Things to Consider When Creating an Outdoor Living Space

Guest Blog Post by Katelyn Brinn, Senor Mist

No matter how beautiful and spacious your indoor living space is, there’s nothing quite like enjoying warm sunny days and romantic evenings in your patio or garden.  Who doesn’t want their very own backyard oasis, right? And as more people discover the joy and convenience of entertaining at home, having the ideal outdoor living space is on top of almost every homeowner’s home improvement goals.

Outdoor living spaces have evolved by leaps and bounds over the years —- the traditional picnic table and grill on a patch of grass will no longer suffice. These days, it’s not uncommon for homes to have sophisticated decks and landscaped patios, complete with lounging areas, grilling stations, fire pits, and residential patio misting systems.

But the thing is; while all these fixtures contribute to the appeal and functionality of your outdoor space, creating the ideal outdoor living environment entails more than simply investing in luxurious furnishings and a high-end outdoor kitchen.

If you want to create the perfect outdoor living space, there are eight critical considerations to make before you begin:

1. Use and Purpose of the Space

When planning your outdoor living space, the first thing to consider is how you will use the space. Do you intend to host parties and entertain huge groups of people or will you be mostly spending time with close friends and family? Are you a fan of dining or cooking meals outdoors? Do you need a quiet place to relax on the weekends or maybe a play area for your children?

Having a clear idea of what purposes you want the space to serve will help you sort through the long list of features and amenities to include. If the space will be mostly used for gatherings, you’ll want to prioritize sufficient seating, overhead protection, and possibly a BBQ grill.

2. Size and Existing Landscape

Before you begin working on or purchase anything for your outdoor leaving space, take an accurate measurement of the area. Knowing how much space you’re working with will allow you to plan the layout effectively and avoid costly blunders. You don’t want to spend money on fixtures and furnishings, only to find out that they don’t fit or take up too much space, leaving you very little room for movement.

Also, don’t forget to look beyond your property to the surrounding environment. If your outdoor space is surrounded by beautiful landscape, find ways to take advantage of the view. Otherwise, use screens, hedges, or fences to block out eyesores and unattractive sights.

3. Budget and Maintenance Costs

The internet is filled with outdoor living space inspirations for all tastes and design preferences. But before you set your eyes – and your mind – on a specific concept, set a budget first.

Remember, your budget must be realistic and should cover everything from materials and labor to decorative fixtures. If you want an elegant and elaborate patio, then you should be prepared for the expenses.

Apart from your general budget, you should also factor in maintenance costs. Without proper upkeep, your patio won’t stay as lovely or comfortable for long.

4. Furnishings and Overall Comfort

When shopping for outdoor furniture, always take into account how you intend to use your outdoor living space – dining, entertaining, lounging, or a combination of all three. Moreover, go for outdoor furniture that is both comfortable and practical for outdoor use.

To enjoy outdoor space to the fullest, pay attention to the low points of your property. If bugs and pests are a problem, install a screen on your deck or patio. It’s also wise to invest in quality heaters, ceiling fans, or even residential patio misting systems, so you can maximize the use of your outdoor space year-round.

5. Choice of Materials

Since outdoor living spaces are more exposed to the elements, it’s critical to pick materials that not only provide visual appeal to the space but can also take a beating and withstand harsh and changing weather conditions.

Some of the most popular materials for outdoor use are brick, stone, concrete, PVC, iron, aluminum, and wood. But with such a diverse range of options available these days, it really pays to do your research. Find something that will fit your budget, lifestyle, and upkeep requirements.

6. Weather Protection and Privacy

As mentioned, your outdoor living space is usually at the mercy of the elements, so you should always keep the weather in mind during the planning process.

To get the most out of your outdoor living area, design the space to accommodate different climates and changing weather conditions by installing shades, blinds, screen doors, and or adjustable louvers. These  will help to not only keep high winds and adverse weather at bay, but also improve the privacy of your outdoor environment.

7. Outdoor Lighting

Lighting can transform your outdoor living space into a functional extension of your home and, at the same time, evokes visual interest. Put up fairy lights on trees and fences to make the space feel larger and create a dreamier atmosphere. You can also use lights to highlight unique features in your backyard like a fountain, pergola, or vine-covered trellis.

Apart from aesthetics, ample lighting also improves the safety and usability of your outdoor space at night. Ample lighting in outdoor kitchens and lounging areas allow the use of these spaces until late, while ornamental lighting on steps and along pathways help prevent accidents at night.

8. Functional and Design Features

Your pick of functional and design features will influence how you will be able to use your outdoor space. That said, if you’re looking to build a fully-functional outdoor space, you should seriously consider amenities such as a fire pit area, a hot tub, a lounging spot, and even an outdoor kitchen with a bar area for entertaining guests.

Most importantly, you should choose your outdoor décor with the same care as your indoor home décor. Choose colors, fixtures, and accents that complement or integrate seamlessly with the interior of your home to create that indoor-outdoor feel — a  unified and continuous space.

The perfect outdoor living area is one that reflects the preferences and caters to the needs of the homeowners, so don’t be afraid to put some of your personality into the space. Afterall, the goal is to create a personal oasis where you can unwind, spend time with family and friends, and connect with nature.

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