We think of our homes as enclosed spaces, a place where we can shut out undesirable temperatures and secure our belongings. We get into a mindset that walls exist to make a definite separation between the indoors and the outdoors. But in recent years, the trend has been toward a more practical use of the outdoors, a transition from a place to enjoy episodically to a place that is used for routine family functions as well as entertainment. See more after the jump:
With that trend has come an incredible list of innovations that have allowed homeowners to make exciting outdoor spaces with as much variety and beauty-and often functionality-as their indoor counterparts. To that end, let’s explore some of the most popular functions that are moving outdoors. Expanded Cooking Of course, grilling out is a time-honored tradition that most families include several times a month when weather permits. But it’s going much further now as outdoor kitchen designs begin to rival the indoor ones. Cold storage, food preparation, grilling, and even baking are now being done under the sun and stars, with specialized equipment built to be durable in the great outdoors. It’s proving to be very popular just as a change of pace, but it has practical benefits too. Operating a cooktop or oven outdoors instead of in the house can greatly reduce the air conditioning demands for your home, and having refrigerator outdoors can be part of your strategy to control heating costs . It’s also more open and far easier to keep clean.
Better Entertainment Again, we’ve all spent some time outdoors with friends and family, gathered in lawn chairs and tables to talk, read, or play cards. As outdoor rooms have raised the ante, many other options are available. There are a wide variety of outdoor heating options that lengthen the season for your outdoor socializing, and lots of homes now integrate an outdoor television or theatre system that lets everyone gather to watch sports or movies. It’s no longer out of the question for even the northernmost resident to have a seat outside and spend the evening watching football. But you don’t have to confine yourself to moving traditional indoor entertainment into the outdoors. You can find dates for upcoming meteor showers and go stargazing with friends. It can be a great way for people and pets to socialize. The sky is the limit when it’s also the ceiling. Versatile Recreation The best outdoor home spaces are those that tie together the traditional functions of indoors and outdoors. The same space the kids use to sunbathe around the pool can convert to your television viewing space that night. Or better yet, you can watch movies and TV as you float on the pool. Outdoor spaces can also make recreation safer. You can keep a closer eye on the kids as they bounce on the trampoline or just run around the yard, because you won’t have closed doors and a flight of stairs between yourself and them. That makes your evening more relaxing and theirs a lot safer. We can only have so much space inside the home. Outdoor living spaces can expand the square footage available to us by a huge factor, giving us an affordable way to do things outside that we normally do inside, and to do things outside that we can’t do inside. Images from SH House by Shachar Rozenfeld