Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.

Designing an Outdoor Space

Outdoor spaces are gaining in popularity this year and for obvious reasons. Having an outdoor space is more than just a place to grill a meal and sit with a few friends afterward. Expanding your square footage beyond the four walls of your home can also increase your property value and give you a way to create new spaces for the whole family to enjoy. Over the last few years designers have begun to expand the traditional purpose of the outdoor space to be much more. An outdoor space can be used as a:

  • Living room
  • Home office
  • Kitchen
  • Home gym
  • Entertainment space

It is no longer limited to just a deck or fire pit but has the potential to provide your family with a space that can benefit you on a broad range of levels. An outdoor space can be so many things now, let’s talk about the new possibilities that await you and how to design it with the maximum value.

Outdoor kitchens

This will remain among the top choices with outdoor spaces especially during the warmer months when cooking inside can be uncomfortable. By having an outdoor kitchen the heat stays outside and lets your home remain cooler which saves you money. Another benefit is enjoying the outdoors while you eat. Designing an outdoor kitchen has many similarities as a traditional kitchen with many of the layouts working for both. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind such as:

  • Location
  • Weather
  • Materials

It is important to think through your design and select a location that is best suited for it. Keep it ventilated and don’t forget the proximity to the house. Some people want it to feel like a completely separate space while others enjoy making it an extension of their indoor kitchen with similar color and style choices. Weather is a critical factor when planning your new addition. Consider the amount of rain and sun you get so you can adjust the design accordingly. Incorporating items like shaded or sheltered areas where you can still remain outside but protected. This also plays a critical role when choosing building materials since they will also need to withstand the elements and be durable. Humidity, exposure to the sun’s rays, and rain need to be factored in before deciding on countertops and cabinets. An experienced designer can assist you in what will work best for you and your needs.

Work from home space

While most home offices are indoors, many owners are realizing the potential and benefits of having their work stations outside. We know that spending time outside can help reduce stress and increase productivity which is the perfect combination for many who are trying to stay motivated to meet those deadlines. As you prepare to make the transition to the fresh air and sunshine, here are a few helpful design tips:

  • Reduce glare
  • Weatherproof materials
  • Sufficient WiFi
  • Temperature adjustments

Being outside improves your mood unless you have to fight the frustrations of the elements such as glare. Be prepared by sitting under a covering or having something to block the glare of computer screens. Selection materials such as chair cushions that can withstand the weather. WiFi is also a key factor to setting up an outdoor workstation since you need enough signal to upload files and have meetings. Temperature matters too, no one likes to work when it’s too hot or cold, whether we are inside or out. Keep a little space heater for those nippy days and a fan for the days where there is no handy breeze. Working from home is a great option but no one said it has to be limited to the indoors. Check out these home office design tips from Good Housekeeping. Choosing to create an outdoor workspace can help increase your mood, give you some much needed exposure to vitamin D, and help you stay focused longer. 

Exercise area

People love having the ability to skip the drive to the gym and get the same benefits at home. The problem comes when you don’t know where to put it due to limited square footage indoors. This is the plus of turning your outdoor space into a personalized home gym. One suggestion would be to purchase a ready made shed that can be converted into a gym. This is a great option as it provides safety from the weather, can be fitted with electricity, and has wall to wall potential for you to mount different equipment or even a TV. You can also build an extension to the house or even set up a designated area under your pergola where you can enjoy the morning sunshine and fresh air. Exercise is important and when you can create your perfect little gym from home it is a win win for everyone.

Entertainment Space

Family game or even movie night does not need to be limited to the indoors, in fact, it can make the experience even better when enjoyed outside. This is a space that can serve a variety of purposes for your family such as a place to relax after a long day. It’s important to think through the different activities you want to do in this area so that the design can be tailored to fit those needs. Some items include:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Bug control
  • Beverage stations

This should be a place that the whole family can enjoy so make sure that there are not just enough seats but ones that are comfortable for everyone. Bug control is important, nothing ruins a movie or game night faster than persistent bugs, install citronella candles or lamps that can provide your family with a protected space. Sipping on our favorite beverage usually goes with relaxation so consider adding a beverage station where you can have them within easy reach. Making sure that there is something for everyone is the first step in having an entertainment space that is perfect for making memories.

Design dos and don’ts

When designing your outdoor space, watch out for these dos and don’ts

  • UV protection
  • Slip resistant flooring
  • Lighting
  • Sufficient outlets
  • Drain holes

Time in the sun is refreshing and wonderful but too much can become a problem so be sure to provide areas that give protection from the harmful UV rays. If you are thinking of adding a deck or even using tile flooring be sure to select one that is slip resistant as water spills are common outside and can create a hazard. Lighting is important if you want to enjoy the quiet summer evenings. You can have simple floor lamps or solar operated lights. Power outlets are also critical if you want to have certain items outside like a TV or even particular appliances like a blender. Drain holes are another important element if you want to have an easy way to pressure wash your flooring but want to avoid puddles.

Design an outdoor space

Your backyard holds a wealth of space that can be transformed into an amazing area of fun and relaxation for everyone. It is a great way to increase the square footage of your home along with the property value. People are looking for a place to enjoy nature and what better area than right in your own backyard. Our experienced design team can help you create the perfect place for everyone and give you an oasis to enjoy everyday. Connect with us and let’s get started!