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Design Tips

Designing high quality outdoor spaces is not as simple as one might think. It takes knowledge of complicated design principles including scale, form, function and context, and requires an understanding of outdoor construction materials including plants. A detailed explanation of these principals is beyond the scope of this website, however by following these ten tips you’ll be sure to avoid many of the pitfalls homeowners often encounter. For larger more complicated projects, consider hiring a registered Landscape Architect to help guide the process.

  1. Hire a design professional. It always amazes me when homeowners spend tens of thousands of dollars on outdoor projects and never consult a professional. If you can’t afford a professional, then be sure to read this site!
  2. Consider the big picture. Probably the number one mistake homeowners make when crating outdoor spaces is not considering potential future projects. Before you decide on a location for your bocce court, develop a “Master Plan” of your property that takes into consideration projects that may take place 2, 5, or 10 years down the road. Proper planning now will ensure that you do not limit yourself in the future.
  3. Think of your space as an outdoor room. Like the living room in your house, outdoor spaces have floors, ceilings, walls and furniture. One ‘wall’ might be a wood screen for privacy, while the other wall might be a picturesque view of an adjacent field or beautiful building. Address all four planes, and you’ll be sure your space is properly defined.
  4. Design first, choose materials second. Materials do not define a spaces; they compliment it. We are all limited to budgets, but that should be a guiding principle. For example, if you’re creating an entertaining space for 50 people, do not reduce the size just so you can use a particular type of stone. Size the space appropriately, and then use the stone in key areas, and a lower cost material elsewhere.
  5. Don’t forget the furniture. Probably more than the rooms in your house, outdoor furniture is crucial to meeting the needs of your space. The furniture needs to be durable enough to hold up to the elements, while being attractive enough to compliment your space and the exterior of your home.
  6. Consider colors. You wouldn’t paint the floors and walls of your living room four different colors, and you shouldn’t do it in your outdoor space either. Consider materials and colors that compliment the style and color of your house and use vivd colors sparingly, such as with flowers or planters.