Before you start buying furniture, hiring landscapers, or put up a single board, think about what you want your outdoor space to be. Ask yourself some honest questions. Here are a couple to get you started: do you want to be able to sit outside at night but hate bugs? Want to use the space in the summer but live somewhere very hot? Do you want to be able to watch TV outside, or are you fine with being without power? Is outdoor cooking something you love to do?
Having the answers to questions like these will really give you an idea of what to look for when you’re buying materials (if you are a DIY kind of person) or what to tell your contractor. If you know you want to be outside year round but the weather where you live doesn’t necessarily cooperate – maybe it is too hot sometimes or it gets very cold – then you know you want an enclosed space. Same thing if you want to be able to enjoy being outside without getting bothered by bugs. Even then, you have some options. You can have a screened-in patio or a four seasons room.
And if you love to host cookouts, consider an outdoor kitchen instead of just a grill. Think about how functional you want the space to be. You’d be surprised at how much easier life is when you’ve got a sink, counter space, or even a small fridge out there with you when you’re preparing food to throw on the grill. You also are going to want a table and some seating options that will work for the amount of people you typically cook for.
If it is a relaxing space you’re looking for, there are wonderful outdoor sofas, rugs, and other furniture available that look more and more like regular indoor furniture but are surprisingly durable. It can be a second family room, or a space for the grownups to unwind after a long day at work. Permanent or portable metal fire pits are a great way to round out the space and make an excellent focal point to any outdoor living area.
The lighting is something else to consider. If you want to entertain outdoors, soft solar lighting is a good choice – there is little to no work involved, and there are some really fantastic options. Especially if you’ve got a fire pit, you can get away with a less-is-more mentality. But if you’re hoping to read a book outdoors on a balmy summer night, you’re going to have to invest in some quality lighting. If you’re able to run power out there, you have lots of options as far as lighting goes. Just make sure that whatever you choose is rated for outdoor use!
Whatever you decide to do in your yard, be sure to have a good view of some lovely pieces of nature. Whether it is some beautiful flowers, some potted herbs, or a shady tree, let nature be part of your outdoor living!