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Top Tips for Designing an Upscale Outdoor Living Space

James Moylan

Monday, July 13, 2015

AZEK pool deck Vienna Virginia

How to build a high-end outdoor living space

Outdoor living spaces are often additions to existing homes. There are many elements, therefore, that must be considered in order for that added space to be truly well designed and incorporated seamlessly into the main house. While this can seem a daunting task, working with an experienced designer and contractor can help you determine and implement these tips for building a well-designed outdoor living space.

Remember the House Came First

In the vast majority of cases, the home in question came prior to any outdoor living space, and it was not built with that outdoor space in mind as a future addition. For that reason, it is the job of the contractor and designer to create and build an outdoor living space that blends with and complements the existing home.

Design elements should be tailored to the established aesthetic of the house. This includes matching or complementing color schemes and thoughtfully choosing design styles and materials. After all, a sleek, modern stainless steel outdoor space might be elegant and beautiful, but it will simply not work with a more ornate style home.

Enhance the Existing Home

Because all design and stylistic elements must default to the home, the aim of any well-designed outdoor space must be to enhance that home. At every stylistic choice or crossroad, the well-designed outdoor living space always asks the question of what will make the home better. In this way the addition is not just an external, disconnected work; it’s an integrated part of the home.

Establish a Meaningful Connection Between the Space and Home

Deciding where to place your outdoor living space relative to the home is one of the most important design questions. There should be a thoughtful, meaningful connection between the outdoor space and the room to which it connects. Perhaps you have a particularly nice basement where you spend a lot of time. Maybe you have a kitchen where you spend significant moments in your day. Whatever the case, your outdoor space should lead from a place in your home that is somehow special, unique, or connected to your particular lifestyle.

Make Design Choices Based on Your Lifestyle

As with deciding where to place the outdoor space, deciding what elements to incorporate should also take these factors into consideration. These choice, therefore, should be built around your lifestyle. Are you a TV watcher? A gourmet cook and entertainer? Someone who loves sitting around a fire? Some combination of those?

Whatever activities speak to your preferences, the outdoor space is an area where you’ll be spending a significant amount of time, and it should reflect those choices and activities.

This should be a consideration for not only broad stroke concepts but smaller details as well such as lighting. Whether you prefer natural light versus artificial light and how much this issue is important to you will affect design features such as the presence or absence of skylights.

Ensure the Contractor and Designer Are Working Toward Your Vision

With all that in mind, be wary of any contractors or designers who blatantly push ideas onto you that conflict with your preferences. A designer’s job is never to force something on a client. It’s to work in tandem with that client to produce the best tailor-made individualized results. A contractor and design team should ask you lots of relevant questions about your life in order for them to build you something that’s reflective of your personal tastes.

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