When the sun shines, the most used room in your home is actually outside your door. During Park City’s glorious summers, your patio or deck can become your office, dining room, family room and favorite place to entertain. In recent years, designers have brought innovation and style to this room with furniture, fire pits and lighting. We asked some of Park City’s leading-edge consultants to give us some tips on taking patios from functional to fantastic.

Stacie Saltzgiver of Hamilton Park Interiors said, “The most important point to keep in mind is that your outdoor living space should be a direct reflection of you. Your outdoor living space should be a direct extension of your home and you should feel as comfortable outside as you do inside.” When you lay out your initial vision, consider the sight lines and smells that only your yard offers. For example, if you have a gorgeous mountain view, be sure to capture the magnificence. If you have a lush flower garden or planter pots, be sure to space them accordingly where the color pop and tranquil aroma are taken in.

Al fresco dining is one of the glories of summer. Everything seems to just taste better when it comes off the grill and is eaten in the fresh open air. Family and guests tend to linger around the table longer, enjoying the company and relaxed pace. San Francisco Design pointed out that placing a grill and dining set on your patio or deck should be done before other furniture is purchased, to make sure the space doesn’t become overcrowded. If there’s room, a fire pit or chiminea can be added to become the warm gathering spot for late night conversation and stargazing.

Daylight hours are only half the fun of being outdoors during the summer. Once the sun sets, professional patio and landscape lighting can turn the evening hours into a relaxing, warm time with family and friends or a festive party that enlivens your guests. Th e father and son team of Keith and Ty Rosser, owners of Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah have years of experience in this field to draw upon. “Well-lit spaces create a scene that provides both ambiance and function,” said Ty. “To gain maximum function, options that can create different atmospheres need to be included.” For example, soft up-lighting of trees and smooth light washes over seating areas produce an intimate space, while bright strings of lights make for a more festive atmosphere. Both should be offered in a good installation. During the winter months, landscape lighting turns dark windowpanes into portraits that give depth and emotion to any room. “Also, we avoid light pollution of the magnificent Park City night skies by using only low-voltage LED fixtures,” said Keith.

Realtor Erik Schlopy of Team Schlopy has seen a strong buyer preference for outdoor spaces that include low maintenance landscaping.

“Something important to consider is sun exposure. We can have warm afternoons in Park City during the summer months, so southwest facing patios usually will need some kind of shade,” said Erik. Trees are wonderful, but consult a local arborist before choosing a species to make sure they can flourish in our climate. Heat is also something to consider when choosing materials for floors and furniture. Pavers have become very popular locally because they won’t crack and if anything happens, you can extract one at a time instead of having to redo the entire surface. Aluminum and recycled plastic are both great choices for furniture because they don’t rust and resist chipping.

Otto/Walker Architects has designed homes with patios and decks that are year-round rooms with the addition of removable windows. During the summer, the room can be opened up to let the breezes waft through, then closed and heated during the winter months so you can keep on enjoying being so close to nature. Realtors also report that this design will oft en be included in the total square footage of your home, which increases its value.

The cool mountains and clear blue skies that surround Park City make the summer months possibly the best season of all. Spend every minute you can enjoying it by creating a patio or deck that brings all that’s to be enjoyed in nature right to your own backyard.

By Annette Velarde

SOURCEAnnette Velarde
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