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Installing an outdoor room at end of season can be a bargain


Carson Arthur

Carson Arthur

For the last 10 years, the term ‘Outdoor Room’ has been used by realtors and homeowners to refer to any type of seating outside. The truth is, you can’t assume that if you have a deck or a patio, you have an outdoor room.

Even better, installing an outdoor room at the end of the season can save you thousands of dollars, as more construction companies are available to bid on your job in the fall then they are in the busy spring. Just make sure you add a heat source so that you can use your amazing space for as long as possible.

Here are the key items that you need to create the perfect outdoor room:

1. Flooring. Just like any indoor room, your outdoor space needs a good floor. Decks and patios have traditionally been the best choice because they hold their value the longest with minimal effort. When choosing the best floor for your outdoor space, budget is always important. My favourite way to spend less and get the biggest return is to use one of the new types of pre-stained pressure treated wood that looks like cedar but costs significantly less and allows you to create the impression of an outdoor hardwood floor with less maintenance. An alternate to traditional wood, composite decking has grown in popularity even though it costs more. If you already have a patio or a deck, consider adding an outdoor area rug. A well-placed rug can define a space, introduce a colour scheme or even create a focal point.

2. Walls. Outdoor walls are not just for hanging pots. The walls around your outdoor room are also very important to create privacy. Whenever I mention outdoor walls, people always assume that I’m referring to the fences around the property line. To me, the fence defines a boundary, whereas the walls around an outdoor room create intimacy and keep your guests from feeling like they are on display. The key to a successful privacy screen is to keep it close to where you actually need privacy.

3. Roof. Not just for blocking the sun, an outdoor roof defines the room. My favourite option will always be the pergola. Great for growing vines, creating ambience, even for hanging outdoor lights, the pergola makes any outdoor space feel welcoming and intimate. Some may think a pergola is purely decorative, but to me, when I walk into an outdoor room with a roof, it just feels right. It’s that intangible connection that you want a potential buyer to unconsciously notice.

Every renovation we make to our homes not only has to meet our needs as homeowners, it should also increase the home’s value. This idea of return-on-investment (ROI) has arguably become the most important factor influencing how we spend our renovation budgets. An outdoor room is a fantastic way to increase home value, but also gives your family more living space. Who could ask for more?


-Landscape designer Carson Arthur is host of HGTV’s new Home to Win show. He is also the outdoor expert with City TV’s Cityline and wrote the sell-out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living in 2015. More at Click here for previous columns

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