Outdoor Living Project Guide

Project Planning: Where to Begin

How to Create Your Ideal Outdoor Living Space

Whether it’s a full-scale backyard oasis or a simple patio built for alfresco dining, a great outdoor living area is the perfect backdrop for life’s happiest moments. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to both style and function: Whatever you can dream, you can build.

So, what does it take to bring your ideal outdoor living space to life?

The best place to start is right here! We’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you make the most informed decisions possible — from layout to lighting and everything in between. In other words: We’ve done the research so you can simply enjoy making your outdoor living dreams a reality.

In this guide, you’ll find trends in outdoor living, pro tips from landscape designers and other experts, cost information, helpful diagrams and checklists, and photos to inspire your projects. What’s more, you’ll walk away with all the ideas and information you need to start your outdoor living project with confidence.

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Photo Courtesy of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

6 Benefits of an Outdoor Living Area
  1. Brings family and friends together
  2. Improves health and happiness
  3. Boosts property resale value
  4. Provides dedicated space for relaxing and entertaining
  5. Extends interior space and increases usable square footage
  6. Offers year-round, round-the-clock outdoor enjoyment

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Before You Begin

An extension of our homes, our outdoor living areas allow us to design exclusively for the ways we want to spend our time. And innovations in materials and technologies have brought the comforts of the indoors out — further broadening the realm of possibilities. To narrow your focus and create a space you’ll enjoy for years to come, ask yourself these five important questions before you start your project:

1. How do you intend to use the space?

Will you be using your outdoor living area primarily to entertain year-round party guests, to host family BBQs and bocce ball tournaments, or to spend quiet summer nights unwinding by the fire?

2. What features would you most like to include?

Depending on how you intend to use your space, you may wish to include features like a built-in BBQ and wine fridge, a water feature, or a fire pit and seating area.

3. How do you envision the look and feel of your space?

Are you drawn to minimalistic modern designs or a more rustic or traditional appearance? How will you style the space to make it your own? And how will your exterior design complement your home’s interior?

4. What climate considerations do you need to make?

Depending on the positioning of your outdoor living area and the climate in which you live, you may want to include a shading element or heating and cooling systems. Your area’s climate may also affect your decisions regarding materials and features.

5. Will you build it all now or phase things in over time?

Sometimes, it makes the best financial sense to phase elements of your dream space in over time. In any case, it’s a good idea to consult with a landscape designer who can help you ensure you’re creating a foundation that can support all the elements you wish to include now and into the future.

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