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Sarah Baeumler’s Top 4 Tips on Designing Your Outdoor Space

For some, the warmer seasons are spent up North, sitting on the dock and enjoying the peace and quiet of cottage country. Others prefer the convenience and practicality of their own backyard. Personally, I love both but I definitely understand the pains and struggles of the long commutes and bumper-to-bumper traffic to the cottage. Many homeowners are looking for ways to turn boring backyard spaces into their own summer paradise.

If you are planning on doing a fair amount of construction to your backyard (installing patio stone, a deck, or built-in kitchen area), I can offer one helpful hint: plan ahead and start EARLY!Even if you think you have a small project on your hands, it will likely take more time than you anticipate (especially if unexpected delays pop up).You want to be able to enjoy your backyard as soon as the warmer days are upon us so don’t wait until late spring to begin your project if you have a lot of heavy lifting to do.

Match your outdoor space with your indoor space

When planning our backyard layout, Bryan and I sat down and came up with an idea of what we wanted the outdoor space to look like.For me, it was important to pick a theme that was cohesive with the inside since I didn’t want the exterior to be a drastic contrast of the interior.Our home is more modern than rustic, so I tried my best to illustrate that theme in the backyard while keeping in mind the natural country setting of our home.The goal is to have your backyard compliment your inside living space so carry over similar colours, patterns and aesthetics of your inside design to the outside.

Give your backyard purpose

Another design element that I incorporated into our backyard design was the creation of living spaces.A small kitchen, sitting area and, of course, tons of play space for the kids.Segregating different areas for different purposes is a great way to make your backyard visually appealing and functional. Be sure to add in some levels to the design of your backyard as different elevations will help create division between the spaces.

Add fire to your backyard

My favourite part of our backyard is probably our fire feature. The relaxing and inviting nature of a fire doesn’t have to be exclusive to cottage country.Not only is it great for those cool summer nights, it is a fun way to incorporate the kids (roasting marshmallows is a family favourite in our household, especially for Bryan!). Some comfortable lounge furniture, great conversation with friends and a cozy blanket is all you need to enjoy this wonderful addition to your backyard paradise!

Design proximity to your outdoor space

A few other things to consider when designing your outdoor living space; keep proximity in mind when determining where to situate certain features.For example, have the barbecue or food preparation area relatively close to the kitchen indoors.In case you need to grab an item from inside, it will be easily accessible. Last, but not least, don’t forget about fabrics! Make sure seat cushions and patio furniture material are comfortable but also durable to the elements.They need to be able to put up with direct sun, wind and rain, and, of course, your children!