It’s outdoor living season and there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying some fun in the sun with family and friends. And whether you’re looking to build an open-air space to relax, or the outdoor kitchen of your dreams, natural materials like cypress can make a bold design statement and withstand the elements.
“A recent report by Wakefield Research says homeowners are spending an average of seven hours per week outside—and they’re spending that time entertaining and grilling,” says Cassie Lewis of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. “That’s why homeowners—especially Millennials—are investing in warm and welcoming outdoor spaces that are extensions of their indoor rooms. And for homeowners who value the look and feel of Real American Hardwood™ woodwork, cypress is the natural choice because it performs well in hot and humid climates, and is resistant to decay and insects.”
Custom home builder Brett Flanagan, president of Flanagan Development, LLC, based in Sea Island, Georgia, agrees and adds that durability and aesthetics are the two most important factors to consider when selecting building materials for the outdoors.
“Just because a product is durable doesn’t mean it looks pleasing, and just because it’s attractive doesn’t mean it will hold up well outside,” he explains. “And in my experience, cypress is a great choice for outdoor projects because it pairs natural durability with undeniable beauty.”
Flanagan says his team loves to use cypress in structural applications—like beams and columns for porches and pavilions—as well as for more functional projects—such as outdoor kitchens.
“We recently completed an outdoor kitchen for a homeowner who has a lot of cypress throughout their home’s interior,” he said. “The homeowner wanted to add a full outdoor kitchen and had several appliances to incorporate. We were able to blur the lines between indoors and out by designing the space with custom cabinetry wrapped in river-recovered cypress. And because the wood is so good-looking, we finished it with a clear sealer. That’s by far our favorite finish to apply because it protects and preserves the wood, while maintaining its inherent beauty.”
And when it comes to maintenance, Flanagan says real wood like cypress is easier to care for than you may think. “We recommend thoroughly cleaning cypress woodwork once a quarter, and applying a new coat of stain or sealer every other year,” he adds. “If properly maintained, cypress can truly provide a lifetime of service.”