You want your indoor-outdoor space to dazzle and amaze — which means you need to avoid the worst pitfalls that make outdoor areas less comfortable and appealing. Here are some of the worst mistakes you can make in designing your outdoor space and what you should do instead.
Neglecting to Measure
The size of an outdoor space determines so much about its design. A large, spacious patio or deck could have two or more areas for entertaining, like a sitting area and a dining area, whereas a smaller outdoor zone might need to compromise on the size and number of decorative elements to create visual comfort and balance. However, you won’t know for sure what your space can handle until you measure.
If you are designing your yard from scratch, you should measure the boundaries of your yard, so you know the length of your property’s perimeter and the amount of area you have to work with. Then, you can draw the yard to scale, placing different components that you would like in your outdoor space. Once you have the size of the entertaining area set, you should get a better idea of the number and size of large furniture pieces you can comfortably fit, which should inform the rest of your design scheme.
Opting for Non-outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture is not always attractive and it certainly is not usually very comfortable. The sturdy design and materials used in outdoor furniture tends to make it look blocky and feel hard — which is why you might be tempted to skip the outdoor section of your furniture store and invest in pieces rated for indoor use, instead.
However, even if your indoor-outdoor space is well-covered, your outdoor furniture will be subject to intense elements like wind, moisture, dirt and pests. It might not last a few weeks, let alone a few years, without showing serious and irreconcilable wear and tear.
Fortunately, because the indoor-outdoor living trend has become so popular, there are more options for trendy weather-proof furniture than ever before. You might invest in simple foundational pieces made of wood or metal and decorate them with trendy accessories, like rugs, pillows and blankets, which you can store inside when you are not using the space. With patience and diligence, you should be able to find an outdoor furniture set that will withstand the elements and look cute, too.
Putting Comfort Last
An indoor-outdoor space is useless if the outdoors is utterly uncomfortable for most of the year. During the cold winter months, you need to have some source of heat to keep you and your guests warm; a wood-burning fire pit, a gas fireplace or electric or gas heaters are all good options. When the mercury rises in the summertime, you need a way to keep your outdoor space cool. Outdoor ceiling fans installed underneath your patio covers are affordable and out of the way, and they can also help keep summer pests at bay.
Allowing Plants to Grow Amok
Plants never go out of style, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor space needs to be overrun by greenery. Your indoor-outdoor space needs to feel like an outdoor version of your home — not an untamed jungle. You can and should landscape your yard and decorate your patio or deck with a few well-tended container plants. All plants in view should be alive and thriving, but you should also keep them properly trimmed and pruned.
Even in the summertime, the sun will set — unless you live in the northernmost regions, but in that case you probably don’t have much use for an indoor-outdoor space, anyway. The day might be done, but you might not be finished enjoying the fresh outdoor air. Unfortunately, if you did not think to install lighting, you will need to abandon your beautifully designed outdoor space or else be content with the increasing darkness.
Like other elements of outdoor design, illumination should be attractive and appropriate to the style of the space — but also must be practical. You should have a few different types of lighting around your outdoor space, to include task lighting over tables and garden lights along paths, to make it easier to continue enjoying your outdoors into the night.
There are any number of mistakes you can make in designing your outdoor space, but these big ones are the easiest and most important to avoid.