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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Article: Bob Skolnick
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One of the benefits of living in the Southwest is the abundance of sunshine, warm weather and a family-oriented lifestyle. I have lived in many other areas of the country and by far the residents of Southern New Mexico and El Paso County like to use their outside living areas as a regular, and more often, key part of their daily family lifestyle. People are opting to travel less on vacations and extended weekends and choose to enjoy casual days at their own home.

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1.) In the Southwest, the outdoor living area is used much of the year, allowing families to enjoy patios, dining, swimming and relaxing.

2.) Often on a weekend afternoon, sports on TV can be enjoyed poolside and lunch can be prepared for adults and children.
Most homes today are planned and built with large covered patios and outdoor kitchen areas. The outdoor kitchens range from simple barbecues to built-in barbecues with rotisserie spits, stove top burners, smokers, sinks with hot and cold running water and refrigeration. It is not unusual to have several family meals during the course of the week in the outdoor living area.

Also, relaxation and recreation in this region center around a family’s outside living area. A high percentage of local residences have swimming pools and spas, sun decks with lounge furniture. In some instances recreation activities such as volleyball pits, horseshoe pits and putting greens are part of the backyard landscape plan. Given the abundance of sunshine and a reasonable supply of water, well-foliated landscapes are the norm with a variety of tropical palms and flowering plants mixed with desert Xeriscape.

A fireplace, a fire pit and gas torches, surrounded comfortably by all-weather patio furniture, are typical and become the prime location for gathering and talking after dinner. No longer do family members have to break away and go inside to enjoy their favorite television program or sporting event. Sun Brite flat screen televisions are designed to be mounted permanently outside and have reflective glass shields to allow viewing in sunlight. You can now have the equivalent of a family drive-in movie of old right in your back yard under the stars. All of these commonplace amenities in our outdoor living areas allow our family to extend time outside the house well beyond the end of dinner.

In this section of the magazine, we will offer suggestions for home owners whose original home design did not include a wide breadth of outdoor amenities and make suggestions on how to retro-fit their existing home to make that “big new room without walls” addition to their home. ///
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