The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) conducted a recent study in which it found that 70% of households in the United States have an outdoor living space. And 70% of households with an outdoor living space use it at least once per week. If you’re late to the game and looking to create an outdoor space, you should ask the following questions when planning it.
It’s a good idea to plan your outdoor living space in an area with some form of protection from the wind. Whether it’s a tree line, large rock, retaining wall or even the side of your home, you need some type of structure — natural or man-made — to protect against the wind. Once the wind starts blowing on a cold autumn or winter evening, it could quickly end your party.
It’s doubtful that you’ll be the sole person enjoying your outdoor living space. Sure, you may escape here to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a drink in the evening, but you’ll probably use this space to host gatherings with friends and family. Therefore, you should determine about how many people will be using your outdoor living space. The more people who use it, the larger the space needs to be and the more seating you’ll need.
Ideally, your outdoor living space should be planned in a convenient, easily accessible area. If it’s a quarter of a mile walking distance from your home, you probably won’t be using it much. Plan you outdoor living space in an area where you, and your guests, can easily access it.
There’s nothing wrong with creating a unique style with your outdoor living space, but you should try to maintain a cohesive appearance that flows with the rest of your home’s outdoor decor. If you have neutral colors and rustic elements outdoors, perhaps you should follow a similar approach with your new outdoor living space.
Assuming you want to build fires outdoors, you should choose an appropriate, safe area. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself a minimum of 10 feet between your fire and any mad-made structure (such as your home). Furthermore, make sure there are no overhanging tree branches that could ignite from a stray ember.
Photo credit: Chris Ford
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