How to design your outdoor living space

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

How to design your outdoor living space

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Outdoor living spaces are a great way for homeowners to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, spend quality time with friends and family, and have some time for themselves. Not only that, but they are great for resale value, and something that many people look for when searching for a house. There are so many different ways to design your outdoor space, that it can get tiresome and overwhelming, but luckily, we have some things for you to consider.

So, what are the steps to designing an outdoor space?

What type of feel are you going for?

First, you need to think about how you want your outdoor living space to “feel”. Is this space going to be a sanctuary, or are you planning on entertaining here every weekend? If you are looking for a space to relax, you are going to want to your space to have a neutral palette, comfortable pieces of furniture, and a water feature. If this space is more of an entertaining area, you most likely will want to add speakers, an outdoor kitchen area, lighting and lots of room for people to move around.

What is important to you?

When designing the perfect space, think about what is important for you. Do you want to relax in nature after a stressful day, or do you want to tan and have drinks with friends? Having a hammock or cozy chair for you to read in is helpful if you are going to be the only person enjoying your space, but if you are going to want to have some friends over for drinks, you will need to have more space available for friends to sit and lounge.

Hobbies and what you enjoy doing in your spare time are also an important thing to consider when designing your backyard space. If you enjoy reading, having a shade area that will protect you from hot days will allow you to enjoy your book in peace. People who enjoy sitting around a fire are more likely to want a really nice fire pit, and sunken in chairs, while homeowners who like to entertain will want an outdoor kitchen and bar.

What type of lifestyle do you lead?

Each homeowner is different, and is going to use their outdoor space for different things. If you have children, you are going to want to design your patio so that there are sections for the children to play, and areas that you do not mind getting messy, and can clean easily. (Think water table or sand box area). Children and pets also need an outdoor place to go to cool down from the heat of the outdoors, so a roof structure is a must. If you single and are having lots of get togethers, a bar area adds extra seating to your space, and is a place for everyone to congregate too.

How much do you use your outdoor space?

Ask yourself this question, if you had a space that you always dreamed of, how much would you use it? If you can see yourself using your outdoor living space every day, or at least all spring and summer, you are going to want to design your space to be comfortable, and useable. The area should be big enough to fit all of your furniture on, with enough space between areas to walk around comfortably. If you think that you are only going to use your space every once in a while, perhaps a smaller patio with a simple coffee bar will meet your needs just fine.

Options for designing your outdoor living space

When it comes to executing your perfect outdoor living space, you have options to choose from.

Do it yourself

If you currently have a decent patio that needs some updating, it makes sense to design your outdoor space yourself. Think about all of the factors talked about above, shop around, add your own simple touches here and there, (pots, décor) and you will no doubt be able to create a great space for your own backyard!

Hire a Designer

Some of us are not the creative type, and have no idea where to start when it comes to making an outdoor space liveable, and that is okay! There are plenty of companies (Best landscape designers in the Fraser Valley) that you can hire that are able to listen to your wants and needs, and turn it into something spectacular. Some companies will design your ideal space and leave it up to you to get the work done, while others are like a one stop shop, and will do everything for you.

Hire a contractor

When it comes to adding focal points to your backyard, hiring a contractor will be your best bet to execute your vision. Hardscape features can really warm up your outdoor living space (paver patios, walkways, raised flower beds) and when done by a professional, will last decades. Anyone looking to have a backyard space that is comfortable and functional (think roof structures, and patio stairs) will benefit from hiring a contractor.

Remember, these options for designing your outdoor living space are not limited to one person or option only. You can hire a contractor to do your main space, and then DIY the rest of it, or have a designer come in after the contractor leaves to do the final touches. Whatever you choose, be sure that you love the design, and that it is going to work well for you and your family.