Once winter begins to relent and rising spring temperatures make regular appearances in the forecast, many Midwest families jump at any excuse to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re cooking dinner on the grill, playing lawn games with the kids, or just enjoying a relaxing breeze and a nice view after a long day, a thoughtfully planned and well-executed outdoor living space adds value to your home and gives you additional entertainment space.

With any outdoor living space addition and backyard makeover, from quaint private sanctuaries to multi-purpose spaces for the whole family to large gatherings, an outdoor living space takes preparation. Use the following steps to begin planning your outdoor living space. Following these steps will help make for an enjoyable, efficient experience with your landscape design team!

Step 1: Take Inventory of Existing Space & Landscape Design

Before dreaming up your backyard transformation and its final results, take into account everything that already currently exists in your space and how much room you have left in your yard. It’s important to have a clear idea of what will fit in your space and how your unique backyard layout will affect things. Knowing the exact shape and size of existing features and available space gives you and your outdoor living space contractors a clearer picture of what’s possible with your patio, deck, outdoor kitchen, or other desired additions. Remember to take the area’s climate into account when considering if your outdoor living space would benefit from a covered patio, pergola, or other roofed structure.

Step 2: Imagine How Space(s) Will Be Used

You’re not alone if you have Googled, “How do I arrange my outdoor living space?” It’s a common question, and the answer is to begin by imagining how you’d like to utilize the space, prioritizing your preferences, and making a list of ways you’d like to spend a weekend in your new backyard.

Does your family dream of a luxurious inground pool? Do you want to spend hours lounging comfortably without a care, or do you prefer keeping busy in an outdoor kitchen with hungry guests waiting?

How about outdoor lighting or a fire feature for gathering around after dark? Don’t forget the outdoor TV and sound system for family movie night or a watch party for your team’s next big game.

When planning your backyard layout, imagine the spaces and different areas—the pool, outdoor kitchen and dining, fire pit, lounge seating, greenspace, etc.—as if they were “rooms” of a house. Compartmentalizing your outdoor living space helps break a larger project into smaller sections and helps make decisions about how and where your family and guests will gather, relax, eat, and more.

Step 3: Begin Researching Features & Materials to Find Inspiration

As you discover elements, colors, and features you may want to incorporate into your outdoor living space, keep in mind the area will act as an extension of your home. You’ll want to include comforts and elements of indoor living with the great outdoors, creating a space as functional and stylish as your home’s interior.

There are various materials to choose from depending on your budget, personal aesthetic, and ongoing maintenance preferences. As your outdoor living space will need to withstand Mother Nature’s elements and occasional bouts of extreme weather, quality materials are important. A wood deck creates a “Wow!” factor with a natural look, but will require ongoing maintenance such as sealing or repainting. For lower maintenance, you may opt for composite decking or a paver patio.

In the same way you spend time selecting interior decor, pay attention to the colors, accents, and landscape decisions of your outdoor living space. There are endless possibilities and plenty of places from which to find inspiration for your space.

Step 4: Last But Certainly Not Least, Bring Us Your Ideas!

Whether you’re just beginning to think about adding an outdoor living space, or you’ve got more ideas than you can keep track of, Aspen Outdoor Designs looks forward to planning, designing, and creating an outdoor living space that suits your needs, wants, and lifestyle.

Contact our team today and take one step closer to your dream outdoor living space.