Tale It Outside
02/27/2013 1:17 PM
02/27/2013 1:45 PM
By the mid-1960s, television and air conditioning had reduced outdoor living to an afterthought—a charcoal grill, plastic kiddie pool and maybe some aluminum lawn chairs. But today homeowners are spending big bucks to create outdoor retreats where they can enjoy time with family and friends and soak up the natural scenery. In fact many of these custom-designed outdoor living areas often rival the rooms indoors, with big-screen TVs, fireplaces, fountains and gourmet kitchens. “More people are looking to add livable square footage outside,” says Brandon Morris, owner of Mint Landscaping in Cornelius. “And they want customized designs that really stand out.” Morris worked on just such a project last year for the Dyckman family, who moved into a new lakefront home in Cornelius at the Peninsula in 2010. “There was a pool and the yard was nice, but the pieces weren’t integrated,” says Tammy Dyckman. “The yard was fenced and the pool was fenced within that. It was very disconnected. We wanted to create a living space where we could hang out, eat and keep our view of the lake.” Nine months and $150,000 later (which included a $40,000 refurbishing of the pool and Jacuzzi), the Dyckman family had a backyard to rival a luxury resort that felt open and connected. This new space includes a hexagon-shaped covered patio on one side of the pool and on the other a gazebo with a fireplace, big-screen TV, kitchen and bar area. Brandon also designed new retaining walls that provide definition and seating along with new stone pathways. Moreover, Brandon was able to create all these new covered livings areas without sacrificing the great view of the lake. “We absolutely love it,” says Tammy. “It’s where we spend much of our time. Even if it’s only for a half hour we come away feeling like we’ve been on vacation.”
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