Using Outdoor Rooms in Cold Climates
You can keep up outside space in year-round climates.
By: Wayne A. Endicott
Outdoor rooms are in vogue in the southern part of the United States. But who wants an outdoor room in the sometimes frigid north? Apparently a lot of families do. And northern builders are finding ways to meet this craving, even with the threat of cold winter winds whistling outside.
"We're finding that more and more of our clients want to stay home for their recreation," says Ken DePratt, who with his wife, Lisa, operates KD Poolscapes, a specialty remodeling contractor in Franksville, Wis. "They are looking for convenience out the back door. We say we are dealing with a new frontier in remodeling, brought on by a desire to cocoon."
This new frontier involves the creation of outdoor living space that can be used year-round, even in the snowy climes of Franksville, which lies near Lake Michigan about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. "The important thing is to address the climate," DePratt says. "If you are going to build an outdoor room in this area, it requires a different design than it might in a southern city."
One example is a spa or hot tub and choosing its location. "You have to take the traffic pattern into account. You don't want to locate it so far from the house that you have to slog through snow to get to it," DePratt points out. "It's also a good idea to sink it into the ground rather than having it above ground, so you don't have to slip and slide up and down stairs to get into it." In spite of the climate, DePratt says, between 80 and 90 percent of his clients use their outdoor spas year around. Frequently, he combines a spa with a pool, which can be used during the warmer months when a cool dip is inviting.
Other amenities that he includes in his projects are fire pits, outdoor grills, decks (some as large as 1,400 to 1,600 square feet), special lighting with fiber optics, hardscaping and even outdoor fans to not only cool during the summer but also to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Surprisingly, screening and enclosures are not normally part of the package. "If you're going to do that, you have a different ballgame," DePratt says. "Now you need to meet building codes concerning such things as snow loads and footing depths." For the same reason, heating is rarely part of the package. Instead, he advises his clients to buy inexpensive gas or LP radiant heaters if they want to heat the outdoor spaces.
Outdoor Rooms Add Livable Space
Spend less money on vacations and more time with friends and family on your deck or patio.
Outdoor Heaters: Options and Solutions
Get all the info you need on outdoor heaters, and transform your outdoor living space into a warm and welcoming hot spot for any time of year.
Fireplaces Warm Up Patios, Outdoor Rooms
Outdoor hearths offer style with boundless entertainment options, as well as opportunities for builders to provide the finishing touch to an outdoor space.
Selling the Outdoor Room
Demand for outdoor rooms is booming. Here's how to present such a project to customers.
Outdoor Structures: The Backbone of the Landscape
The demand for outdoor living remains strong, and outdoor structures can pick up some of the slack of a weakened housing market.
Outdoor Kitchen Island Options
Get tips on finding an outdoor kitchen island that is exquisite and functional.
Outdoor Propane Fireplaces
Brush up on your options for outdoor propane fireplaces so you can create a warm and cozy backyard oasis.
Outdoor Lighting Ideas and Options
Grab some great hints for illuminating your outdoor space with these outdoor lighting ideas and options.
Lighting up the Night Landscape
New concepts are spurring lighting for all types of projects.
Design Budgeting 101: Outdoor Rooms
Professional designers know how to stretch a buck. Joan Grabel and Katie Z. Leavy share some of their best ideas for decorating an outdoor space for less.
Copy This Room: 7 Stylish Dorm Room Decorating Ideas
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 27, 2015 by Shannon Petrie
The Votes Are In! Tour This Tiny + Charming Cottage
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 23, 2015 by Farima Alavi
What’s Your Yard Art Spirit Animal? Take the Quiz!
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Jul 22, 2015 by Kayla Kitts