outdoor patio

According to the National Association of Home Builders, outdoor living was a top priority for homeowners in 2022, and it was one of the top 10 design drivers in a New Home Trends Institute (NHTI) survey in that year, as well. If you are planning to expand your home outward into nature with an outdoor living space, consider the following five concepts in your design.

The Function and Purpose of the Space

Every room in your home serves a purpose, and outdoor living spaces are no different. How do you plan to use the space in your yard? There are plenty of options to consider, including entertaining guests, cooking meals, or even curling up next to a warm fire with a good book. When you determine how the space will be used, you can more easily plan its proper size, seating arrangements, and features.

Lighting Options

Lighting is an important consideration for your outdoor living space. The function of the space, the time of day it will get the most use, the season, and even your home’s position relative to the sun will help you make better decisions about your lighting. For small patios, one or two focused lights may be enough. However, for a fully-fledged outdoor kitchen complete with a bar and seating area, you may need overhead lighting and accent lighting, as well.

The Local Climate and Weather

The Chicago area weather shifts dramatically from season to season. In summer, temperatures can soar above 100 degrees, and in the winter, it isn’t uncommon to see the mercury plummet below zero. Outdoor living spaces should be usable as long as possible throughout the year, so if you build a pool area for the summer months, you may choose to add a seating area with a fire pit for the winter.

Maintenance & Cleaning

Your outdoor living space will require maintenance, but the exact amount of effort required depends on the space and the features you choose. For example, if you install a pool in your backyard, you will have less lawn to mow, but you’ll need to keep up with pool cleaning and water treatment. On the other hand, if you install a fire pit with a chimney in your backyard, you will need to clean it (and the chimney) regularly for your safety.

Eye Appeal

Aesthetics are important when it comes to designing an outdoor living space. This can include everything from the materials you use, such as stone and wood, to the color of the outdoor furnishings. Proper design involves thinking about both hardscaping and traditional landscaping to ensure that things like shrubs, flowers, and trees balance your outdoor living area rather than drawing the eye away.

Outdoor living spaces serve as an extension of your home, and they bridge the gap between the comforts of indoor living and the beauty of nature. Before you start building your outdoor space, consider these five design aspects carefully. Doing so will ensure that you and your family get plenty of use and enjoyment from your new space.