Outdoor living spaces can offer the comfort of home in the solitude of nature and expand your ability to entertain guests. Here are a few suggestions to help turn your backyard into a well-used and well-loved outdoor living space.
Decide on the Use
The first step to transforming your backyard is to decide on how it will be used. Do you want a space for casual dinner parties? Should you consider designing a kid-friendly area for your children and their friends to hang out? Or do you want a relaxing place to have a cup of coffee in the morning? This decision will have a big influence on both the design and budget of your outdoor living space. Knowing the end goal of your backyard will help you plan the flow from indoor to outdoor as well. If you plan on hosting dinner parties on a deck or patio, then having easy access to the kitchen, (or setting aside space to build an outdoor kitchen,) is a must when starting your design. If you’d like a quiet spot for reflection and relaxation, then you may want to build your space away from home to reduce distractions.
Add Landscape Lighting
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the party has to move inside! Outdoor lighting is a great way to add an inviting atmosphere to your outdoor space. String lights in the shape of flowers or berries are a charming way to provide light that will blend seamlessly with the backyard decor during the day. If you’d like to add highlights to your space, landscape lighting can encourage guests to wander gently lit garden paths, illuminate water features, and more. Create a full outdoor LED lighting system to gradually control the brightness of your outdoor space as the sun sets or add fun colors to the next late-night party you throw. Whether your lighting plan is as simple as a few torches or runs the length of your backyard, landscape lighting is a wonderful way to encourage your guests to linger and enjoy your space.
Create a Place for Lounging
Nothing says “spend time here” quite like a comfortable place to sit. Whether you’re creating a backyard space for entertaining or seclusion, comfortable seating is a must. From benches to deck chairs, there is no shortage of furniture designed to both withstand the elements and fit every style. Outdoor sofas can bring the living room outside and will seat many guests. If you’re building a private retreat, a traditional hammock or a hammock chair can be a wonderful addition to your space. Cushions can add a pop of color to your outdoor décor but be sure you choose a fabric that is both weather and UV resistant to prevent fading and to keep your space looking inviting through the seasons.
In the same way that walls in your house can designate and divide certain rooms, so too can boundaries separate spaces in your backyard. In landscaping, your boundary options are many. It can be as simple as a visual boundary, such as the divide between the stone of a patio and the grass. A deck can add vertical separation to the space, even if the elevation change is only a few inches. If you have a green thumb, a living boundary of plants, trees, and shrubs not only adds natural beauty to your space but also acts as natural sound absorbers. In the tight quarters of subdivisions, these plants can keep your neighbors happy if parties last into the night. Structures such as pergolas, arbors, and gazebos can also provide structure to your outdoor living space and provide a nice frame through which to view the rest of the backyard.
Nature has a special charm. By embracing it in your home’s overall design and function, you can create a unique space that friends and family love to spend time in.