Planning Your Outdoor Living Space – Our Top Five Tips
Believe it or not, NOW is the time you should be planning your new outdoor living space, whether it’s a patio, terrace, fire pit, outdoor kitchen or a combination of these spaces. I know it’s February, but it takes time to plan and execute, especially if you want a unique look that says “You”. Remember, Memorial Day weekend is only 16 weeks away!
It takes time for you and your designer to discuss ideas, to plan and select your furniture, fabric, accessories, and then place the order for your outdoor living space. After that the manufacturer has to process your order, get the order in the manufacturing que, procure fabric from another manufacturer if it’s a COM, produce the furniture, and finally ship the order. Every week you delay starting your planning, your options and choices diminish.
Don’t panic, Sally and I are going to share our Top Five Planning Tips for Outdoor Living Spaces to help you on your way. Shall we get started?
- FURNITURE PLAN: Start by thinking about how you want to use your outdoor living space. Will it be for entertaining? Large or small group? Or for quiet contemplation? Is there a fire pit? Will cooking be a part of the area? Make a list of all the activities you can think of happening in your desired space. These questions and answers will begin to tell you how much space you need and how to plan your furniture layout.
2. SUN AND SHADE: Is sun or shade important? This could affect the orientation and/or location of your outdoor living area. In many instances, given a home’s orientation to the sun, space limitation of your land and house lot and/or what you want your outdoor living space next to (kitchen, living room, etc.) an alternative solution may be to integrate a pergola into the space’s design. For an older or historic home, it’s a perfectly appropriate solution. If you have a new home, a pergola adds charm and value to your property. A pergola can also give a sense of enclosure to an otherwise wide open space, making it feel more like a conversation area, or a dining room.
3. FURNITURE SELECTION: Okay, you’ve thought about sun and shade. You have a furniture plan. What’s next? Selecting the actual furniture for your outdoor living space. There are many considerations.
Teak is classic, weathering to a soft silvery gray, if you leave it unfinished, which we like best. You need to understand that teak comes in several grades, with the best being marine grade teak. It’s worth the investment in the highest quality teak you can find. A low price on teak can mean that it is an inferior grade, which will deteriorate much faster. A big plus is teak is rot resistant. To keep it looking its best give it a little TLC every year. See our post from last year: Summer Classics Outdoor Furniture 2017 New Introductions
Metal furniture, such as Summer Classics Provance Collection is more durable and is available in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, allowing you to do your outdoor living space in a look that expresses your own style.
Woven wicker is another terrific option. If you live in an older or historic home, you might consider furniture done in a classic old style, such as we used in this three season porch by Lloyd Flanders
Conversely, changing it up with woven wicker with modern lines, can bring a sense of freshness to a patio or terrace.
4. FABRICS: Fabrics for your outdoor living space need to be fade and stain resistant, such as Sunbrella brand. The sun protection comes from the fabric being solution dyed acrylic, or polypropelene. This means the dye is an integral part of the yarn. Today there are so many possibilities and weaves, you don’t have to limit yourself to a solid color fabric.
5. FIRE PIT: Increasingly, our clients are including a fire pit in the design requirements they give us for their outdoor living spaces. A fire pit, and outdoor lighting, will extend the season of your home (especially here in New England) plus add a great deal of ambiance and charm. People LOVE gathering around a fire pit and chatting late into the evening.
I hope by now you’re psyched, and ready to start planning. Let’s re-cap our Five Top Tips for Outdoor Living Space, to help get you started.
- FURNITURE PLAN: List and describe the activities, needs and intended uses of your outdoor living space. These requirements are the organizational framework that will help you plan.
- SUN AND SHADE: Understand the impact of sunlight, as well as shade, and take that into account as you plan .
- FURNITURE SELECTION: Understand the pros and cons of each product. Your final decision will be a combination of style, aesthetics, function and budget.
- FABRIC: Make sure your fabric is a solution dyed, fade resistant product. And don’t forget water resistant, too!
- FIRE PIT: You can power it by gas for convenience, or use wood for character and charm. This will extend your outdoor living season. No matter what you choose, we know you’re going to love it.
So get out your pencil and paper, gaze out upon your yard, or walk the property, and dream big. And don’t let another day go by! We want you to have lots of options open to you, so start early. If you use the above planning points, you can put together your new outdoor living space with the confidence it’s going to be a winner.
Enjoy the coming summer, my friends. It’s wonderful to be outside!
If Sally and I can help you with any aspect of the design of your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the contact form on our website, here:
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