By Design: Great outdoors

– Add these elements to improve outdoor living spaces for epic entertaining –

The popularity of outdoor living spaces has been growing steadily for years, especially at Lake Oconee, where homeowners are able to capitalize on lake or golf views from these incorporated spaces.

A recent study from the home remodeling and design platform Houzz found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining. Similarly, nearly 60 percent of architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects in 2016 said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built.

When planning an outdoor living space, homeowners with ample backyards have much to work with. The following are some popular outdoor living space features homeowners may want to consider.

Outdoor kitchens

Outdoor kitchens allow homeowners to prepare more than just traditional backyard barbecue fare. A standalone charcoal grill in the backyard might get the job done, but a built-in gas grill complete with burners and surrounding granite countertop makes for a more functional outdoor entertaining space.

Bars

Indoor entertaining areas often include bars, so it makes sense that homeowners want to include a place to prepare and serve beverages to their guests. Homeowners with room in their budgets may want to install wet bars where they can rinse mixers, glasses and other items needed to prepare drinks for their guests.

Warming features

Features that can keep homeowners and their guests warm after the sun sets include outdoor fireplaces and firepits – one of the most sought-after additions according to a 2016 survey from the American Society of Landscape Architects that found fireplaces and firepits were the most popular outdoor design element in 2016. Such features can provide a focal point in the backyard while also extending the outdoor living season into autumn and early winter. Various styles are available to homeowners who want to add firepits to their backyards, and choosing the right type comes  down to budget, the amount of yard space available, and personal preference.

Types of firepits for your backyard oasis
  • Wood firepit: As their name suggests, wood firepits burn wood, which may appeal to homeowners who already have wood-burning fireplaces inside their homes. Because they don’t require homeowners to tap into gas lines, wood firepits are generally easy to set up and install, and many homeowners prefer the aesthetic appeal of crackling wood and flames that’s synonymous with wood firepits.
  • Gas firepit: Gas firepits are touted for their convenience, as they don’t require homeowners to carry wood and build fires. Upon being connected to a gas source, gas firepits provide fire at the click of a switch. Gas firepits are also appreciated for their safety, as there is little or no risk that flames from gas firepits will grow too large and become difficult to control.
  • Gas fire tables: Gas fire tables might be ideal for those homeowners whose sense of decor favors more modern looks. Gas fire tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes and, like gas firepits, there’s no need to struggle with lighting a fire or carrying firewood.
  • Tabletop firepits: Homeowners, condominium or apartment dwellers with limited backyard space may want to consider the convenience of tabletop firepits. Restaurants may use tabletop firepits in their outdoor seating areas because they provide warmth and ambiance without taking up much space. Tabletop firepits fueled by gas will not need to be connected to a gas source, which may appeal to consumers who want something that’s simple as well as small.
  • Fire urns: While they might not technically qualify as firepits, fire urns provide a similar effect as firepits. Fire urns are typically gas-powered and may be an ideal choice for homeowners who are looking for a unique, awe-inspiring feature for their outdoor entertaining areas.

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