Planning An Outdoor Space: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

So, the pre-planning stuff is out of the way. Dimensions measured, natural climate and attributes have been considered and possible transitions made. Now it’s time to have a little bit of fun. The next few articles will discuss the must-haves, could-haves and safety precautions every outdoor space should have. Thinking about your final design begins here, and like any project, with proper research and planning, your outdoor space will reflect and embrace your own personal desires and lifestyles.

I will introduce you to the necessary features of an outdoor space and how to start planning an outdoor space. Think it over and let your thoughts wander. In the next few entries I will go into greater detail to help you mold a more definitive design.

So lets get started!

Must Haves

Before you start planning all the details make a list of “must haves.” Three items that could be at the top of your list are hardscaping, landscaping, and outdoor structures. A quality hardscape can define your outdoor space and enhance the beauty and texture of your space. This serves a direct compliment to landscaping. With some thought and consideration, your plan will ‘come alive’ before the shovel hits the dirt. And last but not least, you should plan for outdoor structures such as pergolas, retractable shades, trellis and/or arbors to add shade and protection from outdoor elements, while also defining the area.

Could Haves

This is the part where you let your imagination explore the possibilities of ‘could-haves’. In today’s market, options for functional and stylish outdoor living products are boundless. When choosing elements to match your individual needs and desires, ask yourself some relevant questions. For example, do you plan to spend cozy, quiet evenings with your family by a fire? Or do you envision large, boisterous outdoor parties with a fully equipped bar? Do you love to cook and crave a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen for dining alfresco? Will you use your outdoor space year-round? Consider all the possibilities and browse outdoor living websites and magazines for ideas.

Safety Features

When designing an outdoor space it is absolutely necessary to think of all the potential safety hazards that could happen in the area. Remember some general safety concern: locate fireplaces away from structures, install a pool guard fence, and illuminate steps to ensure safe mobility.

Maybe you’ll begin with a basic, functional space that serves as a foundation for future amenities. On the other hand, perhaps you can afford a fully loaded space that includes a pool and spa, an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace, a fully equipped bar, a pergola, water features, lighting, and an outdoor home theater. Whichever you choose, plan ahead so you won’t overlook any fundamental components or waste time and money on an outdoor space that doesn’t fit your needs.