Explore this Herndon Backyard Escape by Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Story by Liesel Schmidt
One of the biggest trends in recent years has been in outdoor living and creating areas that accommodate everything from decks to full-on living spaces worthy of dinner party invites. Naturally, those spaces are designed according to the actual living style of the homeowner, but with the range of outdoor products available, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
The trend of outdoor living spaces was already on the rise by the time COVID hit, which only further propelled this trend. “It was one of the only ways that people could get together with their friends and family,” says Sonny Nazemian, Master Designer of Kitchen/Bath at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes.
So what makes the ultimate outdoor living space? Close your eyes and picture everything indoors that makes for the best entertaining: seating areas, a kitchen, a wet bar and a flat-screen TV. Chances are, anything you want outside can be outside. Gone are the days of outdoor areas limited to small decks or four-by-four concrete patios. Now, outdoor areas are the third most important renovations, according to Nazemian.
“I've been doing this for Michael Nash for the past 36 years, and it used to be that an outdoor project was limited to decks, adding an outdoor grill area,” he goes on. “But outdoor living is no longer an add-on project—it’s become the project. They are now fully planned rooms with multiple spaces and multiple features; covered porches, covered kitchens, decks, fire pits, back patios, fireplaces and as much entertainment as possible. People want bars, fridges, beer kegs, TVs, full sound systems and everything else that makes indoor entertaining spaces. People also want to use their outdoor space for all four seasons, so fireplaces, firepits and other heat sources are all important additions when designing an outdoor space that can be utilized year-round.”
If you love to cook, consider an outdoor kitchen and kit it out with everything you need to make your chefy dreams come true. Don’t settle for something so pedestrian as a camp grill—make all of that outdoor space work for you by installing appliances that suit your needs like a refrigerator and freezer, grill and range, sinks and even a pizza oven. The point is to keep everything you need at your fingertips so that your outdoor experience can actually stay outside. There are all kinds of options in appliances designed to stand up to al fresco life.
Ever since COVID, every corner of the country is leaning more and more toward outdoor remodeling. People like to cook with nature, and they want to expand their spaces and take advantage of their scenic views. If you ask yourself, do you want to entertain indoors or outdoors, what would you prefer? Outdoors, right? - Sonny Nazamien, Master Designer
Of course, you’ll need the perfect backdrop for any outdoor living you do, so lay the groundwork by installing hardscaped areas like concrete patio areas or adding a more high-end designer look with outdoor pavers and a pergola for some shade. To keep things cool, install outdoor fans in the pergola and opt for misting systems to safely ward off the bugs and make your yard a pest-free paradise.
Naturally, you’ll need to consider how you want the space to function as well as the style of your home and the topography of the landscape as you formulate your design. “We sit down with the clients and interview them to determine their needs, as well as their vision for the space,” Nazemian explains. “How many people will use the space? And how will they use it? Do they entertain? And what type of entertaining will they do? All of these are important details to know as we design the space.”
The size of the area you’re working with will also dictate the scope of your project, not to mention the type of materials you use. And if you’re considering anything like installing a patio area around a pool, it’ll be important to use materials that will hold up well to high traffic and moisture and have a surface that’s slip resistant.
Light things up with outdoor lighting over gathering spaces and along walkways so that nightfall doesn’t bring things to an end. Ward off chilly weather with firepits, outdoor fireplaces or outdoor heaters. Creating seating areas will add to the cozy factor and invite people to stay awhile, so plan places to sit and dine as well as comfortable lounge spaces with sofas and chairs that lend themselves to outdoor entertaining and enjoying the open air.