One of the greatest increases in demand we’ve seen with residential construction and renovations lately have been in outdoor living spaces.

At James River Construction (JRC)

One of the greatest increases in demand we’ve seen with residential construction and renovations lately have been in outdoor living spaces.

More and more people are taking advantage of the square footage outside of their homes to expand their usable living space. And while many of these projects center around a pool or outdoor kitchen, there are just as many outdoor living spaces that are simply outdoor versions of their indoor dining and living equivalents.


One quite literally big trend in outdoor living has been the outdoor great room. These wide open spaces are generally directly connected to the main home, are covered, may or may not be screened in, but include multiple seating areas. Generally they include a dining and living area space, but may also incorporate outdoor kitchens, bars, spas, work areas and more.

This Great (Outdoors) Room includes a cozy living area, dining space and outdoor kitchen – essentially a whole second main floor outside.


Many times in these great room spaces, the furniture and finishes feel more indoor than outdoor. Thanks to a major increase in styles and quality of outdoor furniture, you can get the look of a traditional living room that can also hold up to the weather of all four seasons. Plush upholstered couches, rugs, treated wood dining tables, even chandeliers and TVs are all designed with the outdoors in mind.

This outdoor great room incorporates plush upholstered furniture, a fireplace, ceiling fans and a TV to create a true living room feel.


Again, with the rise in outdoor living features and products comes the ability to use these spaces all year long. For many clients, a central feature of their outdoor great room is a wood burning or gas fireplace. This sets the stage for cozy fall and winter nights outside. Alternatively, outdoor fans and even AC units can be installed to make hot days more comfortable. Thanks to the relatively mild weather of Central Virginia, clients are generally able to use these outdoor great rooms for all four seasons, which means they’re getting a great value for the investment into the space.

Outdoor friendly TVs, gas fireplaces and even chandeliers are now available to make a space feel cozy and work year-round.


One of the most important aspects of an outdoor living space is accessibility. If getting to your great outdoors room is inconvenient it can become “out of sight, out of mind” and less likely to be used to its full potential. When designing these spaces, consider the inside of the home before the outside. Make sure the spaces flow and make sense together, ensuring form and function. The more sightlines between the two spaces, the better. Large glass French or custom sliding doors invite you outside and make a beautiful connection between these living areas.

This outdoor great room connects easily to the home’s kitchen with large custom glass sliding doors, which beckon you to come outside and enjoy the space.