Four Tips to Create a Functional Outdoor Space

With April showers now having made way for those breathtaking May flowers, it’s hard to resist the urge to splurge on your outdoor space. Outdoor living has evolved into an extension of our indoor living experience. As with any interior, an outdoor living space is an investment and key factors should be considered prior to committing to your design plan and outdoor furnishings. Here are four outdoor space tips to keep in mind as you ponder and eventually delve into the design process for your backyard:

1. Plan Ahead

The key to any well designed space is planning. Consider a few layout options for your outdoor space and list the pros and cons for each design. It is important to keep furniture placement and scale in mind. Consider access to your outdoor space – do you have the room required to move the items to their desired location?

Beautiful outdoor features such as firepits require much planning and consideration. It is essential to check with your city or town to see if there are any by-laws concerning firepits before you commit to this feature for your outdoor living space. Since the units are typically large and can be heavy, you ideally want to move them only once. There’s no shortage of reasons to plan ahead! ARD Outdoor has a team of experts to help with your space planning.

2. Know How You Will Use Your Space

A big part of the planning and the design process is knowing how you will use your space the majority of the time. Will you be using your outdoor living area for lounging or entertaining? The furnishings you shop for should suit the intended use of your space. Don’t forget to factor in your sun exposure; do you need shade solutions or sun loving loungers? Talking this through with a consultant will help you remain focused and avoid the temptations of other furniture that may not suit your needs.

Always keep in mind that comfort is king – no matter what the function. The “butt test” is critical – have a seat on the lounger, sectional or dining chair – and ask yourself if you can sip your Pinot spritzers pleased and with ease.

3. Know Your Style

Think of your outdoor living space as an extension of your indoors space and home décor style. There should be a flow between the spaces. Incorporate some basic design principles like uniformity and repetition to achieve a cohesive indoor and outdoor living experience for your home. With these principles in mind, mixing and matching styles can create interest in your space. Designers often cringe at the idea of matching sets, however matching should not necessarily be ruled out – there are plenty of ways to dress up and personalize your outdoor space by simply incorporating a mix of toss cushions while keeping your large items neutral. So if you’re you are not comfortable mixing and matching with large furniture items, ask for expert help to suggest other items that can also create impact – the key tip here is always keep your personal style in mind. A successfully deigned outdoor living area will be calling your name and seducing you to enjoy the outdoors.

4. Personalize Your Space

Selecting outdoor accents that reflect your lifestyle and personality will help you extend the welcoming warmth of your home to your outdoor living area. Umbrellas perform a very critical function for shade and extended use and enjoyment of your outdoor space but they are also a fabulous way to introduce colourful Sunbrella fabrics and add a pop of colour.

Outdoor lighting can not only define your outdoor areas by creating separation between spaces, they can also enhance the design aesthetic of your space. One of my absolute favourites is the LED egg light, available in four different sizes including a large scale version at 20” by 27”. These lights are shockproof, waterproof, cordless and rechargeable. Budget allowing, you can purchase a series of these for your next pool party and float them in your pool for an unforgettable WOW factor.

Create the outdoor space you love with some tips from our experts here at ARD Outdoor.