Outdoor Living Spaces

The growing consensus is to use your outdoors as an extension of your home. There are many options in every flyer you open and a wide array of pictures on the Internet.  There are even more options for an outdoor space on the layout as you don’t have to worry about walls as you do with indoor spaces. This is where the decision making can be overwhelming. Here are some ways to limit the stress.

Decide what is the most important feature for your family and friends to enjoy. Is it cooking and dining?  Is it comfort and talking?  Is it play space for the children?   Is it the  ambiance of a night time fire?  If you are big entertainers or you spend most of your time outdoors maybe all these are important to you but at the root of it all is money. So decide what makes the most sense of ask your contractor what should be done first with the idea of stages to your backyard makeover.

Stone patio with Gazebo & Kitchen
Stone patio with Gazebo & Kitchen

Choose the foundation that best suits your family and your personal preference. Understand the pros and cons of each product for your application. Is it stamped concrete, pavers, natural stone, sod, composite or wood?  Or is it a combination?  Your contractor should be able to help with understanding the right formulation for you.

Jumbo Black Flagstone Patio
Jumbo Black Flagstone Patio

Choose the layout with what your final plan for the outdoor living space will be. You want to avoid paying twice for the work so take your time making the layout.  Some items to consider are how easy it is to transfer fresh food from indoors into the cooking area outdoors.  Traffic for the house entry. The view from the backyard if you are considering anything with height you don’t want to block a great view. Location of water and electrical supply. There are more considerations that are best to review with your contractor at the quotation onset.

Keep in mind the weather elements and how much maintenance you want with your living space. Do you have the space to store the furniture indoors during the winter, will you need covers?  Do you need a place that is convenient to store your cushions during the rain?  What maintenance is required with the foundation items you chose?  Does your bar fridge need to go indoors for the winter?  Will you need to winterize the plumbing?  These are all times to consider in the planning stage.

Be willing to change your plan as the construction progresses. As we all know the best laid plans are before you begin tearing everything apart. Be flexible with your initial design as it may have to change and the contractor should be able to provide options.

Be patient but do ask questions if you have concerns. More often than not, once a project is underway the client scrutinizes every step of the project once the contractor goes home for the day. A lot of times this brings around many questions the next morning to which the contractor is polite and responds with yes it will be taken care of. Remember the contractor has not completed the job and many adjustments are made throughout the project but they are experienced to know when and how those need to get done.

Checking the Finish on a Cedar Deck
Checking the Finish on a Cedar Deck

Lastly, plan a gathering to celebrate and show off your outdoor makeover.   Stay tuned for more articles explaining the various spaces in more detail!


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