Sunday, June 19, 2011

Outdoor Living

I recently finished designing a wonderful outdoor living space. It's one that I hope to enjoy someday because it's an addition to my own house! Our house has a wonderful farmhouse style front porch that stretches across the entire main block of the house. It's a great spot for having that morning cup of coffee. But the backyard is somewhat lacking in outdoor living space. We have a large patio at grade, but no covered outdoor space.
The rear of the house before.

The final design has evolved from a simple deck addition to an all-out outdoor room. The wish list included a screened porch, an elevated surface from which to access the hottub, and an outdoor kitchen. The landscaping plan gives us a great view from our morning room (the room on the left of the above picture) and also eliminates a big chunk of the grass. (Which anyone who knows me will tell you that I HATE mowing!)

So here's the plan. A large screened porch will be added off of the study and accessed from a new french door in the corner of our great room. The screened porch will be vaulted with a painted (haint blue, of course) beadboard ceiling. It will have a stone-faced double fireplace that will also be enjoyed by the hot tub. Tying the screened porch to the morning room will be a large patio (above grade, just a few inches below the house floor) with an L-shaped outdoor kitchen that has room for a mini-fridge, sink, and grille.

The existing view from the morning room.

Outside the morning room, there is a natural knoll to one side of the property. We plan to capitalize on that by doing a two-level pond with a waterfall feature between them. Behind the pond will be a planting area with myrtle trees, azaleas, and other colorful perrenials. The existing bed, seen here, will be enlarged and remain a spot for birds, roses, bulbs, and annuals.

Filling in between the pond and the annual bed will be a crab orchard stone patio on grade with a built-in firepit that hugs one side of the pond. (Perfect for smores!)

Here's a look at how the outside will look. The entire foundation will be brick to match what we already have. At the outdoor kitchen area, the brick will continue up to counter height and be capped off with the countertop material (which I would love to be honed granite!). On the other side of the patio, simple wrought iron railing will be supported by brick piers at the corners. Because I want ZERO maintenance, the screened porch structure will all be clad in vinyl and wood composite materials.

I would have liked to have a higher ceiling in the porch, but without moving the windows in the guest room above, that just wasn't possible.

The addition has been approved by the neighborhood's architectural committee, and we have a builder friend pricing it out right now. I am prepared for sticker shock, but we are open to doing the project in phases--perhaps the floor gets done first, the porch roof at another time, and the kitchen and landscaping added at another time. Unless, of course, I win the lottery.

I am linking to the Metamorphosis Monday party at "Between Naps on the Porch" Not only does Susan host a wonderful link party each week, but she also has a list of "Porch Must-Haves" that I found invaluable as we were designing our new outdoor space.

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  1. It looks like it's going to be an amazing transformation! Good luck with all of the plans.


  2. Thanks Pam! Fingers crossed that we can afford to make it happen before too long! I think it will be a great addition to the house.

  3. Your garden and plans look sensational! Good luck with everything.

    Best wishes for a lovely week,