Simple Ways to Add Polish to Outdoor Living Spaces

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Builders and remodelers can elevate outdoor spaces in numerous ways, and they don’t have to break the bank.
Simple Ways to Add Polish to Outdoor Living Spaces Boral Building Products ConstructUtopia.com

Photo: Boral Building Products

It’s no secret that outdoor living is one of the biggest trends in home building and remodeling. Homeowners’ desire for cozy outdoor spaces, particularly those that blur the lines between indoors and out, has only grown since the pandemic.

In fact, in the most recent AIA Home Design Trends survey, 53% of architects reported increasing interest in outdoor spaces; interest in blended indoor/outdoor spaces also hovers near 50%.

As the trend toward outdoor living moves quickly to permanent must-have status, simply adding on a ho-hum deck isn’t going to be enough. Building pros can elevate outdoor spaces in numerous ways, and they don’t have to break the bank.

Here are a few simple and relatively inexpensive details to consider to add the finishing touch to your outdoor living spaces and take them to the next level. 

Create Indoor-Outdoor Connections

Not every home can have an eight-panel opening glass wall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create those connections that let in more light and expand the entertaining space. 

As Andersen Windows points out in a recent article, the standard French patio doors with sidelight windows can easily be replaced by a small multi-panel door with one or two sliding panels, helping to expand the clear opening to preserve views and create that desired indoor-outdoor connection. 

Another more budget-friendly option would be to include pass-through windows to create an indoor-outdoor bar, such as this project by Denny Sturgis Construction.

Detail the Deck

No matter the size of the deck, there are a few simple strategies to make it look more finished and polished. 

• Rather than leaving deck planks exposed, add fascia board around the perimeter to create a more finished look. TruExterior poly-ash trim can be painted or stained any color and can be used in contact with decking materials.

• For composite decks, hidden fasteners cost a little more but make a big difference in the look and feel of the deck. For grooved-edge boards, clip-style hardware stays completely hidden; for face-fastening, a plug system is the most hidden option, or, at minimum, choose color-matched screws.

• Add flair to composite decks with inlays and picture framing. These techniques can be used to add a decorative perimeter, break up long expanses, or create an outline around different areas, such as a sitting area or outdoor kitchen. 

• Don’t neglect lighting, which can add ambience, make the space safer, and extend its use later into the night and farther into colder months. Integrated post cap, railing, or stair lights can be easy and economical to add on or integrate.

• Add an accent wall or elevate the grill area with stone, such as panelized stone siding from Versetta Stone.

Simple Ways to Add Polish to Outdoor Living Spaces, Boral Building Products, ConstructUtopia.com Versetta Stone grill-feature

Amp up your outdoor buildings

A beautiful backyard can be the perfect spot for a studio, she shed, or ADU. But make sure it’s got style. A rickety wood shed or wobbly plastic structure can bring down the aesthetic of the whole outdoor space. Use real siding and trim, include accessories, and add landscaping.

This beautiful tiny house ADU by Koncept Design/Build, for example, looks just as good as a main house, with beautiful craftsmanship, on-trend black-framed windows and doors, and meticulous trimwork using TruExterior poly-ash trim

This garage/man cave by Adam Hass Fine Homebuilding also could pass for a main living space, with its traditional forms and well-thought-out details.

Even a storage shed can look a bit more refined, as seen with this example from Zuccon Works, which features richly colored siding and Kleer cellular PVC trim and window casings. 

Don’t Neglect the Accessories

It’s easy to leave the aftermarket accessories up to the homeowner, but why not complete the look or at least show them how?

For example, this flower box made with Kleer Lumber PVC trim not only offers a cleaner, more stylish look than run-of-the-mill planters, it’s durable and can be used in contact with the ground without moisture concerns.

Simple Ways to Add Polish to Outdoor Living Spaces, Boral Building Products, ConstructUtopia.com Kleer Large Flower Box

Kleer is also a fun choice for these Adirondack chairs. The teal offers a fun pop of color to the porch without too much commitment or with no concerns about resale value.

Simple Ways to Add Polish to Outdoor Living Spaces, Boral Building Products, ConstructUtopia.com Kleer Adirondack Chair

And don’t forget to finish the porch. Here, installers used TruExterior Beadboard in a soft robin’s egg blue to add to the vintage vibe of this wide porch.

Post wraps, such as these from Kleer, are a simple way to enhance the porch without adding extra maintenance needs.

Get more ideas for beautiful outdoor spaces in the TruExterior Idea Gallery and Versetta Stone Idea Gallery