Outdoor Space

Let’s Play Outside: How to Create a Perfect Space

We love summer! Whether you’re outside soaking up the sun or you’re barbecuing, entertaining guests, or just hanging out and reading a book, your exterior space design is just as important as your interior design. Not only is it a space that you may be inviting guests into for a quick burger or dog, but if your yard is a complete and total mess, you probably don’t want to spend any time out there. You don’t need a perfectly cultivated garden to have a beautiful backyard, but organizing your exterior space and making a great entertaining area can certainly help.

What makes a great exterior design space?

Having a beautiful flowering garden is a plus, but it’s not the end all be all of exterior design. Gardens can take years and lots of time and money to develop. If you need something in a pinch to spruce up your exterior design and entertaining space, looking at structural aspects and the layout of your yard will be a great starting point.

Considering how much space you have and what you’re going to use it for is a great way to start creating the perfect outdoor space. You’re going to want to consider seasonal areas as well. Will you be using the space for different things throughout the years?

Functions to Consider

How are you going to be using your exterior yard space? These are some functions you may want to consider:

  • Barbecuing
  • Hot Tub
  • Pool
  • Deck (allowable space on the deck, if one is being built, etc)
  • Storage
  • Firepit
  • Gardening areas (if you want to grow veggies on your deck, for instance)
  • Lounging areas (think hammocks, seating, benches)
  • Bar

Structures to Consider

You may also be thinking about structures as well. Here are some you may want to consider:

  • Pergolas
  • Gazebos
  • Any shaded or screened in areas
  • Greenhouses
  • Cabanas
  • Storage spaces such as sheds or shed boxes

How much sun and where?

Since you’re thinking now about what kind of functions you want your yard to have, and what kind of structures you want, it’s time to start thinking about how much sun you get per day and where it lands. If you have a deck that gets hammered by sun for most of the day, entertaining during daylight hours can be difficult, as you and your guests will get very hot. This is a great way to consider placing structures to mitigate sunlight. Another idea is that if you live by a river, lake, marsh, swamp, or otherwise, you may have a problem with mosquitos, so having an area you can retreat and be mosquito-less might be important to you — perhaps a screened in gazebo.

Other things to consider…

You don’t want to forget about other important things to consider. If you’re planning for a barbecuing area, make sure it is safely out of reach of structures and within your city’s fire codes on its location. The same thing goes for fire pits — usually they need to be about twenty-five feet from any structures. Make sure all your measurements are correct before laying down any expensive pavers!

Draw a Map

Now it’s time to put it all together. You can use an app to help you map out your yard, but it’s just as easy to grab a piece of paper and jot it down quickly. Here’s an example:

Yard Map

Once you’ve got everything jotted down, you can start on the fun part… Shopping for your outdoor space! Stay tuned for our next post where we talk about some great exterior yard furniture and accessories.

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