Outdoor spaces are somehow special, often because they're different and they provide a change from our day-to-day routines. Remember sleep overs as kids? When you slept in the backyard with a friend it seemed special but why? It took more work to set up the tent, to carry sleeping bags outdoors and oh my, what an adventure if you had to go to the bathroom and couldn't find your flashlight.
With warmer weather, we're finding more ways to spend time outdoors enjoying the fresh air and a change of scenery. Maybe we feel a sense of freedom, shedding established rules for how we live indoors? Leaving our busy lives behind, we can almost imagine we're on vacation when we venture outdoors and soak up the scenery.
Think about the rooms in your house. Where do you spend most of your waking hours? Most families spend the majority of their time in the kitchen and the family room. Everyone gravitates to the kitchen, to prepare meals and to eat. In our free time, we want to relax and that might involve reading, a hobby or gathering as a group to watch television, play Wii or an old fashion board game.
It therefore shouldn't be a surprise that the most popular outdoor living spaces involve the same activities, so let's explore how we're moving to their outdoor living counterparts.
One of the most popular outdoor investments today, outdoor kitchens can be as simple as a portable grill to a more elaborate, built-in gas grill with refrigerator for cold drinks, storage cabinets for cooking and eating utensils and more. When planning your outdoor kitchen, don't forget your indoor kitchen includes cooking areas and eating areas for your family and guests.
Consider how often you'll be having family dinners outdoors. Will parties be held on a regular basis or only once or twice a year, and how many guests will you invite? Make sure you have a plan that provides enough seating, eating and serving space as we tend to think our outdoor space is limitless, and it's not.
Relaxation or Meditation Areas
When you sit down to read a book inside, you probably don't read in the kitchen. There's probably a favorite chair that's just right for reading and that's where you head. In the same way, you are less likely to relax and read a good book outdoors if the only place to site is the deck or patio which also serves as your outdoor kitchen.
That's why you want to create a special place for relaxing. It might be the front porch with it's great views or a gazebo tucked in the corner of the backyard, where it's quiet and private. Where you go to relax is a matter of planning ahead for how you want to spend your free time. Creating the space might be as simple as putting up a small lattice screen to carve out your private space, and some lawn chairs that you'll enjoy sitting in for a few hours.
Play Spaces for Younger Family Members
We look forward to the warm weather when kids can run free outdoors, make lots of noise and burn off their boundless energy. Many parents put up a swing set, build a fort or tree house and of course, there's the basketball hoop at the end of the driveway.
Children also use outdoor space to develop their imagination and dream about possibilities, so focus on creative spaces where one day it's the wild west and another day, a planet in outer space. Finding the balance between directing their play and giving them control is a challenge but well worth your time to make play time as rewarding as possible.
Hobby Space for Gardening and More
Maybe you've got an outdoor hobby like gardening. If there isn't enough room in the garage, a potting shed might be the perfect retreat for you to escape to when you need quiet time. As you plan your home's outdoor space, make sure to create that special place for you … and then, make sure to spend time there doing the things that give you emotional energy to make each and every day a special one.