You might not realize it, but your backyard is full of potential. It can be a great place to enjoy a meal, play a board game, read a book, or just spend some time with family and friends—especially when you use it like an extra room of your home. Even if you only have a small area, you might be surprised how a few changes can completely transform your backyard into an enjoyable, useful outdoor living space.
But before you run out to buy a new grill and a bunch of patio furniture, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. These include:
- What do I want my outdoor space to be used for?
- Do I need to account for any climate/weather considerations?
- What’s my budget?
- Does my neighborhood/community association have any limits on what I can build?
- Do I need electricity for lighting, gas for a grill or fireplace, or water for a fountain—and are these utilities set up in my backyard?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to start thinking about what kinds of plants, hardscaping features, lighting, furniture, and other amenities you want. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Fireplace/firepit. If your goal is to make your backyard a cozy gathering place—and you want to extend the usefulness of your outdoor space into fall and winter months—an outdoor fireplace or firepit is a great choice. They come in both wood-burning and natural gas varieties, and you have lots of other options to consider if you’re thinking about getting on board with this hot trend.
Paver patio. One of the best places to start with reimagining an outdoor living space is with a paver patio. These patios are created with interlocking concrete pavers that are both an attractive and long-lasting option for many homeowners. A paver patio is a great way to add value to your home, and with literally thousands of customization options in terms of size, shape, and color, you’re sure to find a style that’s the right fit for you.
Pergola. You’ve probably seen a pergola before, but you might not have known what to call it. A pergola consists of four pillars that support wooden beams on top, and it’s a popular backyard feature that can add lots of beauty and personality to your space. Pergolas usually cover sitting areas, and they not only provide some shade, but can also provide a unique structure that vine plants such as English ivy can grow on.
Kitchen. If you’re the type of person who frequently entertains guests at your home, you’d be hard pressed to find a more appealing backyard feature than an outdoor kitchen. These kitchens typically combine a preparation area (which can include a grill, stove, sink, cabinets, refrigerator, and more) with a dining area. Oftentimes, an outdoor kitchen is built underneath a small roof or shelter, so it can be used even when it’s raining.
Water feature. If you’re really feeling ambitious, a water feature can add lots of appeal to your backyard. It can take the form of an in-ground fountain, a pond, or an above-ground structure that can serve as the centerpiece of your outdoor living space. Water features not only look great, they also provide the soothing sounds of continuously flowing water. Just keep in mind that water features typically require a fair amount of maintenance. And if you don’t have a lot of space for a big water feature, you can always consider getting a small, table-top fountain.
Lighting. Especially during hot summer months, the evening is one of the best times to enjoy your backyard. But you’re not going to get much enjoyment out of your outdoor living space if you can’t see it. Professional lighting not only illuminates your property, it also enhances your landscape and the details of your home—and as a bonus, it adds an element of security. Today’s outdoor lighting is cost efficient, and can be automated with a control panel or even with an app on your phone.
Plants. It might sound obvious, but don’t forget just how much the right plants in the right places can add to an outdoor living space. Whether you’re planting new beds or planting in pots designed to match your hardscaping features, it always helps to be surrounded by lush vegetation. And don’t forget that being around plants can have many health benefits!
As you can see, there are lots of ways to transform your backyard from a boring, uninspiring space into a functional, beautiful part of your home; we’ve only scratched the surface with the ideas above. If you’re looking for help designing and building your own outdoor living area, we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more.