at each course and corner. Using a pencil, lightly draw level lines about 8 in. up from the bottom of the course below for straight shingle guidelines. Hold each shingle plumb and scribe angles on the backside of the shingle.

Whichever wood types you decide on, think ahead and prefinish the wood whenever possible—especially if the roof decking sports a different finish than the framing. We put two coats of exterior latex stain on the decking before installing it. That saved tons of time over painstakingly cutting in cleanly around the framing. For the same reason, it pays to apply an exterior sealer on the cedar after the structure is up and before installing the decking. If you’re staining or painting standard framing lumber, we suggest applying the finish before erecting the structure and then touching up nail holes and end cuts after construction. You’ll get a better, faster paint job and the wood surfaces that are buried inside sandwiches will be better protected from moisture in your outdoor living room.

Selecting the Wood

We used smooth dimensional cedar for all of the exposed framing for this pavilion. However, we decided on stained spruce tongue-and-groove 2x6s for the roof decking because cedar decking cost nearly twice as much. You can save about even more by using standard framing material for the entire structure—a smart move if you intend to paint or stain everything to match the house.

Even though the structural elements are exposed, you don’t need flawless lumber for your pavilion for a clean, handsome look. Simply select the lumber with the best faces for the edges and sides that will show in your outdoor living room. We had all the lumber delivered (in other words, we just got random picks from the lumberyard) and had no problem finding enough good-looking sides and edges. If you’re dissatisfied with the look of any of the lumber, you can always exchange it.

Additional Information

Required Tools for this Outdoor Living Room Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY outdoor living room project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration. Air compressorAir hoseBelt sanderBrad nail gunChalk lineCircular sawCordless drillDrill bit setFraming squareHammerHandsawJigsawLevelMiter sawPaintbrushPosthole diggerSafety glassesSocket/ratchet setSpeed squareWheelbarrow

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