A well-designed outdoor space can be a major factor in making a house into a home. Mindful planning is as important in designing outdoor living spaces as indoor living spaces. Consider these five points when considering the design of your outdoor living space:
- Purpose for the Space
The first and perhaps most important consideration is determining precisely how you wish to use your outdoor space. Are you planning a patio or a garden? Do you want green space for pets or children to play? Knowing what purpose your outdoor space is intended to serve will shape nearly every other aspect of planning and executing the design.
- Desired Amenities
It’s one thing to purchase patio furniture and a charcoal grill for your back yard. It’s another thing entirely to install a hot tub or a complete outdoor kitchen with wet bar and sound system. In the latter case, adding a water line, plumbing, gas and electric infrastructure will also be needed, adding significantly to the timeline, not to mention the budget.
- Challenges of the Space
Every outdoor space presents at least some challenges. Common challenges include drainage issues, close proximity to neighbors or extensive exposure to direct sunlight and glare. Dealing with these challenges may necessitate alterations to the design of your outdoor space.For instance, correcting drainage issues requires proper grading and perhaps adding ground cover to prevent standing water or even flooding from ruining your outdoor space. Exposure to wind and sun requires arranging some sort of shelter, either from a canopy or from strategically planted greenery. If your outdoor space is simply too small to accommodate everything you want, this is the time to determine your must-haves and how to accommodate them. Scaled-down outdoor furnishings (in size and amount) prevent small spaces from being overwhelmed.
- Integration with Your Overall Outdoor Space
Ideally, your outdoor living space should also tie in with the rest of your yard as well as the overall design of your home. If your home is a classic bungalow and your back yard includes a flower garden, an outdoor living area with a stark, modernist design will look out of place.
- Should You Call a Pro?
Calling in a professional landscape designer is highly advisable, especially if you are planning an elaborate outdoor space. He or she can evaluate your outdoor space and determine if your desired plans are realistic. A professional can also determine whether preliminary infrastructure work such as the installation of plumbing or a gas line is needed. A pro can also make suggestions to deal with challenges such as drainage issues or overly close proximity to neighbors.
Considering these five factors can ensure that your outdoor living space is truly an area that you can enjoy along with friends and family.