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As winter turns to spring, our thoughts turn to outdoor living. Rising temperatures, blooming flowers and the smells of backyard BBQ beckon us to gather outdoors with friends and family. A well-designed outdoor living area can help you enjoy the outdoors in comfort, but creating the perfect outdoor space takes a bit of planning and preparation.
If this is the year you’ll finally create your outdoor oasis, these tips can guide you through the planning process and help you create your perfect outdoor living space.
PLAN WITH PURPOSE. While outdoor areas are known for versatility, they work best when designed for a primary purpose. Early in the planning process, give some careful thought to how you most want to use the majority of your outdoor space.
- Will you be cooking or dining outdoors?
- How many guests do you normally entertain?
- Are you looking for a soothing space to relax and unwind?
- Will you use the space during the day, at night, or both?
- Does your space need to be kid or pet-friendly?
SURVEY YOUR SURROUNDINGS. The orientation of your outdoor space can define its functionality. If your yard faces east, the space may be bright and warm in the mornings but chilly in the afternoons (or vice versa, if it faces west.) What about wind patterns? Make note of how wind flows through the area at certain times of day, especially if you’ll be including a dining area or fire pit.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER? South Alabama weather can be unpredictable, especially during spring and summer. If you want to get the most use out of your outdoor space, consider which climates and weather conditions your design can account for. Shaded features like pergolas or covered patios can provide shelter from full sun or a passing summer shower, while fire pits or enclosed screens can keep you warm in colder seasons.
TAKE A HARD LOOK AT HARDSCAPES. Hardscapes are more permanent than plants and greenery, so it’s important to be sure you choose the best options for your outdoor space. The best course of action is to choose hardscapes that meet your goals and improve the functionality of your landscape. For example, stone or gravel pathways can help guide the flow of traffic and protect your plants while offering guests a scenic stroll through your landscape. Other examples of hardscapes include:
- Water Features
- Fire Pits or Fireplaces
- Retaining Walls
- Outdoor Kitchens
PICK THE RIGHT PLANTS. Of course, your outdoor space shouldn’t be a concrete jungle! Lush landscaping is what turns your outdoor living area into a true oasis, so be picky about the plants you choose. The right landscaping can also help meet your overall goals, such as using shrubs or climbing vines to add an extra element of privacy and definition to your outdoor area.
If you aren’t an avid gardener, keep things low maintenance with native plants that are easy to care for. Potted plants and container gardens are perfect for patios, but avoid choosing flowers that attract bees or other pollinators to ensure a sting-free outdoor space!
LAYER OUTDOOR LIGHTING. Outdoor lighting can extend your outdoor enjoyment from day to night, but overhead lighting is far from your only option. Layered lighting adds visual interest and brightens your overall space. Incorporate lights into landscape features or along fencing to expand the feel of your space. Line walkways and steps with decorative solar lights for safe nighttime strolls. Add string lights to pergolas or patio spaces for extra ambiance.
PARTNER WITH THE PROS. Building an outdoor living area is a project best left to professionals like those at Chad’s Landscape Management. Our talented crew works closely with each client to understand your goals and guarantee an outdoor space that meets your vision, fits your budget, and exceeds your expectations. If you’re ready to start enjoying your perfect outdoor living space, contact us today!