This summer, my family is spending as much time as we can outside, from relaxing and eating to safely hosting a few guests and even working. At our house, having appealing spaces designed for outdoor living has been invaluable.
Through the years, we’ve shared with you a lot of the designs we created for indoor spaces, but designing for outdoors spaces is a major part of what we do as well, so I wanted to share a little more about that process.
When I have the chance to help someone improve the outdoor living spaces around a home, I start by taking in the scene and asking myself questions and making inquiries of the homeowner. How do you access outdoor spaces from the house and how do people re-enter the house from outside? How do these indoor and outdoor spaces flow together and are there ways to improve that flow? Are there views or focal points that should be emphasized or supported?
The most fun part is talking to people about how they imagine being able to use their outdoor spaces, whether they are spaces for just family or an anchor for socializing. For instance, I want to know if they enjoy cooking outside and explore their interests to see what aspects of the space would encourage them to spend more time enjoying it.
There are also a few things most people don’t think of on their own that can make a huge impact. The biggest overlooked item is probably lighting. While you will likely spend a lot of time outdoors during the day, for many people, evenings and nighttime are some the best hours to enjoy an outdoor space.
First, you want to be able to move through outdoor spaces safely as it gets dark, but if a space is primarily for relaxation and socializing, you don’t want to overwhelm it with excessively bright exterior lighting that might attract bugs, but would repel people. We find that a combination of well-thought-out architectural and portable lighting can really enhance your enjoyment of an outdoor space.
On the flip side, a space that gets too much sun during the day, can be transformed with the help our of awning designers. Imagine if you could have cool shade when you want it, and unencumbered light when don’t need the solar protection.
Another secret for great outdoor spaces is creating focal points. Not everyone has a incredible view, but you don’t need one to make a space inviting. Great design can not only enhance an outdoor space, it can provide the foundation to truly enjoy the space. We have so many tools at our disposal, from furniture and textiles to adding a sculpture or using plantings to create visual anchors. The balance, colors, and styles of what you include in your exterior spaces can add much to your home.
Are you thinking about doing more with the spaces outside your home for relaxing, eating, or even working? Drop me a note or give a call. Whether you are trying to make your home a more enjoyable place to live or you simply want more space for family or visitors, the world just outside your door is a great place to start.