6 Outdoor Design Ideas You’ll Love

Outdoor living spaces can be designed to fit your needs and style, and remain an important feature for homeowners and buyers alike. From hosting daytime gatherings to relaxing evenings, your property expands your living space and allows you to enjoy the outdoors. 

Here are six design features to take your outdoor living space to the next level:

Patio Doors

Oversized doors leading out to your patio or deck extend your interior living space to the outdoors. French patio doors are easy to open, bifold doors can create a larger entrance, and multi-slide patio doors can extend the length of the wall, with panels that tuck into pockets. Each one of these options opens up your indoor and outdoor living spaces for entertaining or relaxing at home. 

Covered Outdoor Area

A covered space creates more opportunities to be outside, whether the sun is shining so brightly you need shade, or a light rain begins. You can also create separate outdoor spaces, keeping one covered and others uncovered to meet everyone’s preferences. Awnings, gazebos, and screened porches are all options for covered outdoor space. 

Outdoor Kitchen

If you love to entertain, an outdoor kitchen makes it more convenient to prep food and drinks while hosting, but also limits the number of times your guests walk in and out of the house. 

Built-in cooking and prep stations provide everything you need to make meals outside, so you can enjoy your company and the weather. 

Irrigation System

Beautiful landscaping can be admired throughout the warmer months, making your property a serene reatreat. An irrigation system allows you to maintain your landscaping with less maintenance, giving you more time to enjoy the outdoors. 

Privacy

There are numerous ways to create privacy, no matter what type of property you own. Fencing, hedges, and landscaping can all create a private oasis for you to enjoy. 

Fire Pits

An outdoor fire pit is a wonderful way to create ambiance in your outdoor living space. Whether you opt for a built-in or portable fire pit,  you can cozy up on chilly evenings and extend the use of your outdoor space. 

Home Improvements for Aging in Place

In 2020, many people altered their homes for added comfort, private workspaces, and aging in place. Adults are choosing to forgo moving into a nursing home, whether they stay in their own residence or move in with family. 

You can make several modifications to your home to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for all who live there. Many are simple improvements you can make on your own, while others may require hiring a professional. Keep reading to learn more!

Interior Improvements 

Being able to move about safely, despite age or physical limitations, helps people remain independent. Here are some general modifications you can make to aid in mobility around the house:

  • Install handrails. Handrails aren’t just for stairs. Consider adding handrails in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. 
  • Install a stairlift. If going up and down the stairs is required, a stairlift makes it much more manageable. 
  • Automated features. Automated thermostats, blinds, and lighting allow you to make changes without having to stand up. 
  • Open Floor Plans. When possible, widen doorways and hallways. This is especially helpful for people who use a walker or wheelchair. 
  • Add carpet and anti-slip mats. The carpet adds some extra cushion when walking, and well as traction. Anti-slip strips can be added to the bottom of area rugs to reduce the chances of slipping. Anti-slip mats are also essential for the shower. 
  • Install a walk-in shower. A walk-in makes it easier to get in and out of the shower. Add a bench and handheld shower head for additional ease of use. 
  • Raise the toilet seat. This makes it easier to sit and stand back up. 

Exterior Improvements

A few select changes to the home’s exterior make it easier to come and go and make your outdoor living space more enjoyable for all. 

  • No-step entry. Installing a ramp next to the front or back steps allows easy access in and out of the home. Handrails on both sides of a ramp, and well as any exterior walkways, add extra support. 
  • Modify the door threshold. The slight difference between your porch or ramp and the floor inside the door can be enough to create a tripping hazard. To make a flush threshold, you can raise the porch or replace the doorframe. 
  • Exterior lighting. Ensure all walkways, outdoor living spaces, and entrances are well lit. 
  • Low-maintenance exterior and landscaping. As people age, the exterior of the home is often the most challenging to maintain. Make landscaping easier with an automatic sprinkler system and low-maintenance plants. You can also replace high-maintenance siding for vinyl or brick for less upkeep. 

With some simple features added to your existing space, you can help ensure your home is safe as you or your loved ones grow older. 

Spruce up your Outdoor Living Space

We’ve all been spending more time at home, and many are making the most of this time to clean, organize, and even complete some DIY projects. 

Now that the weather is warming up, we can all start utilizing our decks, porches, and patios, giving us a change of scenery and making out homes feel more spacious. 

Keep reading for tips to spruce up your outdoor living space. 

Replace hardware. 

How old are your doorknobs, house numbers, and outdoor light fixtures? Dingy fixtures can bring down the entire curb appeal. Replacing hardware creates a new style at a low cost. 

