Creating the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

Having a comfortable outdoor living space to relax in is a great addition to any home. There are, however, several factors you’ll need to consider before tackling this big project. These include, first and foremost, the purpose you want the space to fulfill, your budget, the size of the space you have to work with, as well as your local climate.


Start with the purpose 

What do you particularly want to do with your new outdoor space? Do you just want to have a quiet spot to relax in with a book, or have a drink with a friend or two? Do you want to be more ambitious and need a space to host outdoor dinner parties or BBQs? Will you often be hosting large groups of guests, or do you normally entertain on a smaller scale? 

Will this be a purely adult space, or will it have to accommodate children as well? Would you, in fact, prefer a separate space for the kids? Do you have pets that will also be using the space? All these factors will have a determining influence on how you develop your new outdoor space. 


Consider the overall look and feel you want to achieve

This aspect will be very closely determined by the size of not only the actual space you have to work with but also your budget. But don't be disheartened if your budget is modest - you can still achieve stunning effects with creative designs, elements like water features, fire pits, stunning lighting, and lovely plantings. 

If you have a very large space, why not consider designing more than one ‘room’? What about a striking feature like a beautiful waterfall, a stunning fire pit, or even an outdoor theater? Will you be building a deck, or a paved patio or courtyard? A lovely fountain, bubbling stream, or an evocatively lighted piece of sculpture can all create stunning effects and ambiance. 

However, always remember that your outdoor area should have a functional, complementary, and logical connection to your house. For instance, your outdoor dining area should be located near your kitchen to facilitate serving. And always remember that although bold features can have a striking effect, your overall atmosphere and impression should be harmonious, cozy, and invite relaxation. The impact of clever and atmospheric lighting can’t be overstated here.


Find the perfect products to furnish your outdoor living space

Nowadays, the developer of an outside living space is spoiled for choice with a huge selection of weather-resistant, washable, supremely comfortable, and beautiful exterior furnishings. Always remember that hard landscaping is very important in outdoor living spaces. You should have ample hard surfaces for chairs, sofas, tables and other pieces to rest on. Here again, a wide selection of materials is available, like brick, pavers, slate, granite, flagstones, and decking material in wood, bamboo, and various composite and hard-wearing synthetic wood-look products.  

To offset your hard landscaping, you can use abundant plantings to soften the effect. Easy-to-care-for shrubs, grasses, non-invasive bamboo, and perennials are all good choices, but do draw on the specialized knowledge of your local plant experts in this regard. Designing ‘green walls’ is a clever idea for ensuring privacy. A large selection of awnings, both fixed and retractable, pergolas, canopies, and garden umbrellas are available for providing shade.

If you are looking for some design guidance or outdoor living space products, then visit one of our MD, DE, or NC locations. 


Additional tips to consider

Here are some additional points to bear in mind before you launch into creating your new outdoor living area:

  • Do thorough planning before you start! Measure the space, draw diagrams and thoroughly research the cost of materials, labor, furnishings, lighting, water features, plantings, etc. beforehand.  Research the latest trends in design, color, materials and finishes, as well as the different construction options regarding outdoor spaces.
  • Look at upcycling and recycling what you already have. It can reduce costs and you can often achieve stunning results! Decide on a style that you like, and then create a coherent design around it. Always remember that maintenance is key for an outside space, so choose materials and fabrics that will be hard-wearing and easy to maintain. 
  • Don't be shy to consult the experts, both local and online. There are some fantastic ideas out there! 
  • If you are employing contractors to do the work for you, make sure that they are reputable, skilled, and experienced. Ask them for references and follow up on those references. Check online to see how previous customers rate them.
  • And finally, do consider your local weather! Don't embark on a big outside project just as you're heading into the rainy season or into extreme winter weather. 

Adding a relaxing, comfortable, and beautiful outside living area will not only be rewarding, but it will add a whole new dimension to how you live in your home. And, as you develop your outside space into a beautiful and structured area, you won’t just enhance the quality of your life, you can also add substantially to the value of your property.