There was time when a swimming pool surrounded by a concrete border was the height of luxury. Those days are long gone, especially among custom homes in the $2 million and greater range. In fact, many architects and real estate experts feel the hottest trend in luxury homes is the outdoor space.
In 2016, the American Institute of Architects conducted a national survey of more than 500 residential-architecture firms. The survey found that 69 percent saw increased demand for outdoor living space, which is the second-highest response since the question was first asked in 2005.
Outdoor patio spaces are limited only by the imagination of the homeowner. They can include complete outdoor kitchens, pizza ovens, built-in barbecues, fridges, and stainless-steel workspaces. There are options for heating and air conditioning built into the ceiling, allowing for use of the space year round. Entertaining spaces can include big-screen televisions, state-of-the-art audio systems, cozy living room seating, chandeliers, pergolas, fireplaces, fire pits and many other features.
Even the pool design has changed. The sparse circular or rectangular pool design is so 1970! Now the pool needs to be something visually stunning, such as an infinity pool which can include water features constructed of stone or brick.
With all of these options for the luxury home patio, it is critical for the homeowner to have a wish list, consult a qualified architect and find a homebuilder who understands the importance of this outside room. In Denver, the builder known for such innovations as the Rapid Build System is Haley Custom Homes. The company’s owner is Dan Fuller and he is an expert at pleasing clients with fabulous patios.
“In the years we have been building custom homes in Denver, the demands from our clients for a spectacular patio has never been higher,” Dan said. “We love the challenge, and in the process, we have discovered five tips to help our homeowners plan their dream patio.”
Tip #1: Integrate the Inside with the Outside Room
This may be the toughest task for a homeowner to conceptualize but, in the end, it’s all about letting outside light in and encouraging a seamless transition between the two spaces. A talented architect can certainly put many ideas on the table to meet this challenge.
“Proper placement of doors and windows are critical to the process of making a home more expansive,” Dan said. “A large, pivoting glass door is a good approach to help with a seamless transition. We have also used the same flooring material for the transition room (inside) and the patio (outside).”
Jay Cox of Acme Brick added, “Using the rich, natural colors of a brick floor or clay pavers in both the inside room and the outside patio is great solution for this transition. These natural flooring products are also durable and virtually indestructible, which comes in handy when a guest drops a glass of red wine!”
Tip #2: Create a Focal Point and Design the Outside Room Around it
As with any room in a home, a focal point is an important consideration for visual appeal on the patio.
“This could be a brick fireplace, entertainment wall, built-in bar or any number of other features,” Dan said. “Because our clients live in Denver and we have about six months of cold weather, many of them ask for a fire pit or other fire feature.”
“The brick fire pit is a great focal point for the patio because there is something mesmerizing about staring at a roaring fire,” Jay said. “These fire pits can be as simple or elaborate as the homeowner desires and with the range of colors we have, coordinating the colors among the other features of the patio is much easier.”
Tip #3: Don’t Scrimp on the Outside Kitchen
Kitchens, especially those found on the patio, are ranked high on the wish list of homeowners who plan to entertain guests at their home.
“The demand for a top-of-the-line patio kitchen is higher than ever among our custom home buyers,” Dan said. “We typically build an enclosed stainless-steel grill with a venting hood, as well as a serving counter and bar overhang.
Tip #4: Keep it Comfortable When It’s Cold (or Hot) Outside
Advances in heating and air conditioning have done more for patio entertaining than just about any other factor. Custom home builders, like Haley Custom Homes, have perfected many ways to keep the outside temperature on the patio perfect, even in a blizzard.
“Temperature control is the number one request from our clients,” Dan said. “Obviously, we have hot summers and frigid winters, but our homeowners still want to have access to their favorite entertainment space: their patio.
“We developed a strategy of unobtrusively placing either the electric or gas heating and air conditioning units in the overhang of the patio ceiling with the vents flush with the ceiling. This allows the homeowner to have excellent climate control in any weather.”
Tip #5: Entertainment Tonight…Outside
Whether it’s the Denver Broncos playing in the Super Bowl, the Colorado Rockies in a pennant chase or a must-see movie, custom homeowners want their electronic entertainment whenever and wherever they happen to be at the time. This is why state-of-the-art video and audio entertainment systems on the patio are so popular.
“While we can add any level of entertainment system to our client’s patio, every patio has a big screen television and the highest quality speakers as a basic amenity,” Dan said. “We can also add special lighting and dimmers for movie watching, connections to the internet and just about any other electronic gadget known to man.”
Want more ideas on a fun, functional, and altogether fabulous custom patio? Contact Dan Fuller at Haley Custom Homes. For information on incorporating brick in your design, contact Jay Cox at Acme Brick.