As we embark on the last of the summer months there is still time to enjoy the season with fire pits, outdoor entertaining, pool parties, backyard barbeques, ice cream and ‘s mores. The question I have for you is your backyard patio up to the task of welcoming family and guests or does it need an upgrade? Learn how to design your perfect outdoor living area and let the entertaining, lounging, and dining alfresco begin.
Purpose of the Outdoor Living Area
Regardless of whether you’re starting the outdoor living area from the ground up or updating an existing backyard patio, there is one thing you must take into consideration. It’s essential to think about the purpose of your outdoor living space[s] because that will influence several decisions. Ask yourself, are you going to need the space to be ample enough to host several outdoor parties or a smaller more intimate space for a relaxing evening with a couple of close family members or friends? Once you answer that question you can begin to envision what you want the space to look like, depending on how much space you have to work with in your outdoor living space.
Formulate a Plan
Take some time and peruse your backyard and determine what you like and what you don’t. What existing aspects do you want to make it a point to keep, and things you want to change or remove all together. Then you need to ask yourself a series of questions to determine what kind of outdoor living area you will need, formal, informal or both. Questions like how often do you cook outside? What kinds of foods will you be cooking? How many people will you be cooking for? Will you be doing prep work outside or just the cooking? Do you need area for entertaining? Are you planning on eating outside?
Next take a minute to write or sketch out the design for your outdoor living area so you can optimize the space. Do you envision your backyard with a deck, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, dining area, plenty of seating, a pergola, a pool, or whatever else your heart desires? Equally as important as figuring out what you want in your outdoor living space is determining the budget you have to work with. You need to determine the difference between what you want, need, and can afford.
As I mentioned earlier one of the things that goes hand in hand with summer are barbeques or a number of different family events, which means hosting friends and family. In that case you want to make sure that your outdoor cooking space has everything you need and that you have quick and easy access to the main house for anything you might want from drinks to more food. You may also want to consider having other amenities in your outdoor cooking space. Depending on your individual (or your frequent guests’) requirements that could include anything such as pizza ovens, wet bars, fireplaces, side burners, vent hood, smokers, warming draws, or roasting spits, dishwasher, refrigerators, or outdoor sinks.
Dining & Lounging & Entertainment Areas
Next to, or at least not too far away from the outdoor cooking area you should have a dining table where you and your guests can enjoy a wonderful meal under the stars. That being said don’t forget about incorporating a lounge area that is close to either a fire pit, television, or bar area where your guests can talk and catch up while they wait for the food or enjoy conversations after the meal. Don’t skimp on the seating, but also don’t make the space feel over crowded. Take your time and find the right amount of seating, as you want to ensure that everyone has a comfortable place to sit. A good tip to keep in mind is to make sure the seating you choose is flexible, meaning that it can be moved around. This allows your guests to move around and gives them the option to create a more causal and relaxed seating arrangement if so desired.
Don’t Forget the Ambiance
Adding some ambiance to your outdoor living space is equally important. This can take the form of placing speakers around the entertaining or sitting area where you can have music playing in the background. Lights are another important aspect that you will not want to overlook. You can utilize string lights or tiki torches but you want to make sure that you will have enough lighting for you and your guests to be able to see so that everyone stays safe. Consider having pathways lit and have lights near the dining and lounging areas that can be adjusted if needed. Having your outdoor space covered is also a good idea so you will be prepared for the occasional rain or the summer heat. Of course when it comes to wanting shade on those hot summer days having trees in your backyard is an alternative to umbrellas. You can also have a structure built to cover your outdoor space, or a pergola, or you can use an umbrella to cover your outdoor dining area. Just make sure that whatever option you do choose avoid combustible material being anywhere near the grill.
Outdoor Flooring & Backsplash Options
When it comes to outside flooring you can use stone, concrete, or tile. You want materials that can withstand being outside, that can handle the heat, cold, and precipitation. When it comes to your outdoor walkway, patio, or pool area for example consider using porcelain tile, as it is a stain resistant and durable material that can endure the outdoor environment. Not only that but porcelain tile also comes in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes so you have plenty of options to choose from. Whatever material you decide to go with make sure it coordinates with the overall feel of your outdoor living area.
Depending on the size of your outdoor living area is you can either have one main space or several separate spaces from the kitchen, to the dining, or fire pit area. You want to make sure that the multiple aspects of your space feel separate while at the same time intimate and connected to the overall theme of your outdoor living area. In order to accomplish this make sure that everything in the space has a cohesive feel from the furniture to the lighting. There are also several styles or themes you can choose such as traditional, coastal, contemporary, rustic, or modern to name a few. Half the fun of creating an outdoor living area is dining al fresco but the other half comes from finding the décor that suits your specific design style. Just make sure that you stick to one theme or style otherwise the space you’ve worked so hard to create will come off as chaotic instead of relaxing.
In keeping with your outdoor living space, whether you’re creating a new space, making minor touchups or need major modifications you now have a guide to help you navigate to ensure that the outdoor living area is ready to handle all the fun that awaits. So what are you waiting for, get ready to entertain in your beautiful outdoor living space, making unforgettable memories with family and friends.