Fresh Approaches to Outdoor Living Space

January 15, 2021 (Reston, Virginia)

With so much more time spent at home, families are eager to make the most of available outdoor spaces, no matter how modest. Fortunately, there are many practical options that can be installed quickly and affordably.

Rather than a window wall or folding glass doors, large sliding doors can bring the outdoors in at about 20-25% of the cost of folding “accordion” doors—without eating into interior space. Folding doors are hard to retrofit in an existing home, and unlike the sliding doors of yesteryear, new models feel solid and operate smoothly… providing much higher quality than older models.

Increasingly, homeowners are choosing a variety of smaller outdoor vignettes to accommodate different uses, just as they are dividing open interior spaces. For example, a modest patio or deck can accommodate a table and seating for family dining. Formerly most often seen in beach communities, smaller pools are popping up in suburbs. Dipping, splashing or swimming against a current provides a refreshing change of pace and stress reduction—without commanding much of a smaller lot’s space. Simple outdoor kitchens with a smaller footprint can include a grilling and serving area without a refrigerator and other equipment. With wireless outdoor TVs, it’s also easy to stream and view movies al fresco.

Landscaping and hardscaping can provide privacy from the street and neighbors, particularly stacked stone planters filled with low- to medium-height bushes, which are an excellent way to create outdoor “rooms.” Terracing a smaller yard with simple steps from one level to the next is another way to create vignettes. A small water feature adds to the feeling of tranquility and connection to nature and can “calm out” noise from other nearby homes or streets.

Many homeowners are finding that switching environments periodically can help alleviate “cabin fever” and provide a greater sense of calm on a long day.

About Gulick Group, Inc.: Established in 1987, Reston-based Gulick Group has developed communities throughout Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, including One Cameron Place and Newport Shores in Reston, The Reserve in McLean, Autumn Wood, Grovemont, and the three Riverbend Communities in Great Falls, Red Cedar West in Leesburg, and Wild Meadow in Ashburn.