Nothing beats a summer evening on the patio—the stars, the fireflies and the fresh air—but since the summer solstice took place in mid-June, the sun is setting earlier each day. Make the most of the time you have outdoors this year by including amenities that ensure the sun never sets on your patio.
An outdoor living space that includes an outdoor kitchen and seating provides a place to gather but families are busier than ever, with parents working and kids participating in extracurricular activities, by the time everyone gets home and sits down to dinner it is often dusk.
Lighting can extend the use of such an outdoor living space allowing a family to enjoy their time together outdoors. Task lighting, which usually functions by a switch as needed, provides visibility to areas designed for cooking and dining. Landscape lighting can be used to create ambience and add beauty to the environment. Up-lighting is used to highlight the texture of trees and stonework, down-lighting casts a moonlit glow and path lighting improves visibility for safety. These lights can work off a switch or timer and photocell that cue them to come on at dusk and off at the designated time.
A pergola can help to further extend the time in which the outdoor living space can be enjoyed by ensuring it is protected from the elements. While open beam shade structures can offer some relief on a bright day, a solid roof protects from both sun and shower, allowing the family chef to barbecue no matter what the weather does. Of course, at any event, guests always seem to gather in the kitchen and with a well-designed dining space they can keep the cook company at nearby seating or even an outdoor counter-top bar under cover.
A roof protects not only the users but also any outdoor rated appliances it includes such as televisions, speakers and furniture. Additional amenities such as fans and heaters can also be mounted to the roof structure to make the space more comfortable in all seasons. While fall may seem far away, a fireplace will take the chill off of a cool night and make a pergola feel even more like an extension to the home. These features are often attached to the home but can also offer a destination in the yard adjacent to the pool or gardens.
Whether open-beam or solidly covered, the sky is the limit when designing an outdoor living space that includes a pergola.