Factors to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Living Space

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When designing an outdoor living space, you likely have a lot of great ideas that you’re eager to see come to life. But whether those ideas are feasible takes consideration. Factors such as budget, climate, maintenance, layout, and intended use can significantly impact what you’re able to do. Our experts at Pacific Outdoor Living, an outdoor living space contractor in Monroe, WA, explain the important factors to consider before you begin your project. 

Your Budget

The type of outdoor space you create will rely significantly on what your budget allows, so be sure to run the numbers before you move to the design and planning stage. 

At the very least, your budget should include:

  • Materials
  • Furniture
  • Decor

Unless you plan to do everything independently, your budget should also include design and labor costs. 

If your outdoor living space vision includes something like an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, or wooden deck, be sure to include all the associated expenses, including installation. When budgeting, it’s also crucial to note recurring costs for maintenance. Your general upkeep budget should cover cleaning, repairing wear and tear, landscaping, and gardening. 

Maintenance and Upkeep

We already discussed factoring the maintenance costs for your outdoor living space into your budget. Beyond money, another consideration is how much time and effort you’re willing or able to spend on this upkeep.

For instance, how long will the paint or finish you choose last? Will you have to repaint or refinish your new deck often? What will it take to keep your outdoor kitchen and bar clean and sanitary? Are your garden and landscaping low-maintenance or high-maintenance? Are there elements of upkeep that you should leave to skilled professionals?

Try to look at the big picture and be realistic about what and how much you can do. Consider scaling back the design or hiring help if you realize it’s more than you can handle. 

How You’ll Use the Space 

How you intend to use your outdoor living space will impact its design. For instance, if you plan to use it for entertaining guests, you may want to plan for a grill or outdoor stove, plenty of room for seating, some overhead protection, a bar, and maybe even a refrigerator or other food storage.  

If you want a place where you can relax while your kids play, that will look quite different. You likely want to ensure there’s plenty of open space for them to run around and play games. You may want to ensure you have a view of everything happening in the space from a seating area with a panoramic view.

You can also create a multi-purpose space that you can shift and adapt for different uses. This usually takes more planning and design strategy than a single-use space. 

Your Location’s Climate 

Keeping your area’s weather patterns in mind is key to choosing suitable materials, furniture, and protection elements for your outdoor living space. An outdoor living space with a desert climate will look much different than one with a humid continental climate. 

For example, a space that gets a lot of sun might include umbrellas and awnings for shade, UV-resistant finishings, and drought-friendly landscaping. A space here in chilly Snohomish County, Washington, might include fire pits or heating fixtures, enclosed spaces, and options for covering and protection from the rain and snow.

For the most part, any furniture or feature you include will be at the mercy of the elements. However, there are steps you can take to help shield parts of your outdoor living space from these elements. 

The Layout of Your Space

If you want to make sure that everything fits and flows how it’s supposed to, it’s important to have accurate measurements of the space you’re working with. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about your outdoor living space only to realize that key elements, such as a patio or bar, don’t fit well—or at all. 

Take note of any hills or dips in your outdoor space and identify natural elements such as dead trees or invasive weeds. This knowledge will help you understand where you might need to do some landscaping. 

Just as blueprints and floor plans are essential for interior design, they’re also needed for exterior design. Fully understanding your outdoor space’s size, shape, and layout will help you use it to its full potential.

Aesthetic Preferences

When it comes to design and appearance, some people want their outdoor space to be an extension of their home. If that’s what you prefer, you’ll need to bring some of the same materials, colors, textures, patterns, and other style elements from your home’s interior into your outdoor design plan. For instance, the decor of your outdoor dining area might match the style of your indoor dining room. 

On the other hand, some people prefer a completely different look for their outdoor area. Others divide them into different zones with different functions and aesthetics. There’s no need to limit yourself when designing an outdoor living space. 

If you’re unsure where to start, you can get ideas for outdoor living space design from magazines and websites. You can also consult with outdoor living area designers, garden design professionals, and landscaping experts.

Hire an Experienced Outdoor Living Space Contractor

Even if you follow the best advice and guidance, designing an outdoor living space from scratch—or even making improvements—can still feel daunting. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to do it on your own. At Pacific Outdoor Living, we specialize in custom decks, patios, outdoor kitchens, and more. We can help bring your vision to life, taking into account your design goals, budget, and specifications.

With proper planning and the help of seasoned professionals, you can make your outdoor living dreams come true. Discover different ways you can improve your outdoor space with Pacific Outdoor Living. Call us today for a consultation at (360) 863-2058.

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