6 Outdoor Living Considerations Specific to the Cincinnati Area

Posted by Neal's Design Remodel on Tue, May 28, 2024

Ah, Cincinnati. A beautiful place with a rolling landscape of hills and vales, where all the seasons collide, often on the same day. When considering your project options for outdoor living and exterior design in the Queen City, several unique factors come into play. Some are due to our specific climate and topography, while others deal with the cultural aspects of living in Southwest Ohio. Keep reading for a breakdown of 6 Cincinnati-specific items you may wish to consider for your next outdoor remodeling project.


1. Seasonal Weather Variations

It’s probably not a surprise that we’d start here. It’s a common cliché that if you don’t like the weather in Cincinnati, just wait 10 minutes. Outside of the jokes, though, Cincinnati does experience all four seasons rather distinctly. This wide swing of weather and temperature conditions can make for some tricky outdoor living.

Using durable materials that withstand temperature extremes will help give your project a leg up on long-term weathering. These can be natural or manufactured materials like granite or composite decking. Incorporating a shade-providing covered structure where ceiling fans and outdoor space heaters can be installed (and used simultaneously as needed) is a great remedy for whatever the sky is doing at any given moment.


2. Storms, Humidity and Moisture

The Cincinnati area tends to be rather moist through most of the year. Whether it’s strings of storms, oppressive humidity, or just a heavy lingering fog, high moisture levels are normal here and can affect the longevity of outdoor materials and the comfort of exterior spaces.

Prioritize moisture-resistant materials throughout your outdoor living project. It may be an expensive part of your project scope, but it’s important to ensure that proper drainage systems are in place to prevent water accumulation on your property. For example, you wouldn’t want a slope in the floor of your covered patio to allow a river to run through it during a rainstorm.


3. Insect Control

Mosquitos love Cincinnati just about as much as we do. The combination of heat and moisture in the area is ideal for these annoying summer guests. You may also need to arm your outdoor living areas against even peskier insects like wasps or invasive bugs. Insects of any variety have the potential to not only make your outdoor living experience a pain, they may cause damage or wear to your structures if not accounted for.

Incorporate screens where you’re likely to spend the most time. There are many customizable options for motorized screens that can also be used for privacy or weatherproofing. Talk with your landscaper about using appropriate insect-repellent plantings. Be sure you understand if materials you’ve selected may be more prone to insect damage. Lastly, consider that the steady breeze of a basic outdoor fan can also help keep insects at bay while providing additional comfort.


4. Architectural Style Consistency

Cincinnati is a mixing pot of stylistic influences. Most long-established neighborhoods boast a variety of architectural styles so it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re taking a tour through time simply by walking down the street. All this style variety can make it feel like anything goes, but Cincinnati is also a city that’s steeped in tradition. Visually speaking, we do tend to prefer that individual homes have a cohesive style overall.

Work with your designer to use appropriate materials and design elements for the age and look of the home. For example, Victorian area homes may benefit from intricate woodwork and bold colors, while Mid-Century Modern homes might use clean lines and minimalist landscaping. Double check the style of homes nearby as well. If they’re similar, you can take some hints from what they have done to create a broader visual connection through your street.


5. Historical Preservation

While we’re on the subject, we should point out that many neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati have historic significance. You may live in an area where maintaining the historic character of the town or street is critical to your community. If you live in one of these areas, check to be sure whether modifications to your exterior property might be subject to preservation rules.

Work with any relevant local associations to be certain that you’re adhering to any historical integrity guidelines that may apply. It will be your responsibility to communicate any guidelines with your project design team. It might increase your project cost but be prepared to use historically accurate materials in order to meet the standards. When feasible, attempt to reuse and restore any original features rather than replace them.


6. Winter Resilience

Though we rarely get picturesque snowfall, the Cincinnati area still faces significant winter weather conditions. Wet snow or ice accumulation can cause various problems. Ice dams can block drainage paths, leading to flooding. Sleet build-up can add significant weight to roofs or can slide off in large sheets, potentially causing damage. 

Choose roofing materials resistant to ice damage and consider your options for preventing sliding ice sheets. Use exterior-rated paints and finishes, and ensure any drainage system you install for your project also accounts for ice and snow. Space heaters, useful in spring and fall, can also offer an extra boost to clearing snow and ice and a regular winter maintenance routine, such as promptly clearing snow and inspecting for damage after storms, can also help mitigate any issues.

By addressing these area-specific factors, homeowners in Cincinnati can create outdoor living spaces that enhance their property and curb appeal in ways that are tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities presented by our locale.

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Topics: Outdoor Living

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