Being able to create outdoor living spaces is just one of the great luxuries of living in San Diego. Maximizing the square footage of your home coupled with usable lot space, can turn a once- little-used backyard into a sanctuary for relaxation and entertainment.
Outdoor living spaces range from simple to extravagant and everywhere in between to suit your style of living.
“I’ve done Zen gardens for people who meditate. Horseshoes, bocce ball, full basketball courts, and something that’s quite popular now are outdoor theatre courts,” says Steven Mark from Marrokal Design & Remodeling.
Some home renovations in San Diego turn a backyard into an outdoor living room that’s complete with a big screen TV, surround sound, special lighting, comfy couches, an outdoor kitchen, and a way to enclose and heat the outdoor room when it’s cold or raining.
Blending the inside style of the home with the outside is what creates a seamless design and harmonious flow that fits the home’s original blueprint. Mark recommends creating a large opening by using accordion doors that can open up to at least 8 feet wide and sometimes 20 feet on a warm day.
The larger the opening from the inside to the outside, the more seamless the transition. Mark says that when you use the same flooring material both inside and outside, you’ll have a seamless, spacious look.
“It really blurs the line and you don’t even visually know where the inside stops and the outside begins,” says Mark.
But what if your backyard isn’t level? There are solutions for that, as well.
“They had a steep hillside that was full of weeds and brush. So I came up with this design that terraced the yard up the hill. We created four levels. The level off the house is their barbecue and outside kitchen area,” says Mark.
The upper level features a pool, sun deck, and jacuzzi. And, the top level is a destination entertainment area. The outdoor living room includes a fountain, a dining area, and flat screen TV. Just above that is an organic vegetable garden, making it easy to pick fresh produce for each meal.
Creatively combining natural elements enhances outdoor living spaces. For instance, an infinity-edge jacuzzi that lets the water flow on all sides into a stone trough that has a fire feature wrapping around a portion of the spa is both inviting and fascinating to watch.
Outdoor living design should take into consideration several factors such as traffic patterns, a focal point, and a variety of seating options.
Traffic patterns: consider how you want to use your backyard. Do you want to terrace it and have different levels with specific uses for each level or would you rather have one central level that is divided into smaller outdoor living areas? You can use formal walkways, plants or trees to break up areas and establish borders for outdoor rooms. What traffic pattern do you want to establish for a return to the inside? Maybe have it pass by your organic garden? There are limitless options to get creative and think about what you would like to do with the perfect outdoor living areas.
Focal point: this is often a fountain or fire feature. The focal point of outdoor living spaces draws your attention to and invites you to come out and explore. The focal point is often the gathering place such as a pool with a beautiful fountain or a partly shaded pond with comfortable seating around it. Just like indoor decorating, a focal point gives you one established area to cohesively build on.
Seating options: perhaps one of the most important things to consider is seating in outdoor living spaces. Having a variety of seating options placed so that the seats are conducive for relaxing and talking is what makes an outdoor living room used. If the furniture is too big and bulky, it must be arranged so that people can enjoy the space since it’ll be too heavy to move. Consider having some smaller, lighter pieces of furniture that are easy for guests to pick up and move for a quiet conversation, maybe away from the outdoor TV.
Watch the video for more examples of our outdoor living room remodels.