Outdoor living has been a significant lifestyle trend for many years. First, the wheeled-Weber grill grew into a larger stainless steel gas-fired barbecue island near the patio table. Then we added an arbor or trellis over the table to provide some daytime shade and support overhead lighting for nighttime meals. Barbecue islands became outdoor kitchens with storage, sinks, and refrigerators. Ultimately, the trellis was replaced with a solid roof over a larger dining table, sofas, 4K flatscreens, and other traditionally indoor luxuries, completing the evolution of the outdoor living space.
Outdoor living has changed the way we use our home and provided us with an amazing lifestyle where we get to enjoy the exterior even while doing something as traditional as family-movie night. Fortunately, we live in San Diego where our climate allows us to use the backyard throughout the year. In fact, Thanksgiving 2017 was our 3rd thankful holiday spent eating dinner outside under the heat lamps and even enjoying three different pies around the fire-pit.
When it comes to outdoor living there is an element of adventure about it. It's a destination. A memorable experience filled with family and friends having fun. The first year we hosted Thanksgiving we had our usual gathering of about 25 people and it actually rained. We had seating for everyone out of the rain but with our history of drought there were times when some of us just stood in rain staring at the sky and thanking God for the much needed blessing. The family had so much fun there was no time for the traditional Thanksgiving family drama and we were truly happy enjoying each other's company.
One major consideration for us building such a great destination in our backyard was our kids. We wanted them to host their friends where we could supervise without them having to be inside the house. Close enough to be safe but in a space that they could believe was their own. And, a place where their friends' parents could also feel welcome and safe for their kids. The plan works and on average I think our kids spend at least 50% of their time here despite having lots of friends and opportunities to visit elsewhere.
Another great example of going to our "destination" is enjoying a movie in the man-cave. Jennifer will suggest that we "go out for a movie" and quickly follows up with "I'll get the popcorn machine warmed up if you don't mind cooking a few hot dogs." Twenty minutes later we are all situated on the couch outside with our hot dogs, popcorn, diet sodas, and M&Ms as the movie begins. Since the man-cave has a full bathroom we don't need to walk back to the house until the final credits are rolling. At the end of the night we actually feel like we left the house for the entertainment.
In the future I will provide more details on my own outdoor living area as well as some great things we have been involved with for other clients. For now I'll just say that my outdoor kitchen is larger than our indoor kitchen and the man-cave is larger than our indoor family room. It isn't hard to see why we spend so much time enjoying our great outdoors - we have truly brought the inside out.