What does an outdoor living space mean to you? Is it a place for you to relax and unwind? A place to entertain and reenergize? Is it a way for you to reconnect with nature or engage in a favorite hobby? Maybe all of the above and more!
Your outdoor living space should be unique to your lifestyle, your preferences, and your vision. But there are some common elements that great spaces share, foundational components that give you the opportunity to use the space to its fullest potential.
These are some of the elements that will turn a yard into a place that becomes a source of enjoyment, as integral to your lifestyle as any room inside your home.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a night person, you might think differently about the evening hours if you were surrounded by lanterns and fairy lights, garden lights and spotlights.
Lighting extends your enjoyment of your outdoor space long past sunset, especially as the seasons change and there are more dark hours than light. From underwater lights that create magical effects beneath ponds and waterfalls, to moonlighting high up in trees, great lighting sets a mood, adds ambiance, and even enhances safety.
Enjoy an evening dinner on the patio, an after dinner cocktail, a late night conversation around a fire pit, and much more. Lighting ensures that your space is both fun and functional even after the sun has set.
When you relax indoors, host a dinner party, exercise, or engage in a hobby, you probably reach for your favorite music. Whether you put on your headphones or turn up the stereo, music is an important part of events large and small.
If you want to enjoy your yard as a true living space, then audio is just as important outdoors as it is indoors. Yes, you can still wear your headphones, but if you’re swimming, chatting with friends or family, hosting a get together, or simply interested in simultaneously hearing the sounds of the birds and the breezes, you would be better served with music that surrounds you.
But that doesn’t mean you should blast the family room stereo, either! Indoor speakers are designed for closed spaces, where there are lots of reflective surfaces. They are also quite sensitive to temperature and moisture, so bringing them into the back yard isn’t a good idea.
With an outdoor audio system, you can control where the music comes from, its volume, and even create multiple listening zones so you can enjoy different types of music depending on where you are.
Most modern homes (and many not-so-modern ones!) have fireplaces in the living area. Whether it’s a gas fireplace that you can light at the touch of a switch, or a wood burning stove that you stoke attentively, fire is a source of light, warmth, ambiance, and subtle enjoyment.
Why not bring that into your outdoor space? There are lots of ways to enjoy fire, from a portable patio fire pit to a built in one made of natural stone, a full size fireplace, or even one with a built-in pizza oven for some wood-fired snacks!
Enjoy fire features on a relaxing summer evening or a chilly autumn one. Gather around a fire pit for a communal experience, or light a fire in the fireplace to create a setting for some alone time. However you choose to incorporate it, fire can go from focal point to backdrop, turning an ordinary landscape into a true outdoor room.
If there is a single fundamental element of any living space, it’s great seating. You’d be hard pressed to host a dinner, enjoy a baseball game, lounge with a book, or engage in a relaxing conversation without it.
Great seating isn’t any particular kind of seating – only seating that is appropriate to the activity at hand. For dining, an upright chair would be more appropriate than a soft, deep sofa. But for those friendly conversations and marathon reading sessions, you’d certainly want that pillowy couch.
Collect a few Adirondack chairs around a fire pit, create a conversation area with armchairs, place a bench beside a pond for koi gazing, and lay a few loungers beside the pool.
The seating you choose for your outdoor space is just as important as what you choose indoors. It can mean the difference between a room that you can’t wait to visit, and one that may look nice, but doesn’t serve a real function as part of your lifestyle.
Art is one way that you imbue your personality into your interior space. Choosing the colors, styles and pieces that speak to you emotionally is part of the experience of creating a home.
For your outdoor space to be an extension of your home, treat it just as you would any other part! Find a great piece of artwork, a unique sculpture, a bit of whimsical décor. Artwork can be embedded into gardens, set on a retaining wall, even hung on a vertical structure like a trellis or retaining wall.
Combine art with lighting to highlight its beauty, hide a speaker nearby with some soothing music playing, and you’ve created your own outdoor gallery with Mother Nature as the stage.
Your indoor space has the advantage of providing rooms where you can close yourself away from the world and enjoy time alone. As much as you love the outdoors, it may feel too exposed, too open to interruption.
But that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to being on display for the neighborhood. There are plenty of ways to design privacy into your yard, so it can feel just as secluded and cozy as any interior room.
Bamboo screening is one great way to separate your space from a neighbor’s or even to create a little pocket of privacy within your own yard. It’s fast growing, low maintenance, and provides a privacy barrier throughout all four seasons.
Tall grasses, vine-covered trellises, even natural wood fencing (adorned with your favorite artwork, of course!) can enhance privacy in a beautiful way.
Create cozy spaces within your space with a structure like a gazebo. Gazebos can make an excellent foundation for flowering vines, which can shield you from nosy neighbors and make you feel protected and safe. Add string lights, include seating where you can relax, and you’ve got your own outdoor sanctuary.
It’s often the center of life in a home, where friends and family gather, a source of love and comfort. Bring that sense of togetherness and joy outdoors with an outdoor kitchen, complete with cooking area, storage space, and countertops to prep.
An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a grilling area or as elaborate as a full-blown culinary center with refrigeration and running water.
If you enjoy cooking, like to entertain, or simply want to spend more of your time in the presence and beauty of nature, a kitchen can be the feature that brings the rest together into one truly functional and exceptional living space.
If you’re dreaming of an outdoor space where you can enjoy and explore a lifestyle that includes the sun and fresh air, stars and breezes, birds, butterflies, and blooms, it’s time to book a consultation with us. We’ll put together a plan with you so that you can fully enjoy the outdoors day and night, throughout all four seasons of the year.