4 Tips for Creating a Stunning Outdoor Living Space

With summer on its way, people everywhere are looking forward to spending more time outdoors. With those backyard barbeques, family get-togethers, or DIY cocktail hours with friends just around the corner, now is a great time to start figuring out how to make better use of patios, porches, decks, and yards. Read on to find four essential tips for creating a truly stunning outdoor living space before getting started.

1. Start By Defining Goals and Intended Uses

It may be tempting to head to the local garden center and start purchasing grills, outdoor furniture, and potted plants immediately, but that's not the best way to create a beautiful and usable outdoor living space. Instead, start at the beginning by defining goals and intended functions. 

Some homeowners want to create a quiet space where they can get away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life. Others enjoy throwing huge backyard bashes and inviting dozens of guests. Families must accommodate children as well as adults, and dog owners need to make sure their outdoor living spaces are pet-friendly. 

All of these intended uses require a different approach to design. People who want to get away from it all might include privacy screens or built-in planters to grow beautiful flowers, calming aromatic herbs, or other plants. Those who love to entertain will need more space and might want to include built-in seating and dedicated space for an outdoor kitchen. Families usually try to incorporate spaces for both children and adults plus any furry friends.

Defining intended uses and creating distinct goals before getting started on the design phase is the best way to make sure everyone who uses new outdoor living spaces will be happy. It also allows homeowners to incorporate necessary features right into their decks or patios. Visit homeprodecking.com to check out some examples of how custom-built decks with dedicated spaces for different elements can improve outdoor living spaces.

2. Work With Nature, Not Against It

Creating outdoor living spaces means finding ways to commune with nature, not control it. There are certain factors that no homeowner can change. Finding ways to accommodate wind patterns, local climate, and sun or shade makes it possible to use the space to its full potential.

Let's take a look at an example. In colder climates, it makes the most sense to build a deck on the sunny, south-facing side of a house because the north-facing side will be in constant shade. This can create a cold, unwelcoming atmosphere even on the hotter days of summer and will render the space all but unusable in the spring and fall. It's much easier to install a sunshade or a patio umbrella on a south-facing deck or patio than it is to drag outdoor space heaters into the mix.

Average temperatures at different times of the year aren't the only factors that might influence homeowners' decisions about how to design their outdoor living spaces. Prevailing winds can also play a big role in where certain elements should be located and what types of hardscaping must be included to accommodate more comfortable use. It's important to pay attention to wind patterns throughout the day during different times of the year. Failing to do so can leave homeowners with beautiful outdoor dining areas or fire pits that are calm in the morning but turn into wind tunnels in the evening.

3. Take the Time to Create a Detailed Layout

Stunning outdoor living spaces don't come together in a haphazard fashion. Every element of the space should be well-defined and included in a detailed layout. 

Think of it as creating a floor plan before renovating or redecorating a room. Comfortable furniture and interesting wall art are well and good, but they won't get anyone very far if the general layout is cramped or fails to accommodate residents' daily lives.

Try to define every permanent element of the space. Things that should be included in the layout for an outdoor living space can include:

  •  Grills


Outdoor refrigerators






GFCI outlets


Water features

Fire pits

Every situation is a little different. There's usually no need to include impermanent items such as folding chairs and tables or patio umbrellas, for example, but homeowners who plan to entertain should make sure the layout will accommodate them. 

Some outdoor living spaces incorporate more natural elements than others. Nearby trees, shrubs, gardens, and other plantings should be included in the design even if they aren't completely permanent.

4. Create Some Ambiance

Just like the rooms inside a home, outdoor living spaces should be decorated to suit the residents' personal styles. Once homeowners have the position, purpose, and basic layouts of their outdoor living spaces defined, it's time to tackle exterior decor.

While designing the layout of an outdoor living space is very much like coming up with a floor plan, exterior decorating is quite different than its interior counterpart. Homeowners have far more options at their disposal outdoors and will have the opportunity to use natural features to create ambiance.

Start with the larger elements. Adding a water feature to the outdoor living space can create a more relaxing atmosphere, and there's no need to dig up the entire yard. Even a small fountain or waterfall can have a positive impact. Installing a fire pit or outdoor fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating can bring a warmer feel to the space while simultaneously extending the usable seasons.

Once the larger elements have been defined, it's time to get creative with lighting, colors, and plants. Installing built-in planters and choosing flowers that complement the hardscaping elements and provide color throughout the season is a great way to get started.

The Importance of Starting With a Solid Foundation

When creating a new outdoor living space, it's important to start with a solid foundation. Hire an expert deck builder who has experience in helping clients create unique spaces where they can go to relax, entertain, and appreciate the great outdoors.

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