Many homeowners fail to use their properties to the fullest, with the yard often being the most underutilized area. If your outdoor space needs sprucing up or you want to expand your living space to the outdoors, this post is for you. As experienced landscape designers and contractors, we’re sharing everything you need to know about setting up a functional and beautiful outdoor living space.
What is an Outdoor Living Space for?
A well-designed space outside your home can be used for many of the activities that you would normally do inside. What you use an outdoor living space for depends on your interests and purposes. Below are some common examples of outdoor living spaces:
- Outdoor kitchen or grill
- Outdoor dining, lounge, or living room
- Water features (pool, pond, fountain, etc.)
- Fireplace or fire pit area
- Outdoor sports or movie room
- Outdoor bar or party area
- Secret garden or nook
- Outdoor office or studio
- Home gym or play area
With the right design and quality construction, you can transform your front yard, backyard, patio, or deck into a comfortable extension of your home.
What are the Benefits of Outdoor Living Spaces?
Why extend your living space beyond the walls of your home? Everyone will have different benefits based on their space and how they use it, but the most common benefits include:
Expand the floor plan.
Setting up an outdoor living space extends a home’s living space. When you are creating a new outdoor space or even renovating an existing area, you have an opportunity to adjust your home space according to your needs. Maybe your kitchen doesn’t have enough counter space or seating for the dinner parties you love to host. Instead of dealing with those limitations, you can create your dream kitchen and entertaining area outside. Also, unlike regular home extensions like adding a room or indoor floor space, an outdoor living space adds additional space without as much cost or hassle.
Increase the home value.
If there is even a slight possibility of reselling your home in the future, setting up an outdoor living space is always a great idea. The extra amenities that an outdoor living space adds guarantee an increase in home listing price, as well as being a highly marketable feature. On top of that, well-made and Pinterest-worthy outdoor living spaces add to the home’s curb appeal, further bumping up its resale value.
Entertaining can be one of the most common uses of a home’s living area. By extending your living space outside, you can accommodate more guests and enjoy the open air and sunlight (or the moonlit and starry sky, if at night). You can also organize more varied activities like outdoor games, garden tours, and if you have the resources, swimming, outdoor movies, or backyard camping. The options are only limited by your imagination.
Improve your health.
Being outdoors provides positive health effects even if you only go as far as outside your front door. Getting outside lets your body absorb sunlight necessary for making Vitamin D, an essential nutrient for immunity and bone health. Natural sights and sounds like flowing water or rustling leaves let your senses take a break from electronic devices, allowing you to relax and unwind from daily life stresses. Outdoor air also has an invigorating and refreshing ability that can lighten your mood.
How to Set Up an Outdoor Living Space
Can’t wait to set up your very own outdoor living space? Below is our step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Think of your needs.
First ask, what do you want your space to be? Write down everything you need to have in your outdoor space. Do you need an area to cook, dine, entertain, play, etc.? Make a list, narrow it down, and put your top priority first on the list. You can further decide by looking up design ideas and inspirations on social media and other online resources.
Step 2: Consider your space.
Any outdoor living space you choose to set up must keep in line with the structure and other characteristics of your current space. You don’t want to set up a porch that will clash with your home design or an outdoor fireplace that is unsafe to use with your building. Weather and climate conditions in your area also affect the type and features of any outdoor space you want to create.
Step 3: Draft a layout for your Outdoor Living Space
Like indoor spaces, outdoor living spaces must also follow a logical and functional flow for ease of use. Your kitchen, for example, makes more sense to be located near the dining area than near the bedroom. Thus, plan your outdoor kitchen following a similar concept. Create a layout that follows the natural flow of activities that you plan to do in your outdoor living space. Furthermore, you can also plan a layout that maximizes the space, dividing it into levels or “rooms” for varied and separate activities. You can create a kid-friendly play area separate from the firepit lounge area, for example.
Step 4: Identify the hardscape and landscape.
The hardscape is any man-made features that you will build or add to your outdoor living space. The landscape consists of plants, trees, and other vegetation. The hardscape and landscape must be in harmony in terms of function and aesthetics. Make sure to balance form and function, having elements that are both practical and beautiful.
Step 5: Plan for the utilities.
Many outdoor living space plans forget to implement the water, lighting, and heating or cooling for the area. These utilities are especially important for outdoor kitchens, lounging, or dining areas. Landscaping your garden may also require you to consider an irrigation and sprinkler system. A greenhouse or outdoor office also requires you to plan for the water, light, and heating for it. How you set up these utilities can make or break your space. A poorly heated backyard office or an outdoor kitchen with no running water makes your outdoor living space uncomfortable and less functional.
Step 6: Create a budget.
A budget gives you insight into your capabilities in realizing the outdoor living space you want. Having a budget guides you in deciding which features to build, items to buy, materials to use, and even the timeline of your project. This step is also a great way to prioritize and make better decisions for the success of your project. If you are setting up an outdoor living space to increase your home’s resale value, a budget helps you keep within your investment limits, thus optimizing your return on investment.
Step 7: Bring in a professional.
Expert advice saves you from headaches, project delays, unsafe conditions, and dollars worth of wrong materials, renovations, and building regulatory penalties. It’s okay to opt out of professional designers, architects, or landscape artists, but make sure to hire a licensed and insured outdoor living space contractor. Go for contractors that have experience with the type of project you are planning, can provide detailed plans for materials and timeline, and offer warranties in their contract. Work with professionals with whom you can work closely and with ease from the project’s conception to its completion.
Step 8: Maintain and update.
Include the maintenance and upkeep of your outdoor living space in your plans. After completion, make sure to implement any steps to clean and protect the space from the elements. You can research and discuss these steps with landscape designers and other professionals for the best results.
Puget Construction and Landscape: Here to Share our Outdoor Living Space Expertise
Setting up an outdoor living space can be a complicated process. Success is possible and guaranteed with thorough planning and expert support. For experienced experts, look no further than Puget Construction and Landscape. We are passionate professionals who offer varied services for people dreaming of that perfect outdoor space. You can trust us with projects, from landscaping to outdoor kitchens, from building from scratch to renovating existing structures, and even with maintaining your spaces.
Do not let your yard space go to waste. You can transform it into the outdoor living space of your dreams. Start by consulting with our expert outdoor living space designers today!