You love the outdoors and you love your home’s outdoor space, and the anticipation of the warm upcoming months has you thinking about what you can do to improve it. If you’re thinking of changing up your outdoor space this year, read this quick guide to give you an idea of how you’ll want to tackle it.
Get a piece of paper and draw out a floor plan of how you’d like your outdoor space to look. Measure the spaces out. Think about where there’s the most traffic, and where guests come from when they come over. Do they come out the back door, or from the side entrance? Both?
You want to leave plenty of space for people to move around each other in these areas. For example, you don’t want your backdoor to open into a group of people in the middle of a conversation. Direct the flow of traffic around these seats instead.
Really think about how your outdoor space is used. What are its most common functions? Do you consistently host lunches and dinners with a lot of guests? Then you’ll want to have a large enough table to accommodate the food. Or do you usually have friends over for a cocktail, instead? Then you’ll want a larger conversation area with some end tables instead. (Proper conversation areas should be in an “O” or “U” shape.)
Each separate space has its own unique function. Plan to have the dining area separate from the kitchen or cooking area (if you have a barbeque). Keep a reading nook away from the main entrance. Once you’ve clearly defined these separate spaces, it becomes a lot easier to visualize which furniture you’ll want, and where to put it.
If you don’t have a ton of space to utilize but still want to create different zones, have lightweight furniture that you can move if people start congregating in one area. Your fire pit doesn’t have to have furniture around it all the time, people can bring over the chairs from the dining area.
It’s good that every area has its own unique function. But style is important when it comes to outdoor furniture, as well. Your outdoor space isn’t just seen when you’re out in it. It’s seen from the house, and it may be seen from the driveway or other areas, too.
As far as décor goes, don’t be afraid to get a little wild with outdoor furniture. Bright colors are and wild patterns are okay in moderation (especially on throw pillows). But you might also want to think about matching the outdoor furniture’s colors to your indoor furniture. It’s a nice, detailed touch.
Indoor/Outdoor rugs are another great accessory. They keep hot decks from burning your feet, and they can also be matched to your indoor décor.
Test the comfortability of your furniture before you buy it, and mind the cost. Generally, in regards to outdoor furniture, you get what you pay for. Make sure that the furniture you’re buying is comfortable yet sturdy, so you’ll be happy to sit in it for many summers to come.
The sound of moving water makes for a nice block against the sound of insects or a busy street. And speaking of insects, mosquitoes breed in still water. Enough said.
Shade is all-important when it comes to your outdoor space. If it’s a 90° day, no one’s going to want to sit on an unshaded patio for long.
That’s why you should have at least one space that’s shaded. This provides a nice reprieve from the sun if the day gets too hot, but it also leaves unshaded areas for those cool, breezy days. Pergolas and Trellises can be good sources of shade that don’t completely block the sun.
As for lighting, this is where you think about the function of your spaces. Is your patio usually just enjoyed by two, for romantic evenings? Dimmer lighting might be more appropriate. Do you often have a lot of people over, eating late night meals? Then a hanging fixture might be a better idea.
You don’t want to just make an indoor space for the outdoors. Keep potted plants at varying heights in any space that’s a little too “indoorsy.” This keeps the feeling of outside alive for you and your guests, breaking up the monotony of too much man-made structure.
You’ve worked hard to plan and implement your ideal outdoor space. Don’t just look at it from the window and admire its beauty. Get out there and enjoy it! You’ve earned it.