9 Basic Elements for Building a Versatile Outdoor Living Space
Do you want a backyard where you can hang out with your family, entertain your guests, and relax under the sun or stars? And do you want to be able to spend time outside whether it’s summer or winter? You can make all of this possible with a seating area, an outdoor kitchen, misting fans, a fire pit, and more!
Whether you’re building or renovating your outdoor area, here are the key essentials to achieving a versatile outdoor living space.
Deck or patio
You can use a deck or patio as an outdoor dining area. Build it next to your home for a seamless indoor/outdoor connection.
When building a deck or patio, consider weather conditions and choose either slip-resistant stone, timber, or paving for the floor. You can also use stone and timber for the walls. If your deck or patio is one metre or more off the ground, you’ll need a balustrade. If you want to be able to put your glass down on the top rail as you look outside, the rail should have a broad top.
Moreover, ensure the space is large enough to fit your furniture and BBQ and allow people to move around without bumping into things or each other. Apart from furniture, you can provide alternative seating locations such as a built-in bench, an oversized step, or a seat wall.
An outdoor area rug can help complete your deck or patio and protect the floor from food and drink stains. A rug is also easier to replace than stone, tile, or wooden boards.
You can maximise your deck or patio space with versatile furniture. This includes a built-in bench seat or a seat wall that doubles as a lounge and dining table seating, or a fold-up table and chairs that you can remove to make space for the kids to play. Other outdoor seating furniture you can use include couches, chaise lounges, ottomans, love seats, individual chairs, and bar stools for your outdoor kitchen.
Aside from a fold-up table, you can use accent tables such as an outdoor coffee table and/or smaller side tables that complement your space. And don’t forget the dining table! You can finish the look with weather-resistant chairs, durable dishware, and decorative linens.
You should also consider cushioning your seats with weather-resistant fabric cushions and throw pillows so you can always use them outdoors whether it’s sunny or rainy. Don’t forget to add cushions for seating at an outdoor fireplace, a waterfall feature, or a seat wall. What’s more, you can warm up your guests with throw blankets.
The entertainment system you choose will depend on whether you want to host family holiday gatherings, birthday parties, or social gatherings. If you want to enjoy your outdoor space with a lot of people, you can install a sophisticated audio/visual system that has a TV, surround sound speakers, and Wi-Fi to stream movies and songs. If you want to enjoy the space with only a few people, consider a more conservative audio system for playing music.
If you really love music, you can try an underground subwoofer from TruAudio. It comes with a small mushroom-shaped tube and speaker that you can install into the ground. Music is then dispersed throughout your garden.
Kitchen and BBQ
Depending on how you want to entertain your guests, you could install a full-blown outdoor kitchen and bar or simply have a portable grilling cart or BBQ and outdoor drink cooler. Whatever you choose, make sure to place them next to your deck or patio for easy in/out access.
If you have a small backyard, you can find outdoor kitchens in modular units, allowing you to customise inclusions to suit your space. Choose units made with granite, chrome, stainless steel, or porcelain-coated steel as they can withstand outdoor temperatures and regular use.
If you want a BBQ, buy one with high heat, a roasting hood, robust construction for reliability and longevity, and quartz start ignition built into the gas valve for quick starts. A high-quality BBQ that you maintain well will last up to 10 years or more.
Shading & privacy
Your outdoor living space should also have an adjustable sunshade, sail, or garden umbrella. In summer the sun is high in the sky and these shading options can reduce the glare and heat. In winter the sun is low in the sky and you can adjust or remove these shades to allow the sunlight to heat up the space.
You can also opt for fixed roofing with adjustable louvers or a retractable awning to shield against the wind and rain. On the other hand, you can have a permanent or removable awning for your patio. Polycarbonate and insulated roofing also provide shade and weather protection.
Another type of covering is a pergola. Its beams or laths offer an ideal balance of sun and shade, together with outdoor-friendly fabric like canvas, a retractable cover, or deciduous vines. Or you might want to install aluminium or timber screens to provide shade, separate spaces, and add privacy.
Moreover, you can hang weather-resistant drapes and curtains or fabric, semi-transparent blinds from your awning or pergola to shield you from the cold, wind, and insects. They’ll also add extra privacy.
You can also install retractable, pleated, or sliding screens to keep insects away. Your other options include roll-down bug screens and cold-weather zipper screens that have windows and gutter systems.
Incorporate porch lights or built-in lights to your covered deck or patio and/or outdoor kitchen. To add more ambiance and character to your outdoor living space, consider hanging string lights along your awning or pergola. You can also hang string lights on trees and within shrubbery.
If you use screens as walls or polycarbonate roofing/deciduous vines as the ceiling for your deck or patio, they’ll allow sunlight to shine through and maintain the connection to natural surroundings.
Fire and water features
You can make your outdoor living space cosy and intimate for you and your guests with fire and water features. You’ll also be able to use the space all year round.
If you have a large backyard, you can build an outdoor fireplace with the hearth doubling as extra seating. For a small backyard, build a fire pit for warmth and roasting marshmallows. If a fire pit can’t fit in your backyard, you could use a chimenea or tiki torches.
On the other hand, you can install a water feature that doubles as additional seating. You can choose from a large, cascading waterfall to a standalone water fountain. You might also want a built-in misting system or a standalone misting fan for the hotter months.
Where can you store away your throw cushions, shade umbrella, or fold-up furniture? You can fit your deck or patio walls and fences with shelves, a collapsible washing line, and built-in cupboards hidden by a hanging garden. As for the ceiling, you can use it to hang pots so there’s space below for furniture and storage.
You can also consider using furniture that doubles as storage space, bench seats with a storage box below or a table with cupboards underneath. If your deck is raised, you can store bikes, tools, and garden furniture beneath it.
Summer can be very hot so ventilation is essential. An open deck, patio, or garden will be easy to ventilate, but what if they’re enclosed? Consider channels of ventilation to the outdoor area via corridors of space next to your home or leave channels of ventilation between trees and hedges.
You should research the direction of cross breezes so you don’t plant large hedges or insert protective walls that could block the breeze to your outdoor space. You should also look at these breezes when picking a shade cover to ensure enough air will flow into the space. Proper ventilation will help cool the space down in summer and allow fresh air to regularly enter your home.
Enjoy your outdoor living space all year round
By incorporating these elements into your outdoor area, you can make it beautiful, useful, and fun to be in all year round. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to turn your backyard into a versatile outdoor living space.
For stylish and discreet screen designs, talk to the experts at Artilux about your screening needs.