After a grey wet winter, we welcome a May with weather that inspires us to spend more and more time outside. How can we design for more indoor-outdoor living in Seattle?
In other parts of the country—for example in California or Arizona , indoor outdoor living is easier to accomplish with more warm and sunny days. In Seattle, with our intermittent showers and cooler days in April, May, June, September and October plus cooler nights we design with flexibility built in.
Siting: Spaces that get afternoon sun are ideal, but even shadier outdoor space can also work beautifully by considering the right elements.
A deck or patio that adjoins the home is a huge plus as an outdoor room– adding options for dining, working outside or enjoying a good book or two.
Ideally, the outdoor space is just a few of inches below the interior floor level, so the transition appears seamless. If the exterior portion needs to be lower, then having a larger landing or mini-deck is an interesting way to transition to the main patio.
Protection: Adding a partial roof structure that allows light in is another step in optimizing outdoor use. This might be large enough to cover the whole seating area, or just a spot for a couple of lounge chairs and the barbeque grill.
Light: Allowing light in is important so sometime we suggest a solid roof with skylights, a whole roof that is transparent or a pergola with fruit for flowering vines for shading and atmosphere. The connection with the home is key and can create a visual extension the indoor space through a kitchen, family or dining room.
Plants! Large and small colorful planters, freestanding or built in with appropriate plants soften the space and bring people into the outdoors. Freestanding ones are flexible and movable depending on if it is everyday use or a large party.
Railings! Depending on the height of your outdoor area and your household members such as young children, older relatives or pets, we suggest that for safety and code compliance you add railings. If a view needs protecting then there are many appropriate options including tempered glass.
Wood decks using durable, sustainability harvested or recycled materials
Lighting and comfort are enhanced by adding electric heat lamps that can be aimed to take the chill from cooler evenings and extend your outdoor living calendar.
Music and atmosphere –extend your sound system or consider a docking station for your MP3 player and enjoy your favorite playlist.
We are available to meet with you and help you determine a strategy and budget for helping to make the most of your Seattle area home twelve months out of the year. In the meantime, there is always al fresco dining in and around town!