With expanding urban areas creating less accessible green space, the booming housing markets producing the reality of more condos and smaller property lot sizes with little to no backyards, and more people trending towards “stay-cations” instead of travelling looking for interesting and cost effective things to do closer to home. This is where the need for a natural environment like our backyards has become an invaluable addition to our homes.
The key to making the most of your space, no matter the size, is customizing it to your needs and comforts. Think about what you take pleasure in doing outside and even inside, as you try to bring all those comforts to the outdoor space. Think of it as an extension of your home, a new functional room that is going to serve its purpose of entertaining, cooking and relaxing. The key is using quality products to ensure low maintenance and planning your needs in making the space enjoyable.
When looking into creating my own backyard space, for example, I decided what my priorities were. I wanted to have a low maintenance area where I can dine comfortably with family and friends; a walk out deck from my patio door, a cozy lounge area to relax, a place to cook and an abundance of reminders of the fundamental beauty of nature.
After laying out your space, start with the foundation which is your patio pavers and decking. Again when in doubt go with high quality and low maintenance. Use thick stone with a good drainage base and polymeric sand to fill in the gaps which will prevent shifting and unsightly weed growth. When it comes to decking I love the polymer decking materials that will last for decades with resistance to fading, mold, scratches and no sealing required.
I believe in having a functional outdoor cooking area because that means we get to spent more time together with family and friends instead of prepping meals inside. The configured outdoor island kitchens are so versatile, you can choose the size and pieces you want like BBQ, sinks, fridges, storage, side grills, smokers, etc to customize your kitchen. Just like indoors, choose a suitable counter surface, one that can handle the outdoors with protection from UV, scratches, stain, fire, ice and that is nonporous.
Next is seating, calculate how much you need and its purpose. You may need dining areas, lounging areas and/or a quite space for yourself, as well as having seating that can be easily moved around the space as needed. An important item to consider is shade for the sun whether it is an awning, umbrella, pergola...there are many options but looking into adaptable products like rotating cantilever umbrellas, retractable awnings, pavilion tenting and movable screens would be best.
Finally, incorporate those that bring you peace, serenity and calm while heightening your senses like the sound of flowing water with an outdoor water feature, a great sound system to set any mood, a crackling fire pit, artwork, accessories and of course flowers and plants whether real, artificial, potted or planted. Make your outdoor area a reflection of you and what you love, creating your own personal ultimate backyard living space.