If you are looking to make changes around the house while incorporating ways to maximize outdoor living there are quite a few options you may consider. Some of these include making fairly permanent additions.
Depending on the available space and the purpose intended to serve one may opt for a verandah or a patio or maybe both. Yet, it may not seem like an easy choice to make as the difference is not very clear.
A verandah is an attached outdoor structure with a roof that runs along one or more sides of the house. The patio, on the other hand is a paved recreation area that may be attached to the house or be freestanding. It may or may not have a roof or even walls. They are great for outdoor entertaining or simply relaxing. For a patio that can be used year round there are plenty of options to consider. Such as size, choice of pavers, roof covering permanent or retractable roof to suit the weather, and furniture, depending on the use.
Another option is adding a pergola, which too is an outdoor structure either attached to the house or standing on its own.
Unlike the patio, which is generally seen as an extension of the house, the pergola besides serving a purpose is often designed to enhance the aesthetics of a yard or a garden. It may be large or small but will always have some kind of roof. Beams or slats if used over a patio, slanting if used over a pool or conical in a garden over a standalone structure.
While one or more of these features can be added to the house to optimally use open spaces, it may help to take professional help. This will ensure that you end up with something that meets your needs.