As a home builders’ community, we allow families to personally design their dream homes. We thought we had seen it all, slides in children’s play rooms, grand designer kitchens, a walk-through shower; people were bringing their ideas to life. Now we have started noticing a new trend around the neighborhood known as OLR’s or “Outdoor Living Rooms.”
Joe Hill, president of Bel Arbor Builders, is a builder here at our community has also noticed this outdoor trend designing homes for “empty-nesters” and adult families. Read as Joe describes this changing trend and how you could take a these 5 ideas to make your very own personal outdoor living room.
In Joe’s Words:
- I am used to taking an idea in a client’s mind and bringing it to life. This has never been easy but always keeps me on my toes with each house I build. There seems to be a new trend emerging and I find it fascinating. Outdoor entertainment areas certainly have been increasing in popularity. When people look out into their backyard, it is no longer open grass with an occasional play area, but it is a fully-functional living room equipped with flat screen TVs and hand-made furniture.
- The outdoor living space can be described as a covered terrace. In earlier years, the trends moved from closed sunrooms to screened in porches. Now people are finding they want the back patio to be open on all sides but still have a roof of protection from the sun and rainy weather. Each outdoor living room, or “OLR,” is custom built to a family’s style. Some incorporate a large fire pit for year-round warmth, others have a mini bar or a brick oven pizza next to an outdoor kitchen.
- An outdoor living room is more standard for adult families or “empty nesters” rather than families with younger children. The overall function for an OLR is to be an extension of a conventional living space.
- Another trend I see attached to covered terraces are installing phantom screens. A phantom screen is a clear, tarp-like material installed on the roof of the terrace to retract with a remote control. The flaps roll down creating a room with four walls for an extra layer of protection. It can be a dependable resource during heavy allergy and pollen seasons as well as during the winter to trap heat in and allow entertaining all year around.
- Transforming your backyard is a great way to use more space and fully maximize your entertaining opportunities. While having a flat lot makes it easier to build due to the ground being level, it is possible to not miss out on this new trend by having a sloped yard. Typically, outdoor living space are built on the higher side of the lot to reduce the number of steps needed between the two surfaces. Building a deck space on the higher side keeps the flow of entertaining. There is also the option of building an “OLR” as a walk out from a ground-level basement. The possibilities of bringing any home idea to life are endless. Find your space and add in your own style and flair to have a true home experience. The next time you are hosting family for a cookout or wanting to add more to your plain backyard, think about making your own outdoor living space.