More and more families are sharing their homes across generations. Census data reveals a 10 percent increase in the number of multigenerational households since 2007. The tough economy has played a large role in the multigenerational trend; young people are less equipped to buy their own homes after a five-year recession, so many are moving back in with Mom and Dad. Moreover, the “middle generation” of 40- and 50-year-olds has fewer financial resources for putting elderly family members in retirement communities. In this way, the challenging economic climate has sent housing trends back 60 years, when several generations commonly lived under the same roof.
However, there are also non-economic reasons to live in multigenerational homes. Those who share their space with Mom, Dad or Junior report a better sense of community, for one thing. With so many family members nearby, there is more support and love for everyone in the home. Still, good designers can make multigenerational living more comfortable and convenient by removing the less appealing aspects, such as lack of privacy. Below, you’ll find tips on how to make your home’s fencing and decking more comfortable for multigenerational use. If you’ll soon be living with multiple generations in your home, apply these tips to your deck or fence installation, Washington and Oregon residents.
1. For multi-family house plans with different entrances, consider adding a separate fence and gate for each residence.
Designers are stepping up to the increased demand for multigenerational living. For instance, the largest homebuilder group in the U.S., PulteGroup, is building homes with “flex spaces” and over-the-garage apartments. To provide a sense of privacy, each home-within-a-home has its own entrance. A similar approach can be taken with a fence installation. Vancouver families that will be accommodating boomerang children or welcoming aging parents can create a discrete second entrance via thoughtful fence and gate placement.
2. Look to upper stories and unusual spaces for adding private decks.
In addition to enjoying private indoor spaces, multigenerational family members will appreciate having their own outdoor areas as well. A private deck can be just the right place to “get away” when the family drama becomes too intense; or it can simply be a good place to enjoy nature in solitude. Second-story decks are a great design approach for multigenerational households, or you can simply create an outdoor patio area off of a bedroom. For extra privacy, add a surrounding fencing installation, Washington homeowners.
3. Check that decking and fencing is safe and accessible for all ages.
Universal design is a must-have when it comes to multigenerational deck design. There are a few features older people and kids need in a decking or fencing installation:
- Washington and Oregon each have their own building codes, but in general you will be within the law if you make handrail gaps 3.5 inches or narrower. This will prevent toddlers from getting their extremities caught between the rails.
- Make sure it is easy to move from interior rooms to outdoor living areas. For instance, if granny will be using her walker in the home, you’ll want to eliminate as many steps and bumps as possible.
- Whenever possible, incorporate natural materials, which are appealing to all ages.
By following these design tips for a decking or fencing installation, Vancouver and Portland homeowners can make their properties more appealing for all ages – and more comfortable for all generations.