Designing Your Outdoor Space

This summer Todd and I had a wonderful time doing outdoor projects. It seems it was a landscaping year at Handmade Home. In our own backyard we added pea stone, rock, and ornamental grass to put the finishing touches on our space. We were excited to build a stone brick wall and spread more pea stone and mulch to put the finishing touches on someone else's space.

While in the process of designing these spaces there were three things we were trying to achieve. I will walk you through the steps and show you pictures which will, I hope,  give you inspiration and information on how to design your own outdoor space. We will start with the goals we had in making these spaces:

  1. Purpose
  2. Privacy
  3. Beauty

Okay, let's go more in depth as we look at transforming a plain grassy area in your yard into an outdoor room like we did.

Purpose

The purpose in creating any outdoor space is usually to provide a spot in the backyard for eating and relaxing. (Basically, we want outdoor kitchens and living rooms.) Think of it as an outdoor room--and what will happen inside it.

Todd loves to grill, and eating dinner together outside is something our family loves. It is so nice to enjoy the sun, watch the kids play in the yard--all the while lounging on comfy outdoor furniture.

Grill Station

Grill Station

So think about your purpose. Do you want a place to sit and read on a nice day? Do you want an outdoor spot for grilling/entertaining? Will you be spending mainly evenings or mornings in your outdoor space? Do you have little children that don't like to sit still? This kind of planning will help you understand what your needs are in creating this space.

We created a space for grilling and invested in some outdoor furniture. We also placed the swing set within the room for our kids to play. We also purchased little chairs for the rare moments they decide to sit and relax with us.

Privacy

Privacy is a must when it comes to relaxing. What will you use to create privacy in your outdoor space? Think of it as the walls of your room. Screens and fences are one option. Bushes, trees, vine trellises, rocks or retaining walls are other options.

For our space we chose bushes and trees. To save money, we purchased baby trees that will take awhile to be big enough to create the privacy we want.

Behind the picnic table we have lilac bushes growing. They will mature to 6-8 feet offering great blooms and a wonderful fragrance each spring.

Next we chose American Arborvitae. These are evergreen trees. They will grow into a hedge and need to be trimmed and maintained at 8'-10 ft. We also chose burning bushes. They will provide privacy and beautiful color in the fall.

American Arborvitae growing behind swing set. Arbor entrance to room.

American Arborvitae growing behind swing set. Arbor entrance to room.

Burning Bushes and American Arborvitae 

Burning Bushes and American Arborvitae 

Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Creating a place of beauty outside, you really need to think about what you think is beautiful. Is it flowers? Is it trees? Is it both? Do you love climbing vines? Do you love wicker furniture? Choose your favorite things to define your outdoor space.

Todd loves trees and rocks. I love them too, as well as climbing vines and flowers. We both love fall color and can't wait for the burning bushes to mature. A climbing rose grows on the arbor we built. I also chose wild grapevine growing by the grill station. 

Abervitae and Burning bushes in Summer

Abervitae and Burning bushes in Summer

Wild grape vine and flat rock bordering pea stone.

Wild grape vine and flat rock bordering pea stone.

Roses blooming in the Spring

Roses blooming in the Spring

So, three things to consider when designing your outdoor space: Purpose, Privacy, Beauty. If you can achieve these, you will have a great outdoor space!