Again a common question we get asked & something that you should think carefully about ESPECIALLY when you are designing your deck.

There would be nothing worse then once the construction is all completed saying “Yeah BUT…….I wish we made it just a little bigger”. So read on to learn how to get the RIGHT sized outdoor living area for your home.

When designing a patio cover or pergola it can be a little easier, as often you are working to natural starting/finishing points of the existing house. For instance matching corners of an eave line or working over an existing deck or paved area.

Decks can be a little trickier as more often than not you are starting from a blank canvas. Where do you start & stop?

Don’t guess. Start with the end in mind.

Think about the stairs & landing areas. These are the finishing areas so work backwards & consider your “flow” (Flow??? I’ll come back to that later on) through the area. Start at your back door, where/how will you walk to the table setting, how will you walk to the BBQ? And then how will you access the backyard? You don’t want to be tippy toeing over & through these areas. 

One of the things that I get our clients to think about early in the process when they are designing their outdoor living area is to answer the following questions:

  • How do they entertain outside?
    Or even flip that around – how would they like to entertain outside?

  • How many people will come over?
    Do you have a BIG Italian family that when you say for one to come around it means that there is another 20??
    Or have the kids flown the next & is it just the two of you?

  • Where will the barbecue go?

If you start with these questions early in the peace it’ll give you a better outcome at the end when your outdoor entertaining area is completed.

Why? It will get your to maximise the space, not be on top of one another & ideally give you ‘flow’ for the area.

 

What’s flow? Flow means that the area is easy to use. You don’t have to move like a zig zag to get from the inside kitchen to the outside BBQ.

So start with the end in mind; and this is important because with an outdoor living area you don’t want to be confined by your space. It should be inviting & usable.

When you go and shop for tables and chairs, more often than not you’ll see that the chairs are pushed in – it can give you a deceptive impression that maybe you could fit a bigger table than you actually can, or even try to throw the outdoor lounge in as well.

Pull the chairs out, then allow another meter around the chairs. You’ll find that the space can fill up quickly. So when designing if you have the opportunity to even grab another 500mm or a meter of space, the benefits in the end far outweigh the initial costs.

Even better, plan it all out on the lawn. Use the hose to create the outline of the deck or patio cover. Then bring out the pot plans to mark the table corner or where the BBQ will go. This will get you a better visualisation of your entertaining space.

Think about one of your inside living areas that you know – try your living room or rumpus area.

Measure this room & transfer it outside onto the lawn. 

Is it starting take shape? Now add some friends or family mingling at the barbecue, kids will be running around – so you don’t wanna be on top of each other. Don’t forget the path from the back door to the pool or stairs.

So if you think about the end in mind early this will give you more space at the end of the day.

So what are your KEY points?

  1. Think strongly about LIFESTYLE accessories to include into your patio at the beginning of your design process so you can ultimately make it more like an outdoor room.  These accessories will enable you to use the area more & give you a better ROI

  2. Budget accordingly. Yes you will pay more upfront however the increased use that you will get from the area by including one or two accessories into your outdoor living area will.
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