Although it’s barely spring, summer is right around the corner. And nothing says summer like better outdoor spaces to play and work in! Now is the time to plan and install outdoor structures so you can spend the hottest days of the year taking advantage of the breeze and shade, while still being able to spend time in the great outdoors.
A Short List of Outdoor Structures
Outdoor structures offer endless possibilities when it comes to sizes, shapes, construction materials, and intended uses. However, there are a few that are hardcore backyard staples, to the point that some might argue a home is completely bare without them. Of course, the outdoor structures you choose will depend greatly on how you use your home, but here’s a short list to get you started.
- Patio covers. Already have a patio, but the sun’s putting the kibosh on your outdoor plans? It’s time for a patio cover. These very simple structures are essentially a roof for your patio, designed to seamlessly marry with your existing rooflines and structures. If a permanent roof isn’t possible, consider adding a shade sail, which can provide a great deal of shade with very little cost or maintenance.
- Pergolas and trellises. Looking for a fancy place to run some plants for natural shade with the added benefit of flowers, fruits, or foliage? Pergolas and trellises provide spaces for plants to climb, as well as providing broken shade throughout the day. The tighter the construction, the more shade you’ll have, but if you plan to train vines on your structure, leave ample room for growth.
- Decks. Of course, not all the best structures are aerial. There’s absolutely nothing like a nice deck. You get all the benefits of sitting outside without all the mud, grass, and bugs. What’s not to like? Decks allow for a lot of creativity and customization, too, with common add-ons like benches, fancy railings, and multiple levels to create even more interest.
- Screen porches. If you already have a deck or a patio that you like, and a roof on it, you can easily convert it to a screen porch with a few weekends’ worth of effort. With a screen porch, you can still enjoy the great outdoors, but without having to worry about stinging insects or debris that may be blowing on the wind.
- Gazebos. Looking for a freestanding structure away from your house? A gazebo or shelter may be a good choice. These largely open buildings feature a floor and a roof, and not a lot else, making them ideal for shady spots or poolside buildings. Hang a hammock inside and you’ve got the ideal summer relaxation spot.
- Recreational sheds. By now, most of us have heard of the “she shed,” but freestanding recreational sheds can be hideouts for anyone. Not a garage and not a house, a freestanding shed is a structure that allows you to create any kind of year-round space you can imagine. Add electricity and a heater, and even winter’s chill is no match for your outdoor studio space or reading room.
- Greenhouses. If you’ve got a green thumb, a greenhouse may be the perfect addition to your garden space. Even a small greenhouse structure will give you more room for plant-based experiments and somewhere to house your sensitive plants through the cold of the winter. Be sure to choose a model with excellent ventilation!