Outdoor spaces are something that almost every culture in the world enjoys. They allow us to relax in the great outdoors, while giving us most of the comfort and security we enjoy inside our homes as well. An outdoor space can be a small garden, a porch, or a large, expansive area with an outdoor kitchen and landscape.
No matter where you live, you can create an outdoor living space that is a beautiful and relaxing retreat.
Tips for Outdoor Living Spaces
Always keep in mind the amount of space you have and what your goals are for the area. If you want somewhere to quietly sip tea and listen to the birds, then your needs will be very different from someone who wishes to create an active space where they can play with their dog or hold backyard sporting events with family and friends. Focus on your goal and adjust it to fit your available space.
Remember that some elements of your outdoor living space will take a lot longer to evolve than others. A new patio or table and chair set can happen in a weekend, but a large tree and shading bushes can take years to develop.
Finally, always remember that your outdoor living space is an ever-evolving thing. It will not be the same this year as it was last year and it will change yet again next year too. So plan your space according to seasonal as well as annual changes. The tree you planted last year will be a little taller next year and the perennials you put in as a border might not like the additional shade the tree is throwing. This ever-changing aspect is part of the fun and challenge of creating outdoor space.
Pavers in Outdoor Spaces
A simple, popular, and relatively low-cost way to create an outdoor living space is to put in a floor or walkway using pavers. They are simple to install and can be done by most DIY gardeners and landscapers. Pavers last a long time, and are relatively inexpensive compared to most other flooring options. You can use pavers to create a large patio area, a front walkway, or a simple path.
Arbors for Outdoor Spaces
Do you have a boring shed that you want to spruce up, but don’t want to add a lot of costly modifications? An arbor is a simple, ready-made way to do this. Simply buy one ready-built (or make one yourself) and place it in front of the shed’s entrance, or along the path to your shed.
An arbor can be attached directly to the shed for added stability and then covered in growing vines. It can also be left bare and used to create a small porch or semi-covered entrance or exit for the shed. Use your imagination and the design elements an arbor adds and you can make any old garden shed look fresh!
Gazebos for Outdoor Living Spaces
For mid-garden sitting and landscape division, nothing beats a gazebo. You can use them to house potted plants and bird houses or as a place for you to sit and enjoy your garden from its center. It provides a wonderful focal point for your landscaping, and with screens it can be a great escape from summertime bugs.
Creating Shade for Outdoor Rooms
Besides formal structures like gazebos, you can also create shade with overhanging trees and large bushes. Branches cut from trees can be woven together to make a simple, annual gazebo or arbor too. Vines, such as hops, can be grown up strings to provide a natural curtain of shade. Umbrella-shaped trellises covered in flowers are another fun idea.
Fireplaces and Outdoor Kitchens
For the large or functional outdoor garden, a fireplace or outdoor kitchen (or both) are great. These can be simple brick structures made to create a firepit or oven, or more formal structures with a stainless steel gas grill and kitchen area. Your budget, space, and needs will determine where your outdoor space fits on the spectrum.
Want to learn more about creating outdoor living spaces?
Building Overhead Structures: Pergolas and Arbors from University of Minnesota
Planning Space for Outdoor Living [PDF] from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension
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