Homeowners may live in their houses, but they really want to be outdoors.
New studies show homeowners are investing more in outdoor spaces than ever before with 85% of those renovating opting for a major remodel or a complete overhaul, according to the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscape Trends Study. Meanwhile, AIA’s 2017 Home Design Trends Survey shows interest in outdoor rooms spiked more than 70%.
Art Steedle calls it the “third room” phenomenon. “Americans have always loved their backyards,” says Steedle, owner of Steedle Brothers Construction and an additional venture, Cargo Builders, which repurposes retired shipping containers as innovative spaces. “Everybody needs that third space to relax and unwind. And your backyard can be that third space — that place you decompress before you go into your second space, which is your home.”
Steedle should know. His outdoor room designs for top Hollywood celebrities has landed him on HGTV’s “Jaime Durie’s Outdoor Room”, DIY’s “I Hate My Yard,” and recently HLN’s “Homeowner Justice.”
Steedle says the best outdoor spaces are those that create a defined space and provide a view while also maintaining privacy. He says today’s homeowners especially want clean modern lines and low maintenance. That’s why he loves to use products such as cable rail infill in his outdoor spaces.
Here are three ways Steedle says remodelers can create outdoor rooms for their customers — even when it doesn’t seem like it’s possible:
1. Use the roof. Steedle says the roof is the “unfound” space of outdoor living. “If you have a flat section of your roof, that’s a great place to expand your outdoor space,” he says. “You may even have a view you didn’t know you had.” Steedle, a former roofer, says remodelers adding roof top spaces need to make sure they still shed water properly and that structures are tied to the home’s flashing. He also said it’s important to maintain access to the underlying roof for maintenance.
2. Connect indoors without outdoors. One of the most dramatic ways to create exciting outdoor spaces is merging inside with outside through large openings that almost disappear. Stacked glass door systems are especially popular. But remodelers adding these dramatic openings need to make sure headers are strong enough to sustain them. Otherwise, the systems can pinch in the middle and become inoperable. “If you haven’t done them before, you should definitely hire a pro,” he says. “They’re not the kind of door you want to practice or learn on.”
3. Build a wall. Sometimes, outdoor spaces call for views to be blocked from neighbors or passersby, rather than opened up. In those cases, Steedle recommends building a false privacy wall, which itself can become the focal point of the outdoor room. Steedle likes to combine materials such as wood, faux concrete and corrugated metal. “You can create privacy, but also something that’s almost a work of art,” he says. “And you’re creating that space.”
But whether it’s a porch, rooftop or backyard, Steedle’s main go-to for outdoor rooms is the clean, modern look of cable railing, which defines the space while still maintaining the view. Plus it’s a snap to install. “I love cable rails because you have the transparency, and you’re not worried about the glass,” he says. “You can also pair it with different aesthetics and it looks great no matter what.”
For more on how cable rail helps create outdoor rooms, visit http://www.feeneyinc.com.