The demand for outdoor living remains strong, and outdoor living structures are the backbone of a backyard landscape.
Pergolas, Decks, Patios, Arbors and Other Outdoor Living Structures
By Rob Fanjoy, HGTV.com
During the last few years, the backyard living concept has evolved from a deck or patio area (with a pool for the more fortunate) to true outdoor living spaces complete with full kitchens, eating, sitting and living areas (with surround sound and HDTV for the very fortunate). And with this rise in the popularity of outdoor living spaces, it’s no surprise that outdoor structures such as gazebos, arbors, trellises, pergolas and the like are also more in demand.
“People aren’t looking for a simple outdoor space anymore. They’re thinking in terms of defining spaces with walls, ceilings and roofs, but only in an open sense to blend with the outdoors,” says Ernie Sears, president and owner of Backyard America of Manassas, Va. Ernie began his business as a building contractor specializing in outdoor living structures, but since 1998 has been providing design services and fabricating kits for customers all over the country.
Michael Mendelsohn, owner of Mendelsohn Construction in Scottsdale, Ariz., is also seeing his business grow as a result of more outdoor living structures. “Every home I’m doing, we’re enlarging the back patio areas — even after the plans are done. People want more multi-use living centers with TVs and full kitchens.”
For Contractors, Not Much Difference
Most outdoor structures are some sort of variation or combination of a deck, patio, pergola, arbor, trellis or gazebo, and sometimes they may be of a custom design or even go by different names to reflect their function or region of the country (lanai, ramada, veranda). But they all serve the same basic function: to provide an aesthetically pleasing place to hang light fixtures, fans or A/V equipment, provide shade or a break from the wind, and even as a place to locate cooling misters or infrared heaters.
“These structures are all about expanding use,” says Ernie. “People want to get more useful hours per day and more useful days per year from the outdoor living spaces.”
Read more at HGTV.com