By Anita Murray, All Things Home
As we begin to emerge outdoors again after a long winter, ongoing pandemic uncertainty is likely to continue to keep us close to home. That makes it the perfect opportunity to give more thought to our outdoor spaces, staycationing and making the most of our properties so we can get maximum enjoyment.
“Having outdoor spaces is important, and they don’t always need to be huge areas,” says Steve Ardington of Ardington + Associates Design. “If properly designed, sometimes all it takes is a small patio or screened room to feel like you have a refuge from the everyday chaos.”
He’s not the only one who’s seeing growing interest in our outdoor spaces since the pandemic began.
“People are looking at this space differently now and I think they really love the outdoors and the feeling of being surrounded and closer to nature,” says Cosimo Zacconi of Canterra Design + Build.
Besides, a sunroom or other enclosed indoor/outdoor space helps extend Ottawa’s short summer, says Kim Pijselman of Cedarstone Homes, who often adds a sunroom to the homes he builds. “A sunroom extends the usable season by a month in the spring and a month in the fall.”
And a screened-in area lets us enjoy the outdoors minus the bugs, notes Herb Lagois of Lagois Design-Build-Renovate. “We encourage our clients to think about not only their interior living but their exterior living as well.”
He also finds homeowners are optimizing their home as a cottage. “I’m a good example. We entertained (the idea of) getting a cottage (but) we love our home, love our outdoor space, and I’m too busy as it is. I can’t imagine taking care of another property.”
Whether you’re thinking of a sunroom, a lanai, an outdoor kitchen or even just a dedicated lounging area, you can expect to recoup at least half of the cost of updating an outdoor space. For instance, adding a deck will return about 65 per cent of the cost, according to the Cost vs. Value report prepared annually by Remodelling Magazine.
“Imagine a wonderful outdoor space that we can gravitate to and enjoy without just being trapped indoors,” says Lagois. “For me to simply watch the birds in our backyard allows me to let go of all the stresses for a while.”
Thinking of updating your outdoor spaces? Here are some to inspire you:
Anita Murray is former Homes Editor of the Ottawa Citizen and co-founder of AllThingsHome.ca, Ottawa’s trusted resource for home buyers and homeowners.