When we’re talking outdoor living spaces with our landscape design clients in Knoxville, Tenn., we often talk about how to make outdoor kitchens and outdoor living areas seem more like interior rooms. One way to do that is by putting a roof on those spaces. There are many options for doing just that and they come with a variety of pros, cons and price points. Here are four options to consider:

1. Extend the Roof From Your House

Cost: $$$$

roof-extension-outdoor-living-space-carex-design-groupAlthough it’s the most expensive option, extending the roof of your house to incorporate and cover an outdoor living space is by far the most seamless transition you can get from indoors to outdoors. With this option, you can get outdoors without venturing out from under cover, and your utilities for water, gas and electricity are easy to add since it’s close to your home. The downside is that it’s the most expensive option and will require the added hassle of permitting, inspection and building codes enforcement. It also requires some deconstruction of your home such as removing siding, soffits or shingles.

2. Free-Standing Pavilion

Cost: $$$
pavilion-outdoor-living-space-carex-design-groupA slightly more affordable option would be a free-standing covered pavilion. Pavilions are very popular right now in the Knoxville area because they provide good rain and sun protection which make them ideal for outdoor TVs, electronics and appliances. Because pavilions have a regular shingled roof, you’ll be safe to keep that big screen tv outside, and you’ll see more longevity from your outdoor furniture, electronics and appliances since they’ll be protected from the elements. The downside is that you’re likely further from your house which means running electricity, water and gas can be more of a chore. Plus, food prep and other tasks where you’re headed in and out can be more challenging. Pavilions are also typically pretty large structures so most subdivision neighborhood yards aren’t big enough to accommodate them without the space looking crowded.

3. Wooden Pergola

Cost: $$
pergola-for-outdoor-living-space-carex-design-groupPergolas can be freestanding like the one pictured above that we designed for a home in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood of Knoxville or attached to your house, which makes them quite versatile. At Carex Design Group, we like pergolas for spaces that have a lot of hardscapes or brick and stone elements because the wood helps soften the overall look of the space. Pergolas can be covered with plexiglass, canvas or plant material that vines over the top. But even with the plexiglass option pergolas are not 100% water tight so it can be harder on your furniture and electronics. Pergolas can be designed quite simply or provide a lot of architectural interest from hardware, carvings or other flourishes. They also require a bit more maintenance than a roof extension or pavilion because they generally require cleaning, staining, painting or sealing every few years, more frequently if they’re in full sun.

4. Canopy or Awning

Cost: $
awning-outdoor-living-space-carex-design-groupCanopies or retractable or fixed awnings are by far the most affordable option. The great thing about canopies and awnings is that they’re easy to install and come in a variety of colors, textures and patterns making it easy to match the material to your property. The downside is that most products don’t weather very well and will eventually fade. They’re also not waterproof so you won’t be able to enjoy the space during those spring rain showers in Knoxville. At Carex Design Group, we advise against this option for high-end homes as they tend to look cheap next to the more expensive finishes of a million dollar house. We also advise against them for anyone who has a lot of architectural detail on the outside their home as it can difficult to properly mount them when working around reliefs and set backs of the exterior line of the house.

For help finding the right option for covering your outdoor space, fill out our contact form or call 865-765-5550.