Now that summer is here you’re probably keen to spend a lot more time outside. In particular, you may want to entertain in your yard regularly, so everyone gets to enjoy the lovely weather.
However, if your outdoor spaces aren’t looking so crash hot, you may cringe at the idea of inviting people over. The best way to address these thoughts is to give the area a makeover. There are multiple strategies you can follow to get the best space for your needs and budget today.
Know Your Goals
First up, know what your goals are for the outdoor room. How do you and your family want to use the area? Will this change over the next few years? Does the space need to be flexible for different times of year or periods of time, or can it be set up one way and used like this month in, month out? How do you entertain? How do you relax?
The reason for asking yourself a variety of questions is that doing so makes it more likely that the space will function how you need it to once complete. If you know you want different zones within the space for different activities (e.g., for reading, meditation, dining, and a herb garden), you’ll consider all of this as the project moves along. If you don’t, you may end up with a product that’s missing key elements and doesn’t satisfy your goals.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget is also an important step. While it’s possible you have unlimited funds to spend on the project, most people only have a certain amount of spare cash available to sink into the design of their outdoor room. Creating a budget helps ensure you don’t blow more savings than you want.
Also, budgeting is helpful because it makes you think about what it is you really want. When you have a finite amount of money to spend, you’ll be more discerning about where those funds go.
The next step is to plan out the space you want to create or makeover. There are lots of things to consider when doing this. For example, consider privacy. One of the best ways to enjoy an outdoor area is to feel sheltered and private while you’re in it. You don’t want to be easily overlooked by neighbors or from people or cars going by on the street. Plan out how to maximize privacy by positioning roofs, screens, landscaping, and the like in the best positions.
When planning, think about how you can maximize your use of the space throughout the year. While some outdoor zones are wonderful in the warm months, they aren’t so user-friendly when the temperature drops during fall and winter. To combat this issue, plan out ways to increase or decrease sunlight as needed (e.g., via opening and closing blinds or through vines and other greenery that can be cut back during winter), and find ways to add heating or cooling sources such as fire pits, patio heaters, fans, etc.
Something else to concentrate on is how you like to entertain. If you’re a keen cook and want to have people over for BBQs often, ensure your outdoor area has some food preparation options (e.g. a sink, mini-fridge, grill, and pizza oven), or make it easy to move between your kitchen and your outdoor dining space. Servery windows, for instance, help in this regard.
Choose the Right Materials and Furnishings
Of course, to get the ultimate outdoor zone for your needs, you must choose the right materials and furnishings, too. For example, find ways to make the space easily maintenable. Don’t choose materials that will need constant cleaning and maintenance, particularly when they’re going to be exposed to the weather all year long.
Also, be careful to buy pavers or tiles with slip-resistant coating or construction to avoid falls, and locate products that don’t get too hot underfoot in summer, or that cause issues with glare because of reflective light.
When it’s time to buy patio furniture and other accessories, look for items designed to be out in the weather. Try to match, at least to a degree, the type of style you have chosen inside your home, too, so that you create a connection between the inside and out, and a nice flow.
Other factors to keep in mind when selecting furniture are choosing items that will fit easily and maximize your use of the space. You may want multi-function pieces, particularly in smaller spots, and you’ll also want to ensure you buy comfortable furniture.
Designing an outdoor room takes time and effort, on top of the money involved. By being strategic about every step you take, though, you’ll soon have a space that you and your family fall in love with, and get to use all year long.