Be realistic when looking at your open space and determine how your family can make the most of that space. Putting in a water element sounds pleasant, but if you have pets or kids, it’s probably not a good idea.
Is cooking outdoors your thing? Do you think you might enjoy cosy evenings beneath the stars, or big, lovely parties? What kind of entertaining do you envision hosting?
Create a list of the important things you want to have in your outdoor living space before embarking on the project.
Lots of seating is a must for any living space. A bar with matching bar stools or table and chairs create an area for friends and family to gather together for meals or drinks.
Sofas and armchairs invite people to lounge, similar with swings and hammocks. For added comfort, place weather-resistant cushions. Arrange groups of chairs, ottomans or benches to foster conversation in your parties. If space is limited, you can have additional seating by using wide-rimmed planters or durable storage chests and coffee tables.
Add the right amount of light to give your outdoor area some evening ambience. Switch off austere spotlight for parties, instead use pathway lights, fire pits, hanging lanterns or candles.
Highlight water features or decorative plants by using strategically placed lights, and have additional lighting, like patio-umbrella lights, to dining spaces.
A lot of the areas in your outdoor living space will need shade during daylight, whether it is delivered by an awning, an umbrella, or a covered-porch roof.
You can block some sun by using tall potted plants, or adding a vine-covered arched trellis. For bigger areas, think about using a lovely pergola or making one from scratch.
Consider some climate control if you want to utilise your outdoor living area all season long. During the summer months, use fans and water features to keep the area cooler. A small plunge pool is a fantastic area to laze around with frozen drinks.
During cooler months, use an outdoor fireplace or a fire pit for some warmth. Have a chest of blankets easily accessible during cosy outdoor evenings, or immerse in a steaming hot tub. Another fantastic option are big space heaters, which are also useful in alfresco dining areas.
Accessories are as important in outdoor living space as in any other rooms in your home. Make it more interesting with patterned throw pillows or colourful outdoor rugs. Build container gardens displaying flowers or ornamental grasses.
Display wall art or sculpture in the space, or place lovely glass bowls or jars to highlight your stone and seashell collections. The space can also benefit from adding decorative candleholders, vases and trays.
Creating an alfresco living area can be compared to expanding your home but without the stress of major construction. Remember to plan carefully, and you’ll see a lovely space take shape where you can relax and host parties and gatherings while having fun outdoors.