Spring is the Perfect Time to Create an Outdoor Oasis
by Karyn Brodsky
Looking for a place to enjoy the great outdoors? Look no further than your own back yard! Outdoor living spaces bring the relaxation and festivity of a vacation right into your own backyard with high-tech electronics and appliances, built-ins and upscale furnishings. It’s the ideal place to entertain and connect with family, friends and neighbors.
Ann O’Blenes, Broker-Associate, Performance Partners Group, RE/Max Dallas Suburbs, says she is seeing a surge in buyers who want an outdoor living area, a bar/cooking/grill zone and a dining spot. She notes that popular outdoor spaces include areas that run the gamut from a fire pit to a multi-faceted fireplace. Even pizza ovens!
Pat Wilson, manager at Ed Kellum & Son in Dallas, says, “Our sales of pizza ovens have skyrocketed!” Wilson understands why people want a complete outdoor kitchen. “You get all the benefits of your indoor kitchen with the enjoyment of being outdoors,” she says. A built-in grill is a must, and Ed Kellum & Son has a huge array of sizes from all the finest brands. But there’s so much more than grills. “Outdoor retreats are getting more elaborate,” notes Wilson. “Many include under-the-counter refrigerators, ice sinks, wine coolers, pizza oven prep stations and beer taps.”
The enhancements don’t stop there. Chris Vaughan, a sales manager with award-winning audio video retailer Starpower, says they offer TVs designed to be used outdoors. “Outdoor TVs are completely encased and weatherproof; if they get dirty, they can be hosed off,” notes Vaughan. “The picture is great, even in direct sunlight.” At Starpower, he says, customers typically request the larger sizes from 55-inch and above for their outdoor oasis. The latest audio systems are designed so sound can envelope the entire yard. Unobtrusive speakers look like landscape lights and buried subwoofers create rich bass and a full, well-rounded stereo sound. Even better, the systems can be controlled by your smart phone.
The idyllic outdoor space is not complete without furnishings. Designer Deborah Cowart of Beaver Creek Interiors in Frisco recommends mixing materials and pulling indoor colors outside, so you have continuity and flow. She suggests homeowners keep sofa and chair cushions neutral while adding a pop of color with pillows and accessories. “Buy good quality cushion fabric upfront, so it lasts,” says Cowart. “Since many items don’t endure the hot Texas sun, it’s easier to replace less costly accessories.”
So, are the upgrades worth it?
You bet, says O’Blenes. She has a fabulous outdoor living space with retractable screens, gas heaters for winter and an in-ceiling misting system that cools the room 20 degrees below the outside temperature in the summer, so the room can be used year round. O’Blenes says that an outdoor living area provides more bang for the buck than any other room. “The return in Texas is about 150% of your investment.”
A return on investment is not the only benefit—your outdoor living space can help you get to know your neighbors. Stephanie Liebbe, marketing coordinator with Dallas-based Republic Property Group (RPG) notes that at Light Farms, a master-planned community in Celina, homeowners are getting to know one another by sharing outdoor areas. RPG added many amenities to Light Farms, including hike and bike trails, tennis courts, resort pools and plenty of greenbelt spaces. Liebbe says Light Farms’ homebuilders are answering buyers’ requests to return to a time when neighbors connected over backyard barbeques by constructing new homes with outdoor living areas that are extensions of the main house. “Neighbors make a community,” says Liebbe. “Home is more than just your street address—it’s a place where your neighbors become your friends.”
Whether you’re wanting a space to entertain or dreaming of a place to relax without the hassle of leaving home, an outdoor living area may be just the answer!
Ann O’Blenes, RealtyPerformancePartners.com
972.898.6600 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Wilson, Edkellum.com
972.503.6000 | Pwilson@star-power.com
Chris Vaughan, Star-power.com
972.503.6000, ext.1049 | Cvaughan@star-power.com
Stephanie Liebbe, Republic Property Group/Light Farms, lightfarmstx.com