Spending many hours in the backyard is a staple of life for many Cincinnati families. Whether this time is spent as low-key family hang-out time or friends are visiting, having an outdoor living space that works for a variety of situations is ideal. We've combed through our gallery of past projects, and have come up with several ideas for converting your backyard into a space that works no matter what you need.
Bring the inside out and the outside in.
Outside gatherings can often stretch between the inside and outside of the house. To handle this, patio or French double doors that open up to the exterior space and make it easy to move in and out are ideal. If the relationship between the house and exterior porch accommodates it, panel doors that open up entirely may also work well if you're hosting larger groups.
Provide options for activities around the yard.
Outdoor spaces can be used for a variety of structures and accommodations. Look at your full yard space and consider how you use it to determine if a porch with a grill as well as a pool house or fire ring could be a good combination. Or maybe you'd like an open deck, fire ring, and designated area for the kids. By providing a few different outside zones, you can offer more to do for your friends and family on any given day.
Create an outdoor room without losing the indoor amenities.
Just like in an interior room, your outdoor living space can feature a fireplace and TV (an outdoor model positioned to be protected from the elements) along with comfortable furnishings to create an outdoor room for watching movies or the big game or enjoying a quiet evening chat.
Create a comfortable environment.
Cincinnati summers are pretty notorious for high temperatures, higher humidity, and mosquitoes the size of baseballs. To create more useable outdoor space, think about what areas should be covered to gain the advantage of shade and ceiling fans to keep fresh air circulating and cool. Certain types of structures with fewer large openings may also be able to use an air conditioning unit to direct cold air to where it's needed. Additions of screens, whether retractable or not, keep the bugs at bay. Comfortable outdoor furniture invites guests to sit and maybe play a hand or two of poker.
Keep it flexible for different types of gatherings.
Some families play host to a variety of gatherings, from a handful of close friends to large crowds of acquaintances. It's important to consider how a space will work for a variety of group types. The spaces should be flexible when things need to move around for different needs, but should always feel like it's the right scale and style for you and your family when there are no guests over.