Creating an Awesome Outdoor Living Space

The extension of our living spaces into the outdoors has gained in popularity. It has moved from having a simple porch or patio to creating a welcoming retreat where we can relax, entertain, cook and play. Creating an awesome outdoor living space can be done on any budget and will prove beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing as well as the value of your home.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) “What Buyers Really Want” survey, over 80% of house hunters said outdoor spaces are ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ components of their future home. Living in the Silicon Valley, homeowners in Menlo Park, Los Altos and beyond can enjoy living outdoors for much of the year.

Here are tips for designing appealing, cozy and inclusive spaces.

Make It Comfortable

You will be more inclined to spend time lounging outdoors if you have a comfortable place to do so. Much of today’s outdoor furniture is cushy and cozy and comes in different styles, colors and price points. You can also boost the comfy factor with outdoor pillows, throws and rugs.

Make It Private

Even though you are in the expansive outdoors, some semblance of privacy is conducive to maximizing your enjoyment. Shrubs, potted plants, fencing and screens are all great ways to impart privacy. Get creative, mix and match to design a piece of peaceful privacy.

Light It Up

Outdoor lighting enables you to enjoy your outside living spaces even after dark. It also enhances safety and can positivity impact your home’s value (homebuyer’s state outdoor lighting is one of their most desired amenities). Highlight trees and architectural features with up-lights, illuminate railings, stairs and walkways, string fairy lights for an extra touch of enchantment and use sconces or pendants to provide needed task lighting for cooking, reading and entertaining.

Eliminate the Elements

Mother Nature, as beautiful as she is, can also wreak havoc on an otherwise perfect outdoor space with wind, rain, scorching sun and pesky bugs. Create shaded and covered spaces with umbrellas, gazebos, awnings and other structures. Find ways to keep away bugs by having screened in porches or pull-back netting on outdoor structures. If you live in a windy area, glass panels are a perfect way to minimize breezes without obstructing views.

Create Focused Spaces

Just as the inside of your home has rooms to serve various purposes, so should your outdoor living area. Have a dining area, a lounging or entertaining section with comfy chairs and cushions and a ‘kitchen’ area with your pizza oven and BBQ. The options are endless and may evolve once you discover the unique and personal ways your family uses your outdoor space.

Appeal to Everyone

Incorporate attractions that will draw all family members outdoors. Pizza ovens and firepits are both big hits as are outdoor speakers that connect to an iPod or other music device. A play area for children and adults (bocce ball, ping pong, or a swing set) as well as ensuring you have wireless connectivity so everyone can enjoy the great outdoors while staying connected. If you want to splurge, get an all-weather television set for the sports fans in your family.

Give it a Personal Touch

Just as you do indoors, find ways to put your own style and personality in your outdoor space. Use artwork, colors and décor that appeals to you.

Erase the Lines Between Inside and Out

Allow your outdoor spaces to become part of your home as a whole. Replace a solid, standard door with a glass sliding door or a set of French doors or use weather proof flooring such as stained concrete or stone tiles in the room leading to as well as throughout your outdoor area.

Even once you’ve designed your perfect outside paradise, keep it fresh and exciting by adding new things, changing the color scheme and ornamentation or creating new spaces based on your family’s evolving needs. You’ll boost your personal enjoyment and wellbeing all while making your home more marketable.