Growing Your Home from Within
We’ve talked about saving space in your home which will make it look bigger. It will also make you more organized and might even amaze some of your guests with the creative look. But the fact is that as your family grows your house still stays the same size unless you do something about it. With a little work, and money of course, your home can grow and become stylish and / or functional at the same time. It all depends on what you want to get out of your home, how you want it to work and whether or not you are going to make use of the space. For the purpose of this article we are going to explore adding on to the house from the outside rather than from the inside. Depending on your area and how your house is zoned however you might need to get a permit or file blueprint changes before you do anything too drastic.
About The Deck
Stepping out into the yard you might just literally have some steps, but this can change by either doing it yourself or hiring a good contractor to build you a deck. A deck is a wooden structure that is generally built off the back door or patio door and leads to the backyard. It is usually covered providing extra shade and can be used for a variety of purposes, mostly for relaxing though. It is an extension of the house with the step or steps that would normally lead down to the yard at the other end or sides of the deck. The deck is generally made of wood, and can make a great lounge or barbecue area. The wood color differs with the type of wood you use or with staining if you want a darker look. If you have a love of gardening the deck can actually be used as an extension into your garden, almost like a beacon. By using deck planters or rail planters you can plants flowers along the handrail of the deck. Because the deck is made of wood you will want to be careful of charcoal barbecues since they contain an open flame and can burn down your deck.
Much like the porch in the front yard, the deck can just be used for a place to lounge, without the watchful eye of the neighbors. Depending on how high off the ground it is, the underside can make a great storage area that is away from the elements. However, it will become a place that small critters and bugs could nest so make sure it is kept clean. A deck doesn’t have to be on the ground either, but rather off the upstairs bedroom which makes a perfect place for sunbathing
The Extra Room
If you want to enclose the deck, essentially turning it into an extra room, although not hooked to any of the water or air from the house you can create an outdoor dining area that is free from the elements but still allows you to be out in the fresh air. By simply framing the outer two walls that are not attached to the house you can create a room that is open to the air. Install a couple of small ceiling fans to blow the air around and use screen mesh on the open frame. Once it is sealed in you can be outside without having the bugs. You can even place a door that leads directly inside or just have it reachable from the outside only. If you live in the countryside a skylight would give you a perfect place to sit and enjoy the night sky, or you can even mesh the roof as well. (While this might be good for nights it doesn’t protect from the sun during the day or rain or snowy weather either.)
If you are able to knock down a wall and add on to your house, maybe even keep the wall and adding a door instead you can gain an extra room. Depending on how much yard space you are willing to lose this could easily become an extra closet, or an entirely new bedroom. If you have no building experience it is recommended that you hire an expert to take on the job. You will need power in the room and the walls need to be able to support the roof, which you will also need to modify to fit the room as well.
The Shed or Garden Storage
The shed is something that some people shy away from thinking it looks tacky or ominous in the yard. It might be a place to fear from their childhood, where snakes or rats would hide out, or weird tools that they didn’t know about were placed there. Sheds are not scary, nor do they need to look tacky as they are simply a place to store things. Think of them as a miniature garage that you can design as your own space. You can either purchase sheds, known as tough sheds and have them installed in your backyard giving you a place to store things such as the lawnmower, gardening tools, household decorations, snow equipment or anything you don’t want in the garage.
If you don’t have a garage or just have a covered awning that your car sits in, a shed offers the storage space and much more. The manufactured sheds can be easily taken down making them an easy addition, especially if zoning laws don’t permit you to build anything on your property. A shed that is built will last a lot longer, and might require light maintenance from time to time just as your house does in case of leaks.
My grandparents came from a time where you build everything yourself, and after visiting their home recently I was able to see that a shed is more than another structure. In fact, my grandparents have four sheds and a greenhouse besides them.
One shed holds all the gardening items for the greenhouse along with extra wood, firewood and ladders. Another shed has been turned into my grandmother’s private workout place, complete with air cycling through it. A third shed holds all decorations for the house during the holidays along with luggage, and household items that have little place in the home except on occasion. The fourth shed is my grandfather’s private place, his man cave of sorts where he has his little workshop. All of them are made of wood, and structurally sound just like the house. They are all weather proofed, and two of them cycle air with windows on the backside. Each has their own decorations in them to mark them as their own, and they blend in with house.
Some people might think that a shed could take away from the aesthetics of the yard or the house, but fail to realize that you can design it yourself if it is built rather than manufactured. And the built structure does last a lot longer.