Home Guru

Being Outside is the New Place to Be – Even at Home

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By Bill Primavera

When I was an adolescent, I had a loyal little mutt named Satin (because her coat was so shiny) who would go wild, leaping up and down when I asked if she wanted to go outside?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic fell upon us, outside has become the operative word to everybody, denoting a safer environment in which we can breathe mask-free. Restaurants in particular have been promoting the availability of outdoor dining so that patrons can feel safer when not wearing a mask in order to eat.

But I have always been the advocate for moving activities outdoors, from dining to front lawn games – especially outdoor dining.

When I first moved to Westchester, I bought an antique home, built in 1734 as a small cottage and later expanded with two additional wings. As the house expanded, it formed a back patio area that was behind the main house and made more private by the two wings that extended from the structure. That configuration created an ideal spot for a private patio for socialization. Once the weather permitted, we would consume every dinner in that space, which conveniently was directly off the back kitchen door.

That patio provided such a gratifying experience as a do-it-yourself project because it was so easy to create. I just had a truckload of course gravel delivered, which I spread out evenly across the space to provide drainage. Then I topped it with sand, which I again evened out. 

As I would lay sections of brick on top of the sand, I would cover them with sand and then spray with a hose to have the sand fill in all the empty slivers of space between the bricks. Rather than a complicated pattern such as basketweave or herringbone, I chose just a linear pattern where each brick met with the middle of the bricks next to it. The final product was without a doubt the most utilized feature of the entire property.

My backyard effort was so successful that we subsequently created a front-of-the house terrace overlooking our lawn that sloped slightly downward. This time, I utilized 30-inch by 24-inch slabs of bluestone, each surrounded by a one-brick-wide brick frame. It was our favorite spot to linger and relax after dinner each evening.

For many years we had a friend who served as the entertainment editor for the Daily News. When we visited her home, we were delighted to find that she had created not one but many areas in the back of her house for outdoor entertainment. Those closest to the house were the best appointed with paving squares and outdoor furniture, but they diminished in size and furnishings until the last location, which was a two-foot by two-foot outpost with a gravel floor and two folding chairs.

After that, my wife and I created several other outdoor spaces for dining and relaxation, dedicating each of them to our dear friend who guided our thinking about all the ways to enjoy the great outdoors, right outside our back door.

The big payoff came when we could afford a large inground pool in the shape of a pond with a patio that became our favorite spot for outdoor entertainment, not only for us, but for our friends and daughter’s friends.

Now I live in Trump Park in Yorktown, a five-story building with no direct access to the outside from my unit, but we do enjoy a communal, large outside patio area and wonderful walking paths to a quarter-mile track and around a picturesque lake.  I may no longer be able to dig in the dirt, but there is an excellent maintenance staff that does that for us, beautifying the grounds.

All we have to do is enjoy stepping outdoors, with no work required.

Bill Primavera, while a publicist and journalist, is also a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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