We’ve all sent our kids outdoors on a beautiful day, right? Maybe it’s just too nice to sit inside, or maybe you need a little quiet while they burn off energy…
The truth is, sometimes we need to send ourselves outdoors as adults, too. A beautiful summer evening with just a touch of coolness in the air can be the perfect venue for a relaxing time with family, or a party that has simply outgrown your living room.
Outdoor spaces are skyrocketing in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why.
As you plan your own oasis, it’s important to really take the time to strategize, thinking through exactly those elements that you need to maximize functionality and create a seamless connection to the rest of your home.
 

What Should You Consider As You Design Your Outdoor Space?

#1 Size
This may seem simplistic, but it’s crucial. How big do you need your outdoor living space to be? You don’t want it to dominate the landscape, of course, but you also want to be sure that the extended family won’t need to sit in the yard on folding chairs during the next big get together. Whether you are envisioning a dining area, deck, stone patio, outdoor kitchen, pool, sports court, or fire pit, size is an important first consideration.
#2 Seating
This is where you can bring style, function, and design all together into one awesome package.
Tables and chairs are always a good option, but why not take it to the next level and consider built-in seating? Benches with storage underneath, for example, can maximize your space, freeing up valuable real estate and offering an easy way to stow non-essentials after the party is over.
#3 What Do You Need from Your Outdoor Space?

The options are limitless, ranging from a basic stone patio with ample seating to an outdoor kitchen with planters to grow fresh herbs. Before you commit to a design, think through your goals as a host and consider exactly what would let you utilize the space just as much as possible.
#4 Lighting
Beyond simply adding ambiance, lighting is essential for the functionality of your living space. It’s vital for the safety of navigation too, and will likely soon be required as part of keeping your deck up to code (specifically on stairways). Small, LED bulbs are unobtrusive, but they offer serious illumination and massive longevity.
#5 Location Is Everything!

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious where you should build your deck or patio, but it’s still wise to slow down and consider all the factors at play, including material selection. For example, which deck flooring would be the best option for you: natural wood or composite?
Or, how about your deck railing options? These can include:
Composite
Glass
Cable railing
Iron railing
Tempered glass
Steel
Aluminum
A balustrade design or interlocking patterns
You’ll never regret maximizing your view, privacy, and the overall usability of the space. Talk to a professional builder to gain insights and ideas that you might not have considered otherwise!
#6 Make It Easy to Clean and Maintain

Let’s get real practical here…
An oasis that looks like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon may be stunning, but do you want that level of upkeep? If your thumb isn’t bright green or you don’t have endless time to trim, maintain, and landscape, don’t worry! There are lots of options that are better-suited to your needs. Decorative stone patios, for example, are gorgeous and maintenance is minimal. Add in a few standing planters for seasonal herbs and flowers, if you’d like, and you’ll have that nice, outdoorsy vibe without the hassle of constant maintenance.
#7 Shade!
Stepping outside into unfiltered sunlight can feel glorious at first, but 30-45 minutes later you might just want to head back inside.
As a stylish solution, consider adding a pergola over at least part of your outdoor space. You won’t lose that outdoors feel, but you will get a little relief from the heat of the day.
As a final tip, we recommend finding a local, reputable, experienced builder to help with your project. We touched on this a bit above, but it bears repeating: a real pro can help you think through options, ideas, and solutions that you might never have considered otherwise. You want to be sure you get the very most out of your space!
About the Author
Gerety Building & Restoration is a full-service general contractor that has provided home remodeling and restoration services in Greenwich for over 35 years. Gerety and team has provided clients with a hands-on approach while maintaining a personal commitment to customer satisfaction and delivering the best quality construction.

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