Add some color. 

Sometimes all it takes to spruce up an outdoor living area is to add a pop of color. This can easily be done with some fresh flowers and planters, which are readily available this time of year. If flowers aren’t enough, consider repainting your doors, or add a colorful outdoor rug to your space. 

Power wash your deck or patio. 

Winter elements can leave your deck or patio looking dingy. Power wash your outdoor living space for a quick revival. You can also give a fresh coat of paint or stain to the deck if needed. 

Clean up your patio furniture.

Don’t stop with the deck and patio – clean up your patio furniture. A deep clean might be all it takes to brighten up a table and chairs. Want to add a bit more comfort? Get new seat cushions or opt for some bright pillows that make seating more comfortable. 

Set the mood with outdoor lighting.

Efficient lighting allows you to use your outdoor space after the sun goes down, adds security, and can change the entire vibe. Accent lighting highlights beautiful landscaping, while bistro string lights set a fun mood. 

Add in some fun.

What does your dream backyard look like? Yard games, a new grill, outdoor bar, or firepit can all be easily incorporated into your living space. You can involve the whole family by taking on some DIY projects and designing the space together. 

Working on your outdoor space now will give you time to enjoy it during the summer. What outdoor projects are you taking on right now? 

4 Benefits of One-Level Living

One-level living does not mean cramped living quarters. In fact, a one-level floor plan lends to an open flow, high ceilings, and can easily provide space for all of your needs – without the need to go up and down the stairs. 

Accessibility

Accessibility is the most significant benefit to one-level living. With everything on one floor, the struggle of ascending and descending the stairs is eliminated. Whether you have a toddler in the house, elderly in-laws staying with you, or plan to retire in the home, one level is easier and safer to navigate. 

At The Residences at 66 High Street, The Whitfield and The Leete feature one-level units, with elevators that go from the parking garage or lobby up to each floor. 

Open Floor Plan Options

Open floor plans continue to be the most sought after design in homes. An open flow between the most used areas of the home – the kitchen, dining area, and living room – creates a feeling of connection. This holds true whether you are hosting a party or preparing a meal for your family.

With everything on one level, designing an open floor plan comes naturally. There is no family room in the basement or loft on the second level that becomes the gathering space. 

Increased Energy Efficiency

Single story homes usually have a floor plan that air naturally flows through. The HVAC system required for a one-level residence is more sustainable and generally less expensive than what is needed to heat and cool multiple levels properly. 

Easy to Maintain

Both the interior and exterior of single-level houses are easier to keep clean and maintain. Inside, your cleaning supplies and laundry room are on the same floor, which means you do not have to carry items up and down the stairs while cleaning. The exterior is also easier to maintain, whether you are power washing the siding, cleaning the windows, or clearing out gutters. 

With more people aging in place and staying in their homes throughout retirement, one-level living is becoming more sought after. Are you considering moving to a one-story residence? Contact us to discuss floor plan options. 

10 Questions to Ask if Buying New Construction

Brand new everything. No surprise issues behind the walls. Custom designed for your wants and needs. 

New construction is an opportunity for you to build your dream home. While the thought of moving into a never-lived-in-before house is blissful, there can be stressful moments throughout the process. A new build runs much smoother with patience and communication. This means you need to ask your questions upfront and stay in communication throughout the build. 

Below are ten questions to ask your builder or contractor when constructing a new home:

Who is my point of contact during the build?

There will be a lot of people on the construction site, and they may not always be the people you need to speak with. Find out who your point of contact is from the start, and stay consistent in communicating with that person. This will help to eliminate the run-around when you need an answer to a specific question. 

Is the lot included?

Before signing on, the budget will be one of the first things you discuss with your builder. Give your total budget upfront so the builder can keep that in mind as the project moves through each stage. Some builders will have the cost of the lot included in the sale price of the home, while others keep this as a separate transaction for the buyers. Find out whether you need to close on the lot before construction begins. 

What are standard fixtures and what is extra?

Generally speaking, builders have a model that comes with standard features. A builder specifications sheet will go through all standard features in the home. If you want extras and your budget allows for you, determine what is of most importance to you and let your builder know as early on in the build as possible. 

How much input can I have on design?

If starting from the beginning of the build, there can be a lot of flexibility in how much input you have in the design. As the home nears completion, there is less of a chance for you to build-to-suit

If you have a vision that is different than the standard features of extras the builder provides, speak with them to determine if what you want can be incorporated while sticking to your budget. 

When is the scheduled completion?

