It is finally warm enough to go outside, stretch your legs, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Before you start thinking of the annuals you’d like to plant, take time to look at the condition and functionality of your existing deck or patio. Spring is also the time to enhance, build or replace your current outdoor space. Plan now so you can enjoy a family cookout on your patio, or a relaxing evening by the firepit.

 Whether you are focused on creating a space for outdoor dining, a retreat for relaxation, or adding to the value of your home for resale purposes, planning your outdoor living space is a process that takes careful consideration. What do you want to achieve from your outdoor space? How much maintenance are you willing to have each month? How much are you willing to spend? The planning process is straightforward.  Homeowners should follow these four steps to ensure the end result meets your environmental and entertainment expectations.

1. Use Your Imagination

The first step to enhancing your outdoor living space is to use your imagination.  Dream big!  Envision your backyard as a canvas and your imagination as the brush. You can start by going indoors and looking out the window to imagine what you’d like to see when you look at your outdoor space. How can you improve the view? Ask yourself some basic questions. What do you want out of the yard – a playground for the kids, a cozy retreat or an entertaining deck? What materials would you like to use – brick pavers, cedar, composite? Initially dream without constraints! There will be plenty of time to prioritize and set hands-on, workable goals but your long-term vision will help identify the necessary steps to achieve your outdoor space dreams.

2. Compartmentalize

If you get overwhelmed looking at your yard as one big space to be developed, it may be easier to view it as several different “rooms” much like your indoor space. Compartmentalizing the wants for your outdoor living space may diminish planning overload and make planning less intimidating. Landscape designers often draw circles to represent generic spaces like a patio, playground, garage and pool, then link the bubbles together with pathways, lawn areas and gardens. You can look at the relationships between spaces, then draw them to scale. Each individual space should flow into the next, moving people from the front yard to back, from a primary patio to a secondary patio or deck. Zoom into each "room" in your plan to fix any flaws and implement your small-scale dreams.

3. Stylize

Many homeowners make the mistake of rushing into their outdoor space design--especially if it’s their first-time taking on such a project! By rushing through the planning process you also run the risk of not identifying a style or theme. Your outdoor living area should complement the exterior of your home. If you decide to hire a landscape designer, they are up-to-date on trending colors, materials, themes, and styles and will blend them with your landscape style. In 2015, the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 75 percent of U.S. adults think it’s important to spend time in their yards.  If you plan on tackling the maintenance of your landscaping independently, consider the time you have to invest in its care as part of the style you select.

4. Prioritize

A landscaping plan provides a birds-eye view of your overall project, which can then be implemented logically in steps. Know your project timeline. A timeline is essential if many parts of your install coexist but are installed in phases. For instance, if you will eventually install an outdoor kitchen but will install a patio first, know where plumbing, electric, and gas lines should be installed before the patio is built. Prioritize the projects that will meet your budget parameters and will give you the most immediate satisfaction. If there are parts of your current landscape that are unsafe or terribly unsightly, consider starting with those as improvements. Know what your ultimate goals are so that you can save money in the long run.

Whether you are investing several hundred or tens of thousands of dollars, you and your landscape design professional can develop a plan to provide you with your ultimate outdoor living space. By developing a detailed plan your lifestyle will speak through your outdoor living space.

If you are looking for a trusted contractor to help make your outdoor space dreams a reality, contact us today for a free consultation. If you are a past customer of ours and would like to share your experience with others, please find us on Facebook and Houzz.