The outdoors is as much a part of the home as the indoors. Turn your empty lot into a private oasis with our guide to designing your own backyard living space.
In 2017 alone, homeowners spent more than $424 billion on home improvements. And no matter what those improvements were, they all had one thing in common: they made the house more usable.
Making your home more usable doesn’t necessarily mean expanding the kitchen. Sometimes, it can be as simple as building a backyard living space.
But designing that living space can be tough. After all, it needs to be functional, beautiful, and versatile.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your design.
Choose the Right Location
Think of your outdoor living space as an extension of your house. It’s a way to bring the gathering outside when the weather is right. But that means you need to choose a location that makes sense for your home.
If you’re planning on building an outdoor living area that doubles as a grill station, you’ll want to choose a location close to the kitchen. This way, you won’t have to carry ingredients, beverages, or cooking gear too far.
But if you’re looking for a secluded hangout spot where you can be rowdy without interrupting conversation inside, choose a part of the yard with your favorite view.
There’s no correct answer here. It comes down to personal preference. Regardless, make sure to choose a location that will encourage you to use the space.
If it’s not convenient, you’ll end up using your indoor living room more.
Think About How You’ll Use the Space
Are you planning on entertaining multiple guests or do you want an intimate outdoor hangout area for your immediate family?
Think about how you’ll use the space most often. If you’re going to be hosting parties and want to bring the action outside, you’ll need a larger space with more seating options, tables, and furniture.
But if you’re looking for an outdoor lounge area where you can enjoy a quiet evening with a book or a place to have outdoor movies for the kids, you can keep things smaller. Remember, this is about making your yard your own.
Focus on Furniture
No outdoor living room is complete without comfortable places to sit. Start thinking about the types of furniture you want to incorporate into the space.
If you’re planning on entertaining, you’ll want to have plenty of movable chairs and smaller benches that can accommodate a crowd. A central dining table is also a great way to bring people together outside.
But that doesn’t mean you need to stick to chairs and end tables. You can add whimsy with a hammock stand and let people sprawl out and relax with lounge chairs and outdoor sofas.
Just make sure to invest in quality outdoor furniture. These pieces can handle the elements and won’t break down or look worn out if they get left in the sun.
Your outdoor living area is part of your backyard. Let it look that way by incorporating landscaping into the design. Build planter boxes to add color and greenery to the area.
Adding plants to your outdoor living space makes it feel more connected to nature and unifies the look of your backyard. And you don’t have to go crazy. Just pick a few plants you love and add them to the space.
As you use your living area, you can see what other elements you might want to add. It’s okay for the design process to be a work in progress.
Plan Ahead for the Future
For many homeowners, outdoor living areas are just one of many upgrades they plan to make. When you think about those possible future improvements when designing your living area, you’ll be able to create a design that works as your needs change.
For example, if you plan on adding a pool or other water feature, think about how your backyard living area will accommodate those activities. Select materials that will stand up to future abuse and use.
You can even use your living area to help with your pool design as you can see here.
Pay Attention to Your Lighting
Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect their outdoor lighting systems when designing a backyard addition. And it can make it tough for you to get the most out of your space month after month.
Think about when you’ll use the space most. Will it be an afternoon hangout spot that just needs a few lights for safety at night? Or will you use it primarily after dark when extra light fixtures will make your space more comfortable?
Once you identify when you’ll use the space most, you can design lighting that works for your unique needs. Just avoid NOT installing lighting at all. Darkness is great, but if you’re worried about tripping over flagstones, your family won’t enjoy the space as much as they should.
Think About Seasonal Use
Outdoor living areas get exposed to the elements year-round. And that can influence how and when you’ll use your new hangout spot.
If you’re planning on using it from late spring to early fall, focus on adding shade elements like pergolas and screens to block the sun. But if you’re creating a year-round outdoor area, don’t forget to think about heat.
Firepits, propane heaters, and strategically placed walls can block out a lot of the cold and wind. And incorporating these elements into the design will help you get the most out of your investment.
Final Thoughts on Building the Perfect Backyard Living Area
Every person’s definition of the perfect backyard living area will be different. Think about the way you’ll use your space and design it around that use.
Remember, the space is there for you and your family to use. If it doesn’t have the elements you need to be comfortable, you won’t enjoy it as much as you should.
Design the space for yourself. If you like it, others will enjoy it, too.
For more helpful tips on getting the most out of your home improvements, check out our latest posts.
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