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Patio Covers and More: 5 Essentials for Outdoor Living Spaces

aluminum patio coverLook up “outdoor living space” online, and you’ll be bombarded with photos of professionally styled custom decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor living rooms that simply scream luxury and comfort. Creating one of those alluring spaces for yourself, however, can seem like a daunting task.

The easiest way to go about planning your outdoor living space is to think of it as if it were another room in your house. Any comfortable room needs five basic elements: a floor, walls, a ceiling, lights and furniture. By considering each of these elements in turn, you can begin planning your outdoor living space without becoming overwhelmed by the details.

1. Flooring

Every outdoor living space needs some sort of flooring to define the area and provide a comfortable surface to walk on. While this can be anything from a paved patio to a patch of grass, most homeowners choose to install decking. Portland, Oregon decks require good drainage and proper ventilation to withstand the region’s relentless rainfall.

Portland decking materials can vary greatly, depending on the consumer’s budget and preferences. While cedar decking materials have remained a perennial favorite, synthetics such as composite or PVC decking have become increasingly popular because the can endure the local climate with minimal maintenance.

Tigerwood and other exotic hardwoods are also favored as low-maintenance alternatives for decking. Portland, Oregon homeowners tend to appreciate Tigerwood decking’s slip-resistance and splinter-free wood surface.

2. Ceiling

As outdoor living spaces become increasingly instrumental to family life, more and more Northwest homeowners are using patio covers to enhance their decking. Portland, Oregon patio covers can serve many purposes, from providing shade to blocking out the rain to minimizing weather damage to your Portland decking materials.

If sun is the primary issue, a simple pergola planted with climbing vines can provide partial shade, which will keep your deck from getting too hot while still allowing you to enjoy the sunshine. For shelter from the rain, homeowners may want to consider an aluminum cover, which offers full protection from the elements. Some aluminum covers feature polycarbonate roof panels, which block out UV rays but still let in the light.

3. Walls

Once your Portland decking materials are in place, the next step is to consider privacy. While most Northwest homeowners don’t completely wall off their decking, Portland, Oregon residents often opt for creating privacy by installing a privacy fence or planting large shrubs around the perimeter.

Trellis panels can also be used to create strategic privacy walls, which can then be decorated with climbing vines. Other options for screening off a deck include hanging weatherproof curtains or installing custom privacy screens.

4. Lighting

The more time you spend in your outdoor living space, the more lighting options you’ll want to have. One popular option for illuminating your Portland decking materials is to install solar post cap lights. These decorative fixtures are attached to the posts of your deck to provide solar-powered lighting around the perimeter. Look for lights with an on/off switch so you can control the amount of light you receive.

There are also LED lighting kits available to provide accent lighting around your deck. Other popular lighting options include string lights, outdoor electrical fixtures and the timeless tiki torch.

5. Furniture

You can install the finest Portland decking materials, but without adding inviting furniture and accessories, no one will want to spend time on your deck. Outdoor furniture not only provides a place to sit and socialize, but it gives the space functionality and defines its purpose.

Before selecting furniture for your deck, it’s a good idea to think about what you want its purpose to be. For example, a dining set is ideal if you’re interested in creating an outdoor eating space, whereas an outdoor sofa and a couple of lounge chairs would be better choices if you want to be able to relax and read or chat outside. Trying to do too much with your deck can cause the space to become cluttered.

When it comes to accessorizing a deck, comfort is in. Look for cozy outdoor sofas or chairs with weather-resistant cushions, and add some colorful toss pillows. Make sure to provide table surfaces for placing drinks, and don’t forget to anchor the space with an outdoor rug.

One Response to “Patio Covers and More: 5 Essentials for Outdoor Living Spaces”

  1. Bryan Costa Rica says:

    My buddy and I just finished a deck off of his master suit and I sure wish we would have found this article first. We are now looking into plans of adding a roof and realize only now that we would have done it completely different had we planned ahead… Maybe next time I will spend the extra couple of hours planning instead of at the store buying a case of beer.

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