Renovating your outdoor space can be a significant investment- and one you want to get right the first time. But with some strategy and great planning, you can create an outdoor oasis your family will love. Here are my tips to help you plan your outdoor renovation like a pro.
1. DETERMINE YOUR ENTERTAINING ZONES
Very similar to how I would design any interior space, think about the “zones” or activities you want in your backyard. For example, do you want a place for lounging, eating, kids to do crafts, kids to play sports, space to prep meals, a pool, etc? Figure out your priorities and then divide your space accordingly. Consider using pavers to create these unique zones. We created contrast strips of light and dark grey to create a special spot for our Weber Gas Grill, which we positioned very close to both seating areas, making meal prep and entertaining a breeze.
2. DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET
Set an actual budget- because unlike interior design, I would say there is less variety in cost of materials in outdoor goods. Meaning, with a chair for example, you can search long and hard and find something you like that also might fit your desired budget. For outdoor materials, I would say you are simply more limited. So one must be even more strategic in spending their budget wisely. One strategic way I maximized my budget in my backyard was by using affordably priced furnishings and decorative items from Walmart. With coordinated collections you can add fun pops of colour and high style without breaking the bank.
3. DETERMINE HOW HIGH MAINTENANCE YOU WANT THE SPACE TO BE
Whether you love to garden or don’t know your weeds from your flowers, pick materials that will serve your family best. I purposefully limited areas for grass and only planted flowers and plants that would be hearty and stand up to my rough and tumble children. For seriously low maintenance lawn mowing, check out the Husqvarna Automower where you can literally put your feet up while your grass gets cut.
4. CREATE A COLOUR SCHEME
The same way I always allow a pillow, drapery fabric, or piece of art work inform my colour palette in my interior work- do the same for the exterior. In my case, I wanted the space to read very minimal- so we kept all the materials very neutral and cooler in tone. And then with my accessories we stayed with a palette of navy, teal and lime green, in keeping with some of the textiles and fun dish ware. The pop of colour against an otherwise neutral background is fun and youthful. Ensure you repeat a colour multiple times for the most cohesive look.
5. CONSIDER INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY
The final thing to consider to really look like a pro is technology. There are so many options for integrating sound into your backyard- but don’t let sound be the only thing you consider. Consider bringing in wifi to make the space your outdoor office, a projector to turn any evening into a movie night, and where space allows a television integrated into a built in covered unit for real wow-factor. And regardless, make sure you run power back there so you can plug in an outdoor air cooler like this one by Honeywell- cause how awesome is that for your guests!
Loveseat, arm chairs, coffee table, lanterns, decorative pillows, bar cart, blankets, towels, green planters, umbrella, carpet for picnic, outdoor cups, plates, platters-Walmart
Genesis gas grill- Weber
Outdoor air cooler- Honeywell
Custom outdoor table- One One Eleven Designs
Artificial grass- The Home Depot
Black pergola- Lowe’s
Photos by Larry Arnal.
Lisa Canning is an interior design consultant in Toronto Canada. Read more about her family friendly approach to design on her blog, lisacanning.ca
Lisa Canning Interiors