Expert Q&A: How to plan and design an exterior addition

This time of year we frequently get calls from homeowners who want to create and outdoor living space. Most are looking for decks or the addition of a screened in patio space. This month we are talking with AG’s Home Solutions Lead Designer Karyn Staten about planning an exterior addition.


Q: What is the first step to plan for an exterior addition or outdoor area? 

Karyn: First locate that land survey you probably got with your closing papers when the home was purchased or hire someone to do one. This is usually required for permitting. Hiring a professional to do architectural plans works out many of the design issues before construction starts and ensures your vision is shared with your builder. Homeowners should also consult their HOA on any restrictions, their approval process and how long that might take. 


Q: What should a homeowner expect when working with a professional to create architectural plans? 

Karyn: Your draftsman or architect should talk with you about how you plan to use the space. Will you be cooking in the space, or just lounging? What are your lighting and utility needs? Adding utilities during construction is easier and less expensive than having to redo something later. Consider placement of ceiling fans, floor outlets or a gas line for a future outdoor kitchen is significantly less to do upfront. They should also consider the design of the home and create a space that looks like it has always been there. 


Q: Is there anything about furniture selection that you want homeowners to consider?

Karyn: I encourage our homeowners to think about furniture placement and its impact on traffic flow. I’ve had clients convinced that they want a sectional, but does that work in the space or limit its functionality? Using a smaller sofa and some club chairs may work better with how you entertain. 


Q: What is most overlooked during the planning process? 

Karyn: Honestly, designing an outdoor space is no different than designing a room of your home. Don’t forget to add color, texture, good lighting and great scent. Plant a climbing jasmine or some honeysuckle.  Add layers, raised beds or potted plants of different sizes have fun with it and make it yours. 


If you are thinking about an outdoor space in Washington, Winterville or Greenville, AG’s Home Solutions can guide you through your project from beginning to end. Contact us at to start the process today.