The creation of an outdoor space requires some thought before launching off and creating one that will meet your needs. Start by establishing an overall objective and then develop a plan followed by financial estimates. Do not forget to investigate the need for any local permits that you may need to erect any structures that you plan to build in your back yard. It is your yard and property but it is also subject to local bylaws and building codes.
Outdoor spaces can be created to entertain family and friends. They can also be developed to offer a cozy backyard space for just chilling on a warm summer night or staying warm during those crisp autumn evenings. What kind of space do you intend? How many people will the space need to accommodate? What main features will be part of the area? These are some of the main questions that need to be answered in order to develop a plan for the creation of the outdoor part of your residence.
The most basic outdoor space will have a patio area. Add some chairs and a nice table and you have the nucleus. Will the patio become or be connected to a courtyard, deck, or porch? What about walls and a covered space? Will the space be protected from the elements? Will there be a wall or walls to keep out the prevailing winds? Even with a protected space there will generally be on side that is open so that you can enjoy the out of doors and any view that may be offered. Will there be an open covering such as a pergola or a fully covered roofed in space? Will the roof be opaque or see through? All of these questions should be answered by the overall effect that you are trying to create. Will the additional area be an extension of the home built to enjoy the outdoor area or will it be an additional space such as a covered patio built in the back yard? As you get more elaborate think of the spaces as rooms.
What will be the main feature and focal point of this outdoor living area? How about a gazebo, garden, water feature, pool, a stone fireplace or a hot tub? Perhaps a centrally located fire pit? Fireplaces and fire pits often draw people towards them. Will they be gas or wood fueled? Perhaps all of these features are planned for the back yard. How will they be connected? Will the patio extend out to connect each area? Will there be walkways or patio stones? The choices are almost limitless.
Next up the scale is what kind of eating area. Will there be a bar-b-q or something more elaborate like an outdoor kitchen? Will there also be a bar area? How often is the area intended to be used? Will it be four seasons or primarily built for the summer? Is the local area affected by bugs and how will they be dealt with to enhance enjoyment of the space? How will weather affect your plan and design? Will the area be designed to deal with rain, wind, and perhaps snow? What about the sun and its effects on things like furniture? Where will the sun be when you are outside and enjoying your space? Will sightlines be impacted?
What about lighting, water features for white noise, and music to enhance the effect and overall impact of your creation? These are often among the finishing touches that can push a space from good to great. Will this area be designed as one large connected area or will there be strategic zones? One area for relaxing, one for eating, one for gathering, and another for enjoying the view. Maintenance is also another consideration that needs to be addressed in the design stage. What type of maintenance will need to be done on the structures, the appliances, and the features? Ensure that there is the required access.
One more thing to consider is access and traffic flow. From where will you access the space both within and outside of your home? If you have a pool or hot tub, will there be a building to change and shower outside or will you have to do that inside. Ensure that you consider access to and from an area that will effectively deal with the water being tracked in and out. Walking across a tiled area with wet feet inside your home is no big deal but doing so on hardwood or carpet may create issues and/or problems that you do not want to introduce.
It does not matter whether you plan to build a simple deck or a much more elaborate design to enjoy your back yard and view. Build it to meet your needs and expectations and enjoy the additional quality of life that it will bring. The fresh air will help invigorate, and the features will help establish the overall mood and level of relaxation and enjoyment. Plan ahead, design it well, and you will be rewarded with another great living space on your property.