By Ellen Bell
When it comes to our homes, most people spend the majority of their
time indoors. Because we spend so much time inside, this tends to
be where we spend the most money decorating, cleaning, and
maintaining our homes. The exterior living space of our homes is
often times underutilized, if not completely overlooked. Most homes
have some type of outdoor space that can be used for rest,
relaxation, or recreation. This space can vary in size from
something as small as a balcony in an apartment, to acres of land
around a rural home. Whatever the size, exterior living spaces can
be a great extension of our homes, especially with proper
When designing an outdoor living space, you must first ask yourself
what you want to accomplish with the space. What needs must it
fill? What purpose will it serve? If you are designing a deck or
patio, for example, the size of the space should be determined
based on how you'll use it. Will you be purchasing outdoor
Once you know how you want to use the area the next thing to
consider is how often you'll use the space. If it will only be
utilized in the summer, an area out in the open may be fine. If you
wish to use it in the spring and fall, you might want to select a
location that is sheltered from the sometimes chilly spring and
fall winds. For areas with mild winters, a four season room might
be a good option. Four season rooms often have windows with
removable panels so they become a screened in porch in the summer
and an enclosed room in the winter.
You may also want to consider who will be using the space. For
example, if you have young children or grandchildren, a swimming
pool may not be a good choice, as they can be very dangerous. Or,
if you have pets that will be using the outdoor space as well, you
may not want to plant a garden full of delicate and exotic plants
that the dog or cat might dig up.
Once you've answered these basic questions, you'll be ready to
consider things like structure, privacy needs, and furniture.
Observing other homes with outdoor living spaces is a great way to
get ideas. This can be accomplished by simply taking a walk through
your neighborhood or a drive through your town. You might want to
take a note pad to jot down ideas as you see them. Many resources
are also available through books, magazines, and the internet.
There are also many inexpensive computer software programs that can
help you design your outdoor living space. Be sure to keep your
home's architectural style in mind during this designing phase, to
assure a cohesive outcome.
Outdoor structures like pergolas, trellises, and arbors can really
add to your space when incorporated into the overall design. A
large pergola over a patio can provide much needed shade during the
hot summer months. Also, pergolas, trellises, and arbors a great
medium for showcasing climbing plants like clematis, morning glory,
or Boston ivy.
Whatever your final choices are, be sure that your outdoor living
space meets your needs. A well thought out plan beforehand will
insure that you'll enjoy your space for many years to come.
If you are planning an outdoor project give us a call today at
or fill out our online
for an appointment. We service the entire Houston
metropolitan area as well as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. Become
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