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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wilson

How to Design The Perfect Outdoor Living Space


I'm ready to head outside and stay there until October - how about you?

Lazy summer days spent in the backyard, eating al fresco, surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature - aaahh. And just as the interior of your home can have a huge impact on your life and how you live it, a well-designed outdoor oasis can make a big difference in how you feel, mentally and physically.

Here are some tips to help you create the perfect outdoor living space just outside your door.

Daydream: How will you use this space?

First off, take some time to envision your summer in your outdoor living space; when you conjure up a happy summer day (or evening), what does it look like? Are you enjoying a morning cup of coffee to the sound of birdsong? Dining under the stars with friends? Yoga and quiet reflection, or enjoying a good book?

While you're visualizing, take time to think about the balance of sun and shade that you'll need to really enjoy the space.


Go Shopping: Choose quality outdoor furniture.

Your outdoor space should be an extension of your interior living space; that means comfort (the kind you get from soft furnishings) is a priority. Understandably, you want to know that the pieces you select for your outdoor living room will stand up to the wear and tear of sun and rain. Don't worry; there are ways to ensure your furniture will look good for many summers to come!

First of all, invest in quality furniture made for the outdoors, with durable outdoor fabrics that shed water and resist fading. If your furniture is sheltered under a porch awning or a gazebo, you can look at materials like teak and wicker. However, if it is going to be more exposed to the elements, then metal, resin wicker, and solid recycled plastics are your friends.

Either way, make sure you shelter your seating areas from the sun, whether it's a permanent structure, a patio umbrella, or the shade of nearby trees. Add lots of cushions for softness, and plan for a dry place to store them away overnight when rain is in the forecast.


Plan it Out: Layer furniture, accessories & decor.

Planning an outdoor space is very similar to designing an indoor space. Start with a floor plan (ground plan). Think about how many people you'd like to be able to seat. Do you want a comfortable place to stretch out? Where are people going to set their drinks? Draw up a list of the pieces that will answer these needs, and spend some time on Pinterest for inspiration.

Measure your space and create a furniture plan. There are tons of apps out there for creating floor plans to scale, or, if you're a hands-on person, do it the old-fashioned way with graph paper and a pencil. Now, equipped with the type, style, and size of pieces you need, you can start making that outdoor oasis a solid reality.

Then, once all your pieces are in place, top it off with some accessories and decor that make you happy!


If you're dreaming of a backyard paradise but would feel better with a little guidance, let's discuss your project during a design consult. I can help you pull together a plan.

Too busy and want to skip directly to relax and enjoy mode? My full-service design packages do all the heavy lifting for you. Contact me, and I'd be delighted to help.

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