Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Are you having a hard time designing your outdoor living space? There are so many options! Things you could do... pictures on pinterest...firepits, swimming pools, outdoor seating, concrete patios, pavers, rock paths, ahh! Where to begin!?
Sometimes we WAY overthink things. Probably thanks to all the digital images out there. We see so many images in a day, it is no wonder we have a hard time with decisions. I know I can sure feel it! When we were remodeling our home, I didn't even begin to think of outdoor living space. But once we were settled in, I began to do a little dreaming. It didn't take long before I began to feel a little overwhelmed with all of the options out there. What should we do..? What can we afford..? Should we do it in phases..? What is our end result goal..? Eventually it all came together in my mind and I will share the results with you at the end of this post.
Meanwhile I have came up with a list of steps for you to take so you can get a game plan on paper. Hopefully the following will help you prioritize.
1) Sketch out your yard; Get out the graph paper and pencil and draw out a rough sketch of your home and yard. Include any hardscape. Buildings, sheds, driveways, sidewalks, large trees, etc. Or if you have a copy of your house plan or landscape design, make a copy! This will make it much easier.
2) Take a walk outside and brainstorm; Walk around and take notes. Where is your afternoon/ evening shade? Where do your kids play? Where is your BBQ area or preferred BBQ area? Where would the most convenient place to eat outdoors be? Think about how your family uses all of your outdoor areas.
3) Gather up 10 of your favorite outdoor living photos and get them in one place; Study each one. What is it that each photo has in common? Make a little list of the things that seem to really catch your eye! I know for me, when I was at this stage, I realized it was a pergola that kept catching my eye. And of course the landscaping around the area.
4) Budget; Figure out your budget. How much do you have to spend on your outdoor space? This will determine what you can do now and what needs to wait until a later date. It doesn't have to get done in a day! Or a year. Or even 5 years. What does it hurt to dream?
5) Draw it out; Make a few copies of your drawing and then start sketching! Come up with 2 or 3 different ideas. Make sure you include some of the favorite things from your list above.
6) Get some other opinions; Ask some of your friends (the ones that have similar taste to your own) for their thoughts. Show them your drawings and get their ideas. It really helps to have someone else's input. Everyone thinks about things in a different way and you may get some valuable tips. Jot it all down. And then of course show everything to your spouse and family. They are the ones that will be using the space with you the most. Jot down their input as well.
7) Draw one final plan; Take everything you have and consider it all. Make a large cup of coffee and have a little thinking party. Consider each persons ideas and either incorporate it in or cross it off if you do not like it or you do not think it will pertain to you. Remember, this should be your final plan. And so what if it won't be a reality for 5 or 10 years. It is good to get a final plan so that you can do things in phases and you don't end up doing something, only to tear it out 5 years later because you have a better idea. This way will save you a lot of money. (Speaking from experience here). BUT I will add in that life happens and it is not possible to know how your life will be in the future. There may be things that you look back on and think, well that was a waste. But that is ok too! We can't always make the perfect choice the first time. Just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.
So here are a few photos of our outdoor living space. It was done over the course of 5 years. And I might add that it is still not done. But will we ever be done? There seems to always be one more thing on the to do list.
This was the starting point. An empty space that I knew I eventually wanted to be our outdoor living space.
Step one was to pour concrete. This was as far as we went for the first year.
Step two was the pergola. This was as far as we went for another year.
Step three was the pool. The poor guys working on the pool. Do you think they felt a little pressure to get it done? They had about 4 to 6 sets of eyeballs on them during the entire process. This was last summer and as far as we got until early this spring.
Step four was the fence, pizza oven, and outdoor kitchen. This part is not complete as you can see if you look closely. This picture was taken today. We got some much needed rain this morning and everything is fresh outside! What a beautiful way to start out a Monday!
So there you have it. The steps to create your outdoor living space. Maybe you are thinking that it still sounds a little overwhelming to do.. We can help! We would love to help you figure it all out! Maybe you would like some help with designing your sketch. Or some help with the whole process! Give us a call! 509-528-5405.