Backyard Love Affair – Top Five Tips For Designing An Outdoor Space

More Americans are showing their love for the great outdoors with their homes according to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey.  AIA surveyed architects nationwide to discover home preferences. 

“In the last few years, outdoor living spaces have become the new ‘great room’ in terms of must-have items for home owners,” says Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. Nearly two-thirds of the architects surveyed said that outdoor living space, covered outdoor space, and outdoor rooms are increasing in popularity. Architects also reported higher demand for exterior and security lighting.

Creating a brilliant outdoor living space can be done on a budget. By using what you already have, limiting purchases to the basics, and creating a focal point, you can easily and inexpensively create a welcoming outdoor living space in your backyard.

Ask yourself how you and your family currently use the space, and how you would like to use the space. The answers will help you determine what you need to take away or add to your current outdoor space.

Focal Point
Similar to creating an inviting indoor living space, the backyard living space needs a focal point. The focal point may already exist, in the home’s architecture, in the landscaping, or in a backyard structure including a gazebo. Or, add your own focal point.

Fire Pit Table
One of the most popular and easy additions to the backyard outdoor living space is a fire pit table. The fire pit table can be low to the ground, with a wide perimeter where guests and family members can place cups or glasses. The fire pit adds instant warmth to any backyard.

Water Element
If you already have fire, add water. A water element creates a soothing and pleasant addition to the backyard outdoor living space. It could be a small waterfall as part of the landscaping, or an artificial pond for real fish. Small stand-alone water fountains or bird baths offer inexpensive ways to add a water element to the space.

Mix and Max Outdoor Seating
Invest in an outdoor furniture set with a love seat, chairs and table. Mix and match pieces by shopping at local consignment, used furniture, close out stores and yard sales. The styles and materials do not have to match. You can spray paint all of the pieces the same color to make them appear as a cohesive set. Add outdoor cushions to the pieces to make them more comfortable.

One of the best investments you can make in your outdoor space is a table with an umbrella. With four to six chairs, the table becomes an instant gathering place for your family and friends. Use the table to eat meals, play board games, or just relax, comfortably, while sitting outdoors.

Pick a table and chair set that is easy to clean, is durable and can be folded or easily stored if you live in a seasonal climate.

Lighting is not something home owners would overlook in their indoor spaces, and it should also be considered for outdoor spaces. Invest in solar lawn lights to mark or make pathways to outdoor living spaces which are not adjacent to the house.

Festive string lights add a touch of whimsy to outdoor spaces and can be found in many styles; boxy Asian-inspired lanterns are always fun. Tiki torches, citronella torches, and floating candles in your water element also add soft lighting to backyard outdoor spaces at night.

With some inspiration and a little thought, you can turn your ho-hum yard into a extravagant outdoor entertaining space. 

Photo: Home Channel TV