Creating The Perfect Outdoor Living Space

By Brittany Cotton

One of the pleasures of home ownership is creating an outdoor living space. This is the spot where the homeowner and their friends and family can enjoy the sun, fresh air and nature. The space is also the perfect place for entertaining, including parties for every occasion and meals enjoyed al fresco. The best part of an outdoor living space is that it doesn’t take a great deal of money to create. Read on for some outdoor living ideas.


Creating the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

Before even one paving stone is laid or one plant is planted, a homeowner needs to figure out just where they’re going to put the outdoor living space. Do they want a space with a spectacular view or a space whose privacy is protected by hedges or walls? Is the design dominated by hardscaping, or is it mostly a garden? Does the homeowner plan to use it both day and night? Does the space need to be protected from the wind, or does it need to be protected from the sun at some hours of the day?


The homeowner also needs to know what the outdoor space is for. Is it a place to throw rambunctious weekend parties, informal barbecues or sedate soirees? Will the space contain an entire outdoor kitchen, with a stove, refrigerator, storage space, working sink, fireplace or even a pizza oven? Will it be a place for sports competitions or a place where friends and family go to simply unwind, enjoy the sunrise or sunset or even a place to meditate after a hard day? Is the space child and pet-friendly, or is it meant largely for grown-ups?


Materials Needed for Perfect Outdoor Living Spaces

A perfect outdoor living space is a balance of hardscaping and landscaping. Hardscaping includes more or less permanent materials such as masonry and wood. Flagstones, bricks, or weather-resistant woods such as teak can be installed on walkways and areas where seating is supposed to go, while gravel and cobbles can be placed in other areas for contrast. Gravel can also be paired with plants, and indeed, gravel can serve as a type of mulch to keep the soil around the plants’ roots moist, weed-free and cool. Boulders and stone lanterns can also be artfully placed around the outdoor space as they often are in Japanese-style gardens.


Walls made of brick, stone or concrete delineate the space, cut down on noise and create privacy. Steps, also made of masonry or wood, take a visitor from one level of the space to the other. Water is also an important “material” that might be considered for an outdoor living space. Uses of water can range from a simple bubbler to a water wall to an actual stream that flows through the area to empty into a pond to a swimming pool.


Even if the homeowner doesn’t plan to throw frequent nighttime get-togethers, outdoor lighting is important. Lights along paths and steps let visitors travel safely. Lights installed among plantings, beneath or even within trees or on walls highlight the space’s best features. Fairy lights, lanterns, light balls and even candles in hurricane glasses create a cozy and inviting ambiance.


Climbing flowers, vines and even vining vegetables can be trained up arbors, trellises and pergolas. Pergolas can even be fitted with adjustable “sails” to provide shade during the hottest part of the day. The space can be as elaborate as the homeowner wants it or can be a simple set up of table and chairs set in the shade.


Why It’s Important to Get Outside With Your Family and Friends

Health professionals have always understood that getting outside in nature, even if it’s an outdoor living space, is good for a person’s mental and physical well-being. The effect is enhanced when the outside is enjoyed with loved ones. Being outdoors improves the ability to solve problems, unlocks creativity, works against depression and helps a person get better sleep. It also helps lower the stresses that can raise blood pressure and cause the body to be continually tense. Being outdoors even allows a person to get their RDA of Vitamin D, one of the only vitamins that’s made by the body.

– Brittany Cotton is a writer who focuses on health, wellness, and a variety of other topics. In her free time, you can find her reading, trying new recipes, or playing with her dog.

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