With the first day of spring quickly approaching on Sunday, March 20, 2022, many are looking forward to longer, sunny days enjoyed at home on outdoor patios. The right design can extend your living space outside and support entertaining your own family or guests from near and far. In the spirit of spring sharing, we’re covering tips for beautifying your backyard patio and even adding an outdoor kitchen so you can cook meals while relishing the best of alfresco living.
How to Get Started: Whether you’re starting from a blank slate (perhaps new construction or an undeveloped backyard space) or are revitalizing an area outdoors, there are some key considerations to start with.
- How much space do you have to work with? Areas large and small can work well, but you need to plan accordingly. Planning upfront allows you to judiciously select the right furniture, equipment and even open area that unveils your ideal setting.
- What are your goals for the outdoor patio? Do you envision yourself relaxing alone or with a small group there? Or are you inclined to host larger gatherings for entertainment?
- While using the space, what would you like your view to be? Perhaps there’s room for an herb garden or you’d like to overlook a pool. Depending on the size of your space, you may need to focus on the sitting area itself and use a table with accessories as the focal point.
- Will your space accommodate adults only or do you need to also consider children?
- Are there any irrigation/drainage issues in this area that need to be addressed?
- Are there certain materials or seating that you prefer for your outdoor space? If you’re unsure, start a Pinterest board where you can collect photos of items that you like. In the notes section of your board, write what you like about the specific feature, so you have quick reference for the future.
- Similarly, which equipment and furniture do you already have that can be used in the new space? Is it in good working condition or is it time to replace the grill and purchase that pizza oven you’ve been coveting? Either way, be sure to purchase appliances that are rated for outdoor use. Realize that many appliances durable enough for the outdoor elements cost more. However, protecting even the highest-quality kitchen equipment with coverage from the sun, wind and rain will lengthen your appliances’ lifecycle.
- Is the area already well-lit? If not, are there electrical outlets nearby that you could take advantage of? YLighting has a vast array of outdoor lighting options that not only safely illuminates walkways and steps, but also adds to the look of a designer landscape.
- Budget, of course, is also a factor on any design project.
Prized Features in Outdoor Patios and Kitchens: Even in warmer climates, we love a tastefully executed firepit or fireplace outdoors. (A fireplace is typically experienced from one or two sides, while a firepit often has access to it from all sides.) Not only do both features add warmth to the environment, but they also introduce another lighting element, contributing to the overall beauty of the space.
Above is a more traditional set up of an outdoor fireplace, while below on the right we feature a gas-powered fireplace built into the patio structure. Below on the left, the fire bowl upgrades the common firepit and yet continues the casual elegance of the setting.
If your plans include an outdoor kitchen, think through how you’ll prepare and cook your meals outside. Besides a grill, a nicely sized counter to place platters and serving utensils on is ideal. Cabinets and drawers below the counter put needed tools within arms’ reach so that you spend less time going back and forth into the house. A sink to rinse those utensils, plates, vegetables and even your hands is another bonus. A refrigerator keeps food and beverages chilled and is a nice addition when food for entertaining might not fit in the fridge typically used for weekday meals.
As we mentioned in “A Few of Our Favorite Outdoor Elements” and implemented in the project shown above, “Ceiling fans in covered areas save space and are ideal for air circulation year-round.” They often help deter mosquitoes and other bugs as well.
Just as we’d incorporate pops of color indoors, we recommend coordinating the color of your outdoor furniture, cushions and accents too. We love this eye-catching vignette with the vivid red chairs and playful sign artfully placed behind the outdoor kitchen. Inexpensive items like the red and white towel hung on the grill and the red plates finish the look.
When you’re ready to transform your outdoor space into your own oasis, contact us. We’ll have a ball extending your living space outside and creating a place you’ll love.