Middle Tennesseans make the most of outdoor space

Photography by Ruby and Peach Photography and Paige Rumore Photography

When fall means mostly mild weather peppered with the occasional 90-degree day, enjoying time outdoors is a big part of how Middle Tennesseans spend their time.

And you don’t need that much space to make outdoor magic happen. Seth Argo with Focus Builders says it all has to do with your total area — lot size, house size, garage placement and drive and parking space — and an outdoor space that boosts life at home can always be figured out with the help of some professionals.

“It’s a fairly involved process that you have to go through, and it’s a team effort,” Argo says. “The landscape architect is involved, the civil engineer is involved, the builder is involved, and they all are looking at it together, trying to figure it out, trying to make it the best it can be. Unless you have a two-acre lot; then you can really do whatever you want.”

Popular options are a combination of a screened-in porch with an outdoor kitchen, or perhaps a smaller screened-in porch with a patio, fire pit, or a bar — it’s all about the homeowners’ preferences.

Current trends include the outdoor fireplace, especially if there’s a large-screen television hanging over it. Grills are a must, too, and if they’re built with a dedicated gas line? Even better. Argo says many people are adding Green Eggs, keg refrigerators and wine chillers.

“I have many clients who will just hang out in the afternoon on a Saturday in the fall and watch football and drink beer and cook,” he says.

When determining layout for an outdoor space, Argo says it’s all about knowing how to make life the most convenient: How far do you want carry that full plate of steaks back to your kitchen? Where will the smoker not smoke up the house?

“It’s a matter of planning,” he says. “For $10,000 you can have a really nice outdoor cooking area without having to go with a large countertop, extended bar, refrigeration and coolers and kegerators. You don’t have to go that far to have something that adds great value to your home and makes life super-convenient.”

* Some styling done by Blaire Murfree of Blaire Designs