Outdoor Living is one of our specialties. We believe the expanding your living space outside is the most important piece of any landscape installation or renovation.
How Do You Want to Use your yard or Outdoor Living Space?
First and foremost, you must decide exactly how you would like to use your yard or outdoor living space and what activities the landscape should be able to support.
It is important to make a list of what you want to be able to do in the space and how you plan to use it most often will assist you in determining which features should be a priority for inclusion, as well as which features can be moved to a separate list of things to be added at a later date or to include now if your project budget allows.
Do you want to have a large space to play sports or have a trampoline?
Then you should consider a space for a lawn or synthetic turf.
Do you want to have a space to store household tools or recreational items such as bikes or kayaks?
Then you should consider a storage shed in your design.
Do you want to have the capability of preparing family meals outdoors?
Then you should consider installing an outdoor kitchen.
Do you plan to use the space primarily for having friends over to watch sports?
Then you will need to plan for electrical for a TV, how to protect it from the elements and minimize glare from the sun. You may also want to consider an outdoor fridge in your kitchen space.
If your dream outdoor space will be a used for formal dinners or entertaining, you may want to place more focus on ample patio and seating space, flooring, overhead protection from the sun and seasonal weather. You may also wish to consider outdoor heating such as a firepits, fireplace or heaters.
However, if your tastes lean more towards a simple place to enjoy your morning coffee or impress your friends when you host the neighborhood barbecue, you may want to prioritize comfy seating, firepit and a spacious BBQ island.
As you can see these are a few of the items to discuss with your Landscape Designer when considering a renovation ore new landscape when designing your home.
What Challenges may you have with your Outdoor Living Space or new Landscape?
Once you have determined how you want to use your outdoor living space or yard, you need to consider special challenges that pertain to your particular situation.
For example, if the area is exposed to wind or full sunlight, how will you create a comfortable space that is sheltered from these elements?
Depending on the proximity of your neighbors and the fencing and landscaping of your yard, you may also need to determine how you will ensure privacy to allow full enjoyment of your space.
If drainage is an issue in that section of your yard, you may need to look into proper grading of the area and using pavers or synthetic grass, that allow good drainage.
If you are working with a small space, now is the time to determine how best to manage traffic flow and how you can fit the features you want or need without crowding the area and taking away from the overall look or function.
As with rooms inside your home, an outdoor living space can easily become overcrowded with large furnishings or too many features. With careful planning and the right selections, you will be able to create the space of your dreams without sacrificing style or function.
This is also a good time to determine the focal point for your outdoor room or landscape.
Just like an interior room, an exterior room will benefit from having a visually appealing point of focus, which could be an outdoor fireplace, an amazing view, a pool or hot tub, water feature or your garden.
It is important to select your focal point early on, which will allow you to design the space around it, while also allows you to address any challenges related to the visual you wish to emphasize, such as trees or other landscaping that may be blocking the view.
Coming up with creative solutions to design challenges is often limited by what the homeowner has previously seen or experienced, which is why having a Landscape Designer design the space can be very beneficial.
What Utilities will you need?
The importance of planning for utilities in the early stages of outdoor room design or landscape cannot be overstated. Once you have a general layout of which features will go where, you can plan to run utility lines to the appropriate areas in your yard prior to beginning your build. This is also when you should be looking to the future for what you might add at a later date.
For example, if the BBQ island of your dreams is not within your budget right now, you may need to opt for a more affordable option, such as a standard BBQ on a cart.
However, if you plan to add that BBQ island at some point in the future, you should go ahead and run the utilities you will need to that area.
This might include a gas line or electrical wiring, as well as a water line and sewer, if a sink is part of the plan.
Water features, bars, mini refrigerators, lighting, speakers and anything else that will require electrical wiring, a gas line or plumbing needs to be considered at this point, and the appropriate utilities need to be set up before you begin installing paving or natural stone, synthetic turf or surrounding gardens.
Once your build is complete, it can be quite costly to run even a single line that you forgot to include, so double and triple check your lists to make sure all of your electrical and plumbing needs will be covered. You can always run PVC piping for future sleeves to various points in your yard which act as a placeholder, just in case you change your mind and need to run a few utilities at a future point in time. This is also a nice selling point for future homeowners, knowing that their options are open.
Things to consider when creating an outdoor living space:
- Use: How Many Months of the Year
- Size: How Large Should the Space Be
- Purpose: Dining, Entertaining, Relaxing
- Covered, Uncovered or Combination
- Pergola Materials: Cedar, Pressure Treated or Metal
- Outdoor BBQ Kitchen Materials: Natural Stone, Granite, Concrete or etc
- Appliances: Bar Fridge, Wine Fridge, Microwave, BBQ, Sideburners and TV
- Outdoor Lighting: Style and Application
All of the above are part of the puzzle when it comes to creating an outdoor living space. With our experience and your dream, we can make it all a reality.
Want to learn more about how we can bring your living space to the outdoors?
Call us at 604-924-5296 to schedule your consultation with one of our expert Outdoor Living specialists and we will be more than happy to discuss your dreams.