As the weather heats up, the time comes to bring the outdoor furniture out of the garage and into the backyard. Outdoor entertainment has come a long way from a patio table and chairs, and has evolved into a whole outdoor living experience, much like the living room or kitchen found inside most homes. Creating a comfortable living space outdoors requires some time, planning, shopping, and maybe even construction but it is well worth it for the comfort and entertainment value, as well as the overall value it adds to any real estate property.
Planning Your Outdoor Spaces
Taking time to create a plan for the outdoor space will save time and effort, not to mention money down the road.
Plans should answer the following questions:
- What space are you currently working with?
- Is this space being used for entertainment, relaxation, or both?
- Does the space include existing structures like a pool, deck, or fire pit?
- What would you like the new space to function as?
- Are you looking for a relaxing retreat, a dining space for the whole family, or an entertainment location for guests?
- What is the inspiration for your new space?
- Having photographs from places like Pinterest will make planning and shopping easier.
- What would you like to add to the space?
- Are you looking to put in a pool, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen?
- What is the weather in the space for all seasons?
- This can help you decide if you need permanent structures or what shade options are available.
- It will also help if you need to clear trees for more sun or will need to remove furniture in the colder months.
- Which shade options will be best for the space?
- Some shade options include umbrellas, awnings, gazebos, canopies, or pergolas.
- Which accessories would complete the space?
- Does the location need more lighting, either from lamps, torches, or candles?
- Do you have flatware and utensils for outdoors?
- Do you have grilling tools readily available while cooking?
The furniture part of the outdoor space is where comfort plays the largest role. Guests and daily users alike won’t enjoy an outdoor space if it isn’t comfortable. Furniture can also really set the tone for the space and will vary depending on if the space is for relaxing or entertaining.
Relaxing spaces typically include seating to lay down whether it’s to rest, nap, sunbathe, or read. Lounge chairs like chaise lounges or loveseat style pieces work as both relaxing and entertaining seating, whereas a hammock or reclining chair is more for resting. Spaces for guests usually include a conversation space, much like in the living room, dining room, or kitchen in a home. Living room style seating can be made up of loveseats, outdoor sofas, and cushioned chairs. There are also many outdoor dining tables and even bar style setups that give a dining room feel.
Another integral piece of furniture are the tables, in all their varieties. A relaxing space may have an end table and a coffee table, both of which can hold beverages as well as books and electronics. A space more suited for dining and entertaining may also include a patio table or even a banquet table, which works as both a place to eat or a buffet for larger parties. It’s also important to think about which type of materials you’d like in a table. Typical table materials include metal, glass, and wood, all of which handle outdoor situations well, but each come with their own weathering issues from rust, shattering, or re-painting or staining.
The finishing touches to an outdoor space are the accessories and colors to complete the ambiance. Many outdoor spaces need some shade from the sun, typically an umbrella or awning but there are many options for a more permanent structure. Canopies, gazebos, and pergolas offer a variety of ways to provide shade and shelter depending on the space available. Lighting is also important, for it dictates how often the space can be used. Things like string lights and outdoor lamps, as well as candles, provide options to entertain into the nighttime. A fire pit is also a great addition that brings the party outdoors and can be an enjoyable way to unwind after a long day.
The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. It’s where everyone gathers, eats and talks during parties and events. This feeling of coming together should be enjoyed outside as well, which is why outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity.
An outdoor kitchen is just as is sounds, a counter or bar space where meals can be prepped and cooked while mingling with guests and entertaining. Kitchens can be as simple as a grill with a small prep space and some storage for grilling tools, or it can be as expansive as stone counters with a sink, fridge, cook surface, and bar stools.
Before an outdoor kitchen, cooking outside meant gathering around the barbecue to catch up while waiting for the meal. Now the outdoor kitchen transforms the space into a place to gather, where barbecue enthusiasts can discuss technique and learn from each other, without feeling isolated from the rest of the guests. From backyard barbecue enthusiasts to those running a business, an outdoor kitchen takes a hobby and makes it the life of the party.
A comfortable outdoor living space can transform an empty backyard into an extension of the home. With the proper furniture, layout, and shelter a simple table and chairs or a whole outdoor kitchen can be the atmosphere for parties, friendly gatherings, or just enjoying nature after a long week. What once was just the grill on the back deck can be transformed into your room of choice during the warm weather wherever you call home.