A Better Backyard

In the Atlanta-area this week, summer paid a visit. The warm air brought visions of poolside siestas, lake breezes, and ice cold margaritas on the deck. Or maybe you got a whiff of baking concrete, the feeling you need another shower by the time you arrive at work, or the listless feeling of laying on your couch waiting for your struggling A/C to keep up with the Georgia heat. A common theme emerges. Whether you despise summer weather or love it, everyone wants to stay cool in spite of it. 

Don't let that desire coop you up in the house -- create a space for your backyard where you can stay cool and enjoy the best that summer livin' has to offer. What your backyard needs is a pergola, or is it a gazebo? Maybe an arbor? Here are Benjamin Andrew Construction's top 5 Outdoor Living Guide to get you started. 

1. DECK 

deck - a platformlike structure, typically made of lumber and unroofed, attached to a house or other building. Originally referred to horizontal planking on a ship's deck.

Decks are pretty common in our area -- but yours does not have to be! Decks are the perfect way to bring the outdoors and extra living space closer to your living spaces. The landing and extra wide-staircase make transporting all of the fun back and forth to the pool easy and family friendly.

This second story provides a covered area underneath, complete with an under deck ceiling. The extra detail on the finishing out the deck makes this a one of a kind in this Atlanta neighborhood. 

This deck has been given a roof and screening to keep the party going rain or shine! One of our favorite projects!

3. PERGOLA

per•go•la - an archway in a garden or park consisting of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants.

Don't need a deck but desperately want to add some visual impact and shade to your backyard? A pergola is a perfect structure to add. They are perfect for adding some organic shade -- plant a Honeysuckle vine or Clematis. Or maybe the fast growing annual, Morning Glory, is more your style (and timeline). The firepit is a lower cost investment than an outdoor fireplace, but provides that cozy spot to gather during the cooler months.

3. GAZEBO

ga•ze•bo - a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area, typically used for relaxation or entertainment

This gazebo provides much needed shade for the walkway between the main structure and detached garage, but it does so much more than that. A vaulted ceiling, timber framing, ceiling fan, and wicker living room set make this transitional space into an extension of the home, a perfect stopping place for friends and family with drink in hand and bocce on the lawn. 

4. OUTDOOR KITCHEN

out•door kit•chen - An outdoor cooking area that features almost all or any of the capabilities of an indoor kitchen, centered on the grill.

This one is a bit counterintuitive -- how does adding an outdoor kitchen help you stay cool? Same reason we love to grill out in the summertime. It keeps the house cooler! The outdoor kitchen is perfect project for your grilling pro. The outdoor kitchen market is growing in the U.S.,  because "they expand a home’s livable square footage and their return on investment is comparable to an indoor kitchen remodel" says Michele SanFilippo of Casual Living MagazineGoing much further than just a space for a grill, outdoor kitchens can feature refrigerators, sinks, and plenty of prep space. 

5. CABANA

ca•ban•a - a cabin, hut, or shelter, especially one at a beach or swimming pool

This one has to be our all-time favorite Outdoor Living Project. This cabana has a classic design, with double columns, stone pediments, timber-lined ceiling and beautiful metal roof. Simple yet absolutely stunning-- it is the perfect spot to relax, read a book, keep an eye on the kids, or host an elegant cocktail party by the pool. 

We'd love to help you transform your backyard with one of these outdoor living projects. Let's talk!

Want to collaborate with Benjamin Andrew Construction on an ideabook for your next Outdoor Living Project? Start with our Houzz Ideabook.

Updated from a previous article published on Demolition, Design, and Installation 4/2016.