What used to be the patio—or simply the backyard—is now an intentional extension of living space. Accordingly, exterior design is becoming as comprehensive as interior design.
Joe Raboine, director for Belgard Design Studio R & D says, “People are thinking more holistically about their outdoor areas, creating separate spaces—literally rooms—with different functions.” It’s no longer a single space. It’s the outdoor kitchen, sports bar, dining area, sitting space—or spaces—that have to be considered.
Beyond just functionally extending the living area, the need to decompress and disconnect from fast-paced and high-stress work environments is pushing outdoor living trends toward inviting retreats that beckon us home at the end of the day.
Rob Douglass, founder/partner with Texas Custom Patios recommends, “Select a tile or a landscape element that is reminiscent of your favorite resort and your outdoor space quickly becomes a mini staycation.”
Regardless of what your exterior area may remind you of—or how you intend to use it—the most important piece of advice is to plan ahead. Take a moment to really think through what you want to use your space for. Consider the number of people you want to accommodate, desired functional uses and your personal priorities.
The great news is that we can take what we know about great inside design and apply it outside. Here are a few things to consider when taking your inside out:
Nature is your accessory when designing outdoor spaces. Whether through well-placed potted plants or planning for landscape beds throughout the hardscapes, natural plantings can frame spaces, and adding seasonal color creates interest. Extra bonus here—you can change the color schemes from year to year to keep it fresh and new!
The Inside Scoop
No matter how large or small the investment, make sure to consider the inside when designing the outside. Coordinating color patterns creates continuity between spaces. Be sure to check out some of the newer outdoor fabrics that are becoming friendlier to the touch and can often be used inside or out.
Set the Mood
Lighting and music are probably two of the less expensive items to consider, but when planned for from the start, they can create significant impact. With just a little bit of wiring, soft lighting and background music, gracefully take outdoor spaces from fun in the sun to an evening of entertaining.
The View From Within
You may only use your outdoor spaces for certain seasons, so make sure you can at least enjoy the view of that spectacular outdoor kitchen from the inside. Consider existing window placement and where you spend your time inside when planning the outside to create the most impact.