12 Tips to Consider when Designing your Ideal Outdoor Living Space

Consider when Designing your Ideal Outdoor Living Space

In New England, we have three seasons ideal for enjoying outdoor living. You can even enjoy it in the winter if you design it correctly. Here are 12 tips to help you design your outdoor space’s landscape design.

  1. Purpose: Decide what is the purpose of the space and design accordingly.
    – Do you want to host dinner parties or BBQs?
    – How many people are you going to be entertaining?
    – Are you seeking a tranquil space to relax and unwind to read a book?
    – Does your space need to be kid or pet-friendly?
  2. Layout: When considering a space, many landscape architects suggest a similar process to house design. You want to figure out the floor plan for the outdoor space.  Each outdoor space should have a logical and functional connection to the house’s interior. Think about lighting, a dining area, and a relaxing living space. You should consider hookups like gas and power for outdoor entertainment systems and appliances.
  3. Surroundings: Depending on your location, you want to consider the views. Imagine morning coffee in your dining or seating area; what do you want to view when reading a book or the news? You may need to create privacy depending on the proximity to your neighbors, which can require fences or shrubs.
  4. Exposure: Depending on your outdoor space’s direction, it changes the functionality. If you are in New Hampshire, you may have a view of the White Mountains, or your backyard could have beautiful views of a lake or pond. You want to be aware of the wind direction during different seasons.
  5. Wind Patterns: Consider wind direction primarily westerly in New England, northwesterly in winter, and southwesterly in the summer. Consider this when planning out the placement of your design. You do not want to be facing a breeze whenever you sit in your space.
  6. Comfort: Know what direction the sun is in for both afternoon and early evening; you’ll want to provide shade. This can be accomplished with Umbrellas, pergolas, awnings, or even trees. Anything that will take the edge off those hot summer days.
  7. Hardscape: You want to combine hardscape surfaces and softscape organic beds. Using different hardscaping materials, flagstone, pavers, cobble, and others. You can add borders, bands, and insets to give your patio design a unique look.  Flower beds can add beautiful color to the space.
  8. Plant Selection: Depending on your need, you may want privacy plants like Boxwood. Foundation plants Azaleas closer to the house, then you can use Fern or Hosta around the borders of the patio.
  9. Furnishings: You want to choose the appropriate outdoor furniture for the space that will match the New England climate. Choosing patio furniture that is weather-resistant and washable is highly recommended. Consider movable tables, cocktail stands, and outdoor seating such as couches and chairs. What about an outdoor television and speaker system to allow a movie night in your space?  Samsung makes a TV model called The Terrace that is weatherproof.
  10. Water: A water feature can add a sense of calm to the space. Adding a moving water area can have a high impact on the space. Also, consider having running water by the grill or kitchen area, which will prevent frequent trips going back inside to rinse something off.
  11. Fire: When the evenings get cool, heading inside is unnecessary. Incorporate a nice fire pit or fireplace area, this can be gas or wood. This will allow you to use the space in spring and fall when temperatures get cooler. Consider adding storage space to place blankets and marshmallow roasting supplies.
  12. Electrical and Lighting: Want to keep the party going well into the night, adding lighting will make this happen. Consider illuminating the dining and cooking area so you do not need flashlights to see. Also, consider embedding lighting into the patio to have up lighting. Having weatherproof electrical outlets in the space will allow for more options. Add some electrical outlets to the outdoor kitchen area for your blender for mixing drinks and a small fridge protected from weather.

These 12 tips can give you ideas on how to design the ultimate outdoor design space. If you’re pondering a transformation for your outdoor space, consider the professionals at Dracut Landscaping. We deliver a seamless, efficient process, creating a customized outdoor space that meets your landscape design needs. Get in touch with us to get a quote for your hardscape outdoor project and learn more about your options.

About The Author
Michael is a seasoned landscaper, providing services for commercial and residential clients in the Dracut area for over 20 years. Owner of Dracut Landscaping, Michael's team, can help create an ideal landscape for your property.

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