During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were encouraged to move gatherings outdoors. This got many people thinking more carefully about their outdoor spaces and re-evaluating how they want to use their yards.
One trend that appears to be here to stay is creating outdoor “rooms” to suit different activities and purposes. Your yard doesn’t have to be this separate place from the rest of your house where you go to do yard work a few times a year. You can make your outdoor spaces truly feel like part of your home.
Keep reading to learn how you can use smart landscape design strategies and incorporate features like a covered deck or patio, outdoor seating, garden beds, and fun/hobby areas to create the outdoor rooms of your dreams!
Understanding Your Outdoor Space
Assessing your yard prior to beginning your project is an important step in creating a beautiful and usable outdoor space. Each yard comes with its own unique assets and limitations.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider making a vision board or browsing Pinterest to find examples of designs you like in spaces similar to yours. This can help you visualize your ideal yard and find new ideas. It’s also a good idea to talk with other household members and close friends about your goals and priorities. After all, they know you best!
Creating the perfect outdoor living space also depends on the size, terrain, and orientation of your yard as well as your own specific style and needs.
Landscape Design Principles
The ideal layout and features for your yard have a lot to do with your personal tastes, preferences, needs, and lifestyle. But there are some fundamental landscape design principles that are always important to keep in mind:
- The environment and site conditions set the stage: Landscape designers aren’t working with blank canvases; the size and slope of the lot, climate and weather, soil conditions, and other factors should all inform your design.
- Function is as important as form: It’s vital to consider things like maintenance requirements, energy efficiency, irrigation, and safety in the early stages of landscape design.
- Proportions should be balanced: The sizes and shapes of the individual components in your landscape design (plants, structures, etc.) should be harmonious, with no one element overwhelming the others.
- Focal points add visual interest: Whether it’s a fire pit, a patio for grilling and outdoor dining, a beautiful statue, or a vegetable garden bordered by hedges, incorporating focal points in a design is essential!
- Transitions create harmony: Most great landscape designs incorporate a combination of natural elements (plants and greenery) and man-made elements (decks, pools, outdoor living areas, etc.), and the transitions between these elements – which may include pavers, pathways, or hedges – are just as important as the elements themselves.
At Blessing Landscapes, our experienced landscape designers use these and other principles to provide a solid foundation for any project, and then consider each client’s unique personality and preferences to create beautiful custom landscape designs.
Maximizing Small Spaces
If your outdoor landscape is on the smaller side, it can be difficult to know exactly how to make the most of the limited space you have. Fortunately, with the right approach and multi-functional design elements, you can create a yard that optimizes your space and meets your needs.
Here are a few ways to maximize your small outdoor space:
Add a Spa Area
Relaxation can be found in even the smallest of spaces. Something as simple as a comfortable bench or hammock with ambient lighting can transform your yard into a true sanctuary without wasting square footage. A small water feature such as a koi pond, fountain, or even a compact swim spa can add that extra bit of luxury to your space.
If you have neighbors close by, you might also consider adding hedges for some extra privacy and serenity.
Plant an Edible Garden
If you’re interested in growing your own food, you can achieve this even with limited space. Rather than trying to cram multiple gardens into a confined area, combining edible and ornamental plants can bring the space to life.
With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs to choose from, you can create a more sustainable (and nutritious) landscape.
Incorporate Storage Wherever You Can
While you may not have a lot of space to work with, you can still increase the functionality of your yard without sacrificing the luxury features you love.
For example, if you want to have a dining area outside, choose a table and chairs that can be folded and/or come with built-in drawers to conveniently store the things you need.
Enhancing Large Spaces
A large space offers an abundance of possibilities! But when creating a landscape design for a large outdoor area, it can be difficult to know how to segment and organize the space in a way that truly optimizes the beauty and usability of each corner of your property.
Here are some larger-scale outdoor space design ideas to get you started:
Build an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens allow you to enjoy your outdoor space and the company of your friends and family while you cook!
Depending on your budget and needs, an outdoor-kitchen design can be as simple as creating a designated area with a charcoal grill and a table and chairs. It can also be as elaborate as building a full covered kitchen with a built-in grill, refrigerator, sink, and bar counter.
Create a Lounge Area
An outdoor lounge area is ideal for entertaining, sipping your morning coffee, or relaxing in those late summer evenings. This feature can take many forms, but usually includes some type of outdoor seating. Examples include:
- A rustic fire pit
- A covered structure with a mounted big-screen TV
- Patio furniture organized around an outdoor coffee table
- Comfortable outdoor swings
Add a Space for Yard Games
Whether you decide to include portable corn-hole boards, a miniature golf course, or a built-in bocce court, who doesn’t love a little lively competition with friends and family?
Create a Reading Nook or Meditation Retreat
If you have the extra space, you might consider creating a designated space for relaxation and retreat in your yard. Here are a few ideas to get your creativity going:
- Build a small gazebo for yoga and meditation.
- Add a pond or fountain to your design.
- Build a Japanese-style tea house.
- Create a calming fragrant garden.
Build a Hot Tub or Pool
Nothing will bring your family and friends together during those hot summer months like weekend pool parties. Whether you choose to add a relaxing hot tub to your backyard deck or you decide to go all-out with one of these stunning outdoor pool ideas, you’ll instantly elevate your outdoor space.
The importance of including plants in your outdoor living spaces can’t be overstated. Plants help sustain a healthy environment for humans and wildlife, improve our mood and minimize stress, and increase the value of your home.
At Blessing Landscapes, we’re experts in plant selection, garden design and installation, and getting the most out of your garden all year long. We’ll help you select the right plants for your space that go beautifully with the other features in your yard and suit your preferences and lifestyle.
Adding Functional Features
While everyone wants a beautiful yard, the key to a truly magical outdoor space is making sure it’s somewhere you genuinely enjoy spending time. That’s why practical features such as comfortable seating, outdoor heating for the winter months, and ambient outdoor lighting are essential.
Blessing Landscapes can help you incorporate all the functional features you need to enjoy your outdoor space without sacrificing aesthetic beauty.
Let Blessing Landscapes Help You Create the Ultimate Outdoor Living Space!
Blessing Landscapes has been working with homeowners throughout the Portland area to create the outdoor spaces of their dreams since 1991. With our experienced team of design and construction professionals, we can help you make the most of your yard no matter the size or shape of your property.
Contact us today to talk to us about your project and learn how we can help!