10 Tips for Designing Your New Summer Outdoor Living Space

Family house after deck addition

Is your yard currently nothing more than green space that has to be mowed, perhaps serving only as an area for the family pets, and perhaps a play area for the kids? More and more homeowners are taking a second look at their outdoor space and creating wonderful living spaces. In fact, the American Institute of Architects published its “Home Design Trends Survey” and found that homeowners are investing heavily in outdoor living spaces, mudrooms and home offices.

Home theaters and exercise rooms were all the rage about a decade ago, but now people are busting out of the shell of their homes and are targeting the outdoor spaces, setting loose their design ideas and bringing in contractors to execute the plans. Getting it right takes plenty of planning, so here are some tips for you as you think over your summer outdoor living space project.

1) Choose a use

The first question to ask yourself is, “what will I use my outdoor living space for?” Perhaps you’ll want to dine outdoors, which means you’ve got to include a table and chairs. If you just want to lounge and relax, you’ll need to research shade opportunities and a comfortable outdoor couch. Want to take in some Major League Baseball on the big screen? You’ll need to make sure you have enough electrical outlets and a safe haven for the television.

You’ll need to know what time of day you’re most likely to be using your outdoor living space, because this will dictate how you construct various features to utilize the natural light. If your space is covered, you’ll need to think about your tolerance for heat or cold, so perhaps a ceiling fan and a fireplace will be in order.

If you have small children, you’ll want to your screens with railing or quarter walls.

2) Choose your features

The majority of outdoor living space projects involve one or more of the following:

  • Pool
  • Sunroom
  • Food prep area
  • Cooking station
  • Complete outdoor kitchen

Obviously, you have your choice of materials, from natural wood to a sturdy wood composite for your decking and patio material. Investing in stone and tile is also an option for the patio and surrounding areas, including perhaps a fire pit.

Some homeowners go all out and include water features to enhance their outdoor living experience.

3) Bringing the indoors out

Many homeowners are looking for a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living space. When done right, the line between the doors becomes blurry. For example, sliding glass doors offer a large, clear and quick transition, as do french doors.

The outdoor kitchen is high on the list of many homeowners undertaking a project for their outdoor living, as they make the experience of cooking more enjoyable and less routine. There are many, many choices of materials for a design that will fit your unique tastes, but the following are often included in an outdoor kitchen:

  • Running water
  • Refrigerator
  • Countertop
  • Sink
  • Gas stove
  • Smoker
  • Charcoal grill
  • Warming drawers
  • Cabinets

Pretty much anything you can have in an indoor kitchen can have an outdoor twin. Talk to an experienced designer about your ideas and get sage advice about how to proceed.

4) Create a focal point

The task of designing your outdoor living space is easier if you can latch on to a focal point, such as a sofa or water feature or piece of art. Once you establish a focal point, you can make everything else, including seating, landscaping and other specific elements, flow around it.

5) Utilize space

If you’re working with limited space, you’ll need to buckle down and have some of your furniture double as storage. For example, benches are often built with a seat that lifts up to reveal storage space underneath. Look for every opportunity make the most of every square foot of room.

6) Create privacy

If you’ve got nosy neighbors or just want your outdoor space to be sheltered from plain view, use landscaping elements, such as small trees and shrubs to create a lush barrier. A trellis with a group of vines growing around it can also offer privacy without feeling like you’ve walled yourself in.

7) Living room under the stars

Situate your comfortable chairs and sofa around small tables where you can set your drink, and maybe even build a fireplace for a cozy and comfortable living room experience outdoors.

8) Game day festivities

If your family are sports fanatics or if you want to invite the neighbors over for the big game, creating an entertainment area with surround sound, big screen television, chairs and an area for prepping game day food is a big hit with many homeowners.

9) Create secluded nooks

There’s nothing like slipping away with a book in a quiet corner. Create that in your garden escape by utilizing those secluded areas of your yard, or create it with simple table and chairs and landscaping features for a quaint space.

10) Work with experts

Completely remodeling your outdoor space is a major project, and to get it right, you need to bring in the experts to assist you. For example, design and build contractors can take all your ideas and improve upon them, perhaps by adding elements of their own that speak to your design sensibilities.

At New Concept 180, we are the complete package. We’ve got designers with years of experience creating outdoor living spaces that are a custom job every time. Our build team has every type of professional required to tackle anything from small patio jobs to complete kitchen builds. Contact us today and let’s go over your ideas for bringing indoor living to the outdoors.

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