A yard is no longer considered just a piece of property surrounding a house, the scene of an occasional barbecue, or a place to send the kids to play. Instead, the outside has become almost as important as the inside. Today, outdoor living spaces are designed and decorated just as carefully as any room in the house.
If you don’t have a usable outdoor living space or want to upgrade the one you have, consider your needs and your overall style. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when deciding which outdoor structure is best.
Do you plan to use the space year round?
If you want to use the space year round, the design has to accommodate the needs of the different seasons. A solid roof that extends from the house will enable you to hang curtains that will keep out bugs in the summer and add warmth in the winter while setting the stage for a fireplace and comfortable furniture. Pergolas, arbors, and gazebos may be stylistically appealing, but they provide less shelter and are better for days that are neither too hot nor too cold.
Are you going to entertain outdoors?
If you plan to do a lot of entertaining, consider a roofed patio or a large pergola or an arbor. If you have enough room, perhaps combine several different structures for entertaining.
What’s the primary purpose?
If the purpose of your outdoor living space is to create a cozy sitting area, a quaint little gazebo or arbor might be just the thing. For a more formal outdoor dining space or to accommodate an outdoor kitchen for entertaining, consider a patio with a roof. It will create the impression that the space is simply an extension of the house.
Do you have a small yard or a large space?
A small yard might accommodate only one structure, so carefully choose the one that works best for you. On the other hand, a large outdoor space may allow for a few structures: a patio for entertaining, a gazebo, or an arbor tucked away in the garden for more personal pursuits. Use visual and physical techniques such as structures and landscaping to break up the area so that it flows better.
What goes best with your home and your own personal style?
Sometimes the decision comes down to what looks best with your home’s architecture and the style you’ve used to decorate the interior. A patio with pillars and a roof or a pergola might look better with a modern home; arbors and gazebos lend themselves to more traditional or classic styles.
The choice of an outdoor structure can be as personal as how you decorate your interior. If you feel overwhelmed by the decision-making process, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. An expert in outdoor spaces will be able to offer ideas and provide you with the information you need.