Fresh air has become the clichéd salve when you’re losing patience or you’re frustrated. We’ve all heard the well-worn phrase, “Go get some fresh air,” and there’s a reason for that: The air outside really is fresher, no matter how gargantuan your abode’s square footage, or minimalist the interior decor.
Going outside is almost mandatory in the warmer months for those who reside in more northern climes, so the upside to an outdoor living space is pretty self-explanatory.
For those blessed with cloud-free forecasts and tepid winters, an outdoor living space is more about convenience; You don’t have to travel far to get that fresh air everyone’s raving about.
But before you make the move outside, here are seven things you’ll want to keep in mind as you go about designing your rustic sanctuary and choosing your wooden garden dining table and chairs.
1) Privacy Is Priceless
Your outdoor oasis won’t be a refuge from the world if you notice eyes peering over at you from buttressing backyards. Landscaping is a good way to add in an organic blockade, but if that’s not in the budget, there are other ways to deter any nosy neighbors.
According to Extra Space Storage, “Doors, curtains, furniture and plants can all be used to give the illusion of an outdoor living room with walls. This allows you to enjoy your outdoor space all while having the option of privacy.”
It’s just an option, however, because sometimes jealous gawkers are welcome!
2) Good for Day and Night
No outdoor living space is complete without lighting. Yes, it’s nice during the day-time hours soaking in the sun, or drinking a nice cocktail in the shade. This is especially true when you’re free on the weekend.
Except, night-time lends your outdoor living space an added ambience and an air of mystery. That is, if you have the correct lighting installed.
One example: solar wall lights, which look nice for parties and will make a burglar think twice about targeting your home. Plus, if you ever think about selling, they certainly add value. Tiki torches, or kerosene lamps are a nice way to add light and keep the bugs away, too.
3) Fire and Ice
The glare of the sun can be overwhelming when you’re enjoying your outdoor living space in the summer months. Shade becomes ultra important when that happens. If you don’t have a roof, canopy or covered enclosure like a gazebo, umbrellas are a nice choice to add some shade, especially when they match the rest of the space’s vibe.
If it’s architecturally possible, a fan could provide much-needed air movement, particularly if you live in a land-locked location where a breeze might be hard to come by.
If you’ve settled above the Mason-Dixon line, for half of the year an outdoor living space will feel like an impossibility; It’s simply too cold to be outside. That’s why a fireplace is such a cozy addition. Not only does it serve as a focal point for the space, it brings warmth!
A fire pit also works and doesn’t require as much elbow grease or money to implement.
4) Sociable Set-Up
At the fire pit or the fireplace or simply the table at the center of your outdoor room, you have a centralized location where people can chat. If you don’t have a centerpiece like that, make sure to arrange your outdoor furniture in a way that allows conversation.
You’re not setting it up like your living room with everything directed towards your TV, or your bedroom. Plus, the placement of your furniture goes a long way if you’re thinking of playing host, and if you have a nice outdoor living space, you should definitely play host!
5) The Life Aquatic
Water is so important. It’s the natural antidote to a hot afternoon, or suffocating summer nights, and it’s one of the more perfect accoutrements to an outdoor living space. This is especially true if you’re keen to swim, or live in a hotter area of the country.
Remember that during the planning stages, you’ll want to place your pool or bathing area in a central locale because it’ll act as the hub for your space.
Everything revolves around the water, so make sure to design that way.
Once you know what you want in your outdoor living space, and have a general idea of where everything should go, now it’s time to figure out the feasibility of making that outline a reality.
You can’t plug a cute lamp into the soil after all, and any lighting will need electricity. If you want to add a wet bar, a water line will need to be involved, and an outdoor chimney if you’re putting in a fireplace.
If you love to barbecue, a gas line might be in order.
This utilities planning is also true for the building stage, when heavy duty equipment will likely require access, so make sure you get the basic power needs down before moving on to the minutiae of the space.
7) Room to Relax and Play
If you have small children who like to be outside, an outdoor living space should involve a play area. Depending on the age, hazards pop up all over the place, especially with hulking, gas-powered grills, or swimming pools. Make sure to account for some of the zaniness and hyperactivity that afflicts all small kids without sacrificing what you want.
Remember, kids grow up. Besides, bring an outdoor tracking device with you to keep you safe in your camping trip.
Similar to the way you might build, or produce –– via plants, drapes, etc. –– privacy for your outdoor living area, it might make sense to incorporate a barrier of sorts to separate the kids from the adult area of your space.
When you’re creating an outdoor living space, planning is the most important step. If you keep these seven things in mind before you break ground, getting some fresh air will be never be as comfortable or convenient.