Over the last several years, home decor and home improvement trends have literally been turned inside out, as more and more people chose to make the most of the space they have outside the four walls of their home to better embrace the idea of outdoor living. The COVID-19 pandemic has sent this trend into overdrive, as staycations become the norm, at least for the foreseeable future. and having great outdoor living space becomes a must.
Although all of these spaces are unique to their owners, there are certain elements that most homeowners seem to want to incorporate into their new landscape. A survey undertaken by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that 96% of the respondents rated a good outdoor lighting scheme as very important, and that as many people – 94% – planned to add a fire pit as did an outdoor seating area.
Potential Outdoor Living Dangers
As is the case for the inside of any home, the average outdoor living space can pose some health and safety risks. Consider these sobering facts:
- Approximately eight thousand structure fires annually can be attributed to a meal being cooked outdoors.
- Every year, emergency rooms across the country treat thousands of people for contact burns and other fire related injuries sustained from interaction with a fire pit.
- Unless they are properly installed, outdoor lights can pose a serious risk of fire and electrocution.
This should not put you off creating a great outdoor living space though. You will simply need to do so with the same caution as you would when making big changes to the interior of your home. Here are some of the things that should be kept in mind as you plan your new retreat:
- Check that any appliances you plan to use outdoors – refrigerators, televisions, fans for example – carry a UL mark that rates them appropriate for outdoor use.
- Ensure that any outdoor lighting is properly installed. To lessen risks even further, as well as save money on your energy bills, consider making use of solar lighting and solar decor technology instead.
- The efficiency of solar technology in general has improved in leaps and bounds over the last several years and some of the most attractive outdoor lighting options are in fact solar based. Solar lighting, and lighted accent pieces, also offer greater placement flexibility, as they do not have to rely on the main grid to function.
- Ensure that any fire pit or open grill is placed on a stable, flat surface that is located at least ten feet away from your home or other structures.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in close proximity to your grill or fire pit and make sure that everyone knows where it is and how to operate it.
- Never leave a burning fire pit or grill unattended, even if there are no children or pets in the vicinity. Before you head indoors for good, make sure that the fire is out completely.
Adding a formal outdoor space to your home can truly enhance your enjoyment of your property, and when executed with caution this home improvement can bring you and your family lots of outdoor fun and relaxation for many years to come.