Outdoor living space is one of the most sought after features in the DC-Maryland area when it comes to custom home plans. An outdoor living area provides living space without necessarily having to include walls and a roof. They are a major selling point for homes nationwide; about 95 percent of people nationwide want a complete outdoor living space. They’re not just for the elite custom home buyers either. Exterior living areas are conceivable for every buyer profile if executed correctly.

Exterior rooms offer a private, peaceful, and pleasant place for summer living in the DC area. In order to make these outdoor living spaces a seamless part of the overall house plan, here are some things to consider.

Position and placement

The placement of an outdoor space–whether front, side, or rear–is vital to the way a home feels and flows. Generally, the architectural style of the home, the landscape, and of course, scale, are important when deciding the ideal location of the space. It’s important to consider these aspects so that the exterior room will get regular use and increase the overall home value.

  • Front – Popular in Spanish or Tuscan style architecture, a outdoor forecourt multitasks as an entryway and an outdoor living space. The front positioning adds great value for families that enjoy spending time outside with children and neighbors.
  • Rear – The back of the home is generally the simplest, most cost-effective, and versatile places to add outdoor living space. It’s typically the most intimate type of outdoor space. Depending on the scale and width of the home, it can be placed in the center, or right/left rear.
  • Side – The side of a home can offer the best of both worlds –the privacy and security, as well as the ability to feel connected to neighbors and keep an eye on the kids. It’s also easy to execute as only two parts of the house are connected.

Consider this: The outdoor room should beckon people to step outside and use it. Utilizing the home style and layout to connect exterior living space to the most-used rooms makes sense and helps organize the rest of the plan (i.e., Craftsman homes are known for iconic front and wrap-around porches).


Outdoor living should be an extension of indoor living, or in other words, it should make sense for ease of livability. The object is to bring the indoors out and the outdoors in. Think of it this way: placing an outdoor space off of a master bedroom may seem like a nice, private getaway, but what if there’s company over? Consider which rooms will open out to the exterior space, and determine the way they connect. Are they public or private rooms? Does it make sense for ease of livability?

An inviting and inspiring outdoor living space is more than just a luxury. With proper planning, it can transition indoor living to seamless outdoor living–perfect for those DC summer nights.

Working with an experienced custom home builder will ensure your new outdoor living area promotes functional flow, highlights the key features you desire, eases your livability, and feels like an extension of you. Sandy Spring Builders is the ideal candidate. Contact us today to start enjoying the outdoors.