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Friday, April 1, 2011

Outdoor spaces are a must at the lake

Built on Lake Wedowee
by Max Fulbright


With a shifting economy and rising gas prices many families are choosing not to travel as much as they used to. As we all know, the traditional trip to the beach can get very expensive. Spending more time at the lake is a great way to get away from it all for a fraction of the cost.

We all want to connect with the outdoors, and what better place to connect than at the lake? Incorporating outdoor living spaces into your home can greatly increase your homes enjoyment and value.

With a well thought out design, you can capture the essence of nature and bring the outdoors to you.

A great way to accomplish this feeling is by designing a covered porch with all the major necessities you need for a comfortable living. This area can be screened or left open. An outdoor fireplace is a popular addition to an outdoor porch. A hearth high enough to sit on and back up to the fire is a must. Wiring for an outdoor television and sound system can be inexpensive ways to add value and enjoyment. What better way to watch the big game than at the lake, on your porch, in front of the fire?

Making the porch large enough to include an outdoor dining area is a great idea. The more time you spend outside, the more relaxed you’ll feel. If outdoor dining is part of the design, locate the porch near the kitchen and grill areas for convenience.

If the porch is too expensive, install a fire pit near the lake and away from the house. You can hire the pros or you can do it yourself. Fire pits can be raised with a ledge around them for sitting or they can be recessed into the ground for a more natural look. A raised ledge around the fire pit should be 18” to 22” off the ground for a comfortable sitting height.
Design in a drainage system for your fire pit so that it doesn’t become a mosquito bath. Locate it away from any structures and install a convenient water source to keep the fire under control. The area around the fire pit can be concrete, stone, gravel or even grass.

Outdoor kitchens are also becoming very popular. High end outdoor kitchens include gas grills, vent hoods, refrigerators, and other appliances. Don’t forget a space for the Big Green Egg. These appliances can be built into a work station encased in stone and with granite tops.

A less expensive outdoor cooking area can be accomplished by adding a grill deck. Believe it or not, food cooked on a grill deck on a traditional charcoal grill can taste just as good if you’ve got the right “grill master”. Locate the grill deck near the kitchen to save steps.

Don’t forget a built in place for the chef to sit while he waits for the perfect moment to turn the steaks. This seat should be comfortable. It should have a place for his favorite beverage and a great view of the lake. This seat should make him feel like a KING……not like the poor soul who is paying for all of this  AND cooking while his wife and kids are happily splashing in the lake below.



Max Fulbright has designed and built dozens of homes on Lake Wedowee.


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