Think outside the house: outdoor living spaces

Baby boomers are downsizing to smaller homes.

As the square footage of homes gets smaller, homeowners are discovering that the comforts of home are no longer defined by four walls.

They are literally thinking outside the box, expanding their living spaces into the natural environment and creating year-round activity centers in the great outdoors. In fact, a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens magazine revealed that 68 percent of homeowners say that an outdoor grilling and living area is a top priority.

Creating an outdoor sanctuary for reading, dining, relaxing or playing is well with-in reach of the average homeowner.

First, outdoor space is generally less expensive for build out than interior space, so it is an economically savvy solution to expanding living space across a wide range of budgets.

Also, with the help of a local contractor, a master plan can be developed that is implemented in phases over time.