Once you have determined your budget and design plans, the builder can give you a scheduled completion date. This allows you to plan for how much time you need alternate housing. 

Is a builder’s warranty included?

Find out if the builder’s warranty comes with the completion of the house. Knowing the builder will fix issues that may arise after the sale of the home can eliminate a lot of stress. 

Is landscaping included?

An empty lot means there is a significant amount of work to do with landscaping. If landscaping is not included with the build, you will want to put some of your budget aside so that you can attend to your property. 

Are there homeowner rules?

Is the new home in a development or condominium complex? Find out what the homeowner association rules and regulations, along with the monthly fees, are. It’s best to know this first so that your dream home is also in your dream community. 

Do I need a home inspection?

You may think that because the construction is brand new that you don’t need a home inspection. But it’s important to know that everything has been built up to code. Inspectors know what to look for in newly constructed homes. 

Are there energy-saving features in the home?

Energy-saving features help you live sustainably and can also help save you money on monthly payments. Every year, there are new and advanced technologies to make your home more sustainable and more comfortable. Find out what the builder is doing to keep the build eco-friendly. 

Do you have more questions about new construction process? Contact us.

The Benefits of Landscaping

Landscaping does more than just create beautiful curb appeal. Taking care of your property, whether a single-family residence, a condominium community, or a commercial development, has environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Environmental Benefits

Maintaining your lawn or property helps to protect you and the environment. Here are some of the ways landscaping helps the environment:

  • A lawn helps to control temperature extremes. In summer months, grass is cooler than pavement or cement, and trees that provide shade help cool down the property and home even more.
  • Grass helps to capture dust and pollutants and produces oxygen, keeping the air we breathe cleaner.
  • Pollutants and storm runoff are reduced when healthy lawns absorb water, which reduces local flooding and keeps polluted water out of larger bodies of water.

Economic Benefits

Along with helping the environment, a well-cared for property has economic benefits for homeowners and business owners alike:

  • Curb appeal is the first thing people notice when looking to buy a home. A beautiful property can increase the value of your home and reduce the time your property is on the market.
  • Residents of apartment complexes or condominiums are likely to pay more to live in a complex with grounds that are well cared for. HOA fees generally take care of landscaping, which means residents can enjoy the benefits of the property without having to care for it themselves.
  • In commercial spaces, green space encourages shoppers to spend more time at the development and increases property values.

Health Benefits

Landscaping also positively impacts health, both at home and work environments.

  • By filtering pollutants, landscaping helps to clean to the air.
  • In workplaces, landscaped areas help to decrease stress and increase positive mood, even if just looking out a window.
  • A well-planned property can provide privacy and a beautiful environment where you can spend time with loved ones.

With warmer weather approaching, now is the time to get started on your landscaping, so that you can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors for the next several months.

How Secure is a Multi-Home Building?

Despite the advantages of moving into a multi-home community, it is natural for residents to have concerns about security. With a steady flow of residents, visitors, workers, or mail and delivery services in close proximity to your home and belongings, it is important to be sure you and your belongings are safe.

In condominiums and apartment buildings, there are various ways to ensure a true sense of security. As listed on the Peace of Mind Technologies (POM) website, these might include:

  • Establishing a cooperative culture of security: All residents should establish clear expectations regarding security measures and take responsibility for the health and safety of the entire residential community. Cooperation is key.
  • Landscaping: Carefully manicured landscapes and green space help signal to visitors that the property is cared for and monitored.
  • Access control: POM suggests that key cards, rather than keys, are a great security measure as they can digitally log entry and exit into a given building.
  • Remote monitoring and remote access for deliveries: Security personnel can manage the flow of vendors or package deliveries and grant them access to a designated room for deliveries. Separating delivery traffic from residential traffic improves overall security.
  • Motion detectors: Similar to security measures like cameras and lights, motion detectors can be monitored remotely and sense intruders.

Our ongoing luxury condominium project – The Residences at 66 High Street – has adopted similar methods for enhancing security.

For one, current and future residents at High Street make up an unbelievably caring and trustworthy community. The landscaping is also constantly maintained. As far as the building is concerned, there are cameras throughout the buildings to monitor all points of entry. In order to enter the building, residents are given a unit-specific code to enter on a keypad. Additionally, each residence comes equipped with cameras in the foyer and security systems.

The opportunity to live at The Residence at 66 High Street and be within walking distance of historic downtown Guilford and the train station is one to be enjoyed. As it is our job to ensure this enjoyment, we want to do all we can to give residents peace of mind and make them feel safe in and away from home.

 

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