5 Tips on Building an Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor Living Space Outdoor rooms continue to be in demand and serve as incredible places to relax and spend time with friends and family. 70% of Architects in the US polled in 2018 reported inquiries regarding the construction of outdoor spaces!  People are now choosing to spend their dollars to create an oasis in their own backyard.

An outdoor space can be one way to distinguish your home from others, from the size of the patio or porch to the lighting, furniture, and plants.  However, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin.  Below are some tips to help you during your project.

Hire an Expert

The thousands of options of materials, scale, scope, decisions, and more decisions, can be extremely overwhelming and that is where an expert designer is worth the cost.  When you invest money in a large-scale project, a professional can help navigate all the moving parts.

Rethink Layout Defaults

Some people look at their empty backyard and assume it needs to be bordered with green shrubs on the edges.  This is the exact the same mistake people make indoors by placing their furniture against walls, and it can make a space look distant and unwelcoming.  Instead, you are free to choose the middle of a space and create welcoming areas.  Decide to place plants strategically for privacy by creating “rooms” in your yard.   Always keep your final plans in mind regarding how you will use that room.  Plan your space with traffic patterns in mind and take great care to make the transition from inside to outside seamless.

Give Yourself Space

Outdoor Living Spaces designed by ProscapesRemember that you need room to move around your seating and tables.  Patio’s smaller than 12×12 are harder to work with.  You will need to know how big your furniture is and leave about 2 feet of walk space between pieces for comfort.   Some condos and townhomes have more limitations on space, and that may mean you go with smaller chairs, or go with fewer chairs or even a bench. 

It is very common for people to try to stuff too much furniture outside just as they do inside a home.  Less is more.  Choose pieces that accommodate your needs but know when to say when.

Create yourself a sanctuary corner

Find a good view, pick a favorite chair, and set about making it cozy and beautiful.  Make sure your back is protected with a screen, hedge, wall, or shady tree, and face the direction of your perfectly chosen spot.  This is where you relax after all.  Finish your corner with a plant that smells wonderful, a side table for your favorite beverage, and perhaps an ottoman to put your feet up.  It will soon become the place you go to think, relax, or read. 

Do not forget the lighting

Most people use outdoor spaces after the workday, where they take a moment as the sun is setting, or in the evening to enjoy a drink or listen to the sounds of nature. Outdoor lighting can extend your time outdoors. Security lighting is not what you want here….

Instead, consider these:

  • Add low-voltage lighting, such as recessed in retaining walls or as path lights.
  • Use LED options, which have expanded and include unusual LED choices, such as lit glass balusters for a porch or deck.
  • Place path lights around seating areas to add a pool of light at ground level.
  • Install sconces and ceiling fans on pillars, columns, and ceilings.
  • String lights by entwining them on a pergola roof, between trees, or hang them from ceiling fans. And unlike holiday lights, they can stay up year-round.

Finally, to make the space completely inviting, shield the sun, bring in a water element and add pots or planters in a couple of different places where you can enjoy seasonal color.

If you follow the suggestions here, you will create a memorable space that helps a home live larger!  Should you ever decide to sell your home, outdoor rooms have become hot selling points!  Either way, you will reap benefits from the choice to add an outdoor space for years to come.


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