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  • Jim Butz

Is it Summer Yet?

Can we finally say summer is here? The weather in the Midwest has been all over the board but if you are like me I am really enjoying the outdoors. With summer here and school fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about expanding your living space outdoors. According to the American Institute of Architects, 63% of its members reported increasing customer interest in outdoor living spaces in 2013. Expanding family space to enjoy the open air is of great interest to many, especially when cooped up all winter.

There is no reason at all to sacrifice your indoor comforts when expanding your outdoor space. Here are some things to consider to creating your outdoor space:

· Decide if you want to add a three season room or just create an outdoor space by establishing boundaries for example with potted plants or a laying down flooring such as decking or stone to identify the space. Having a screened in porch allows you to enjoy the outdoors longer without mosquitos and bugs. This decision actually adds value to your home and can add much enjoyment for you and your family for many years.

· Achieving harmony flowing from indoors to out. It is important to retain the look, feel and architectural style of your home with your outdoor space. You want it to flow naturally to the eye.

· Accessibility to your space is key. Depending on how your home is situated you can extend your living space off of your kitchen or living area. I expanded my outdoor space with a three season room off of my dining room. I added porch flooring to make the feel of the room more like an extension of the house vs decking underneath. If you have too far to go get food and drink chances are it will be a burden to enjoy.

· Consider the elements and how your space will work with the sun and rain. All of your planning and hard work can be ruined if you do not consider what the weather may bring.

· The big rage is having an “outdoor kitchen”. It depends on you and how you want the space to function. Having all the necessities outdoors can be ideal but it also comes with maintenance and a cost. For me, having the grill nearby is all I need.

· Remember to make it your own! This is a space for you to enjoy family and friends. Take your time planning this space so when you walk into it you are happy. Adding special features and interesting architectural features can really enhance the way you feel.

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