Many people do not see the value in their outdoor space. Perhaps they just view their yard as something that requires mowing on the weekend.
Consider your outside space as an extension of your inside home since there are many opportunities for great living spaces outside.
Adding an outdoor room is an inexpensive way to add on to the usable space of your home without the expense of fykk scale remodeling.
When designing an outdoor room, many aspects of outdoor living should be addressed, however you should decorate it similarly to the way you decorated the inside of your home.
Create Activity Zones
What activities would you like to do in your outdoor room?
You might want an area for an outdoor kitchen, an area for the kids to play, an area for dining, a place to play board games, an area for your pets, a place to put a porch swing, a fireplace, a fire pit, a wet bar, a refrigerator, or whatever activity suits your lifestyle.
Plan where the activity zones are to be located.
You probably want your dining zone near your BBQ zone.
You might want your children's zone near an inside window so you can view them outside playing while you are inside.
Consider whether you want a solid roof to provide complete shade and protection from rain, a partial roof in the form of a pergola or arbor for partial shade, or no roof to be able to enjoy the stars at night.
If you just want to add some furniture and accessories, you should be able to handle that on your own.
If you are adding any major elements, such as electrical, plumbing, a fireplace/firepit, or adding a roof, you should hire a general contractor to assist you with your additions to ensure they are completed to the correct building code so you don't have problems selling your home in the future.
Don't Forget the Front
Many people only consider the back yard a potential place for an outdoor room, however your front yard is also an option.
A front yard is a great place for a casual sitting area for you to gather with your neighbors or to wait for your children to arrive home on the school bus.
Consider having an outdoor room in both the front of your home and the back of your home.
You can even replace a window on the side of your home with a door to create an outdoor room on the side of your home also.
Where is the Sun?
Know where the sun rises and sets in your yard, as the direction the sun is in currently will change slightly during different seasons of the year.
Make sure to account for any areas that might need shade from the sun. You can add curtains or a sun shade to block the sun's heat and glare.
If you add a partial or full roof to your outdoor room, you will most likely reduce your indoor air conditioning costs because you will shade an exterior window from the sun.
Create Green Walls for Privacy
To make your outdoor room feel more like a private room of your house, create green privacy walls.
You can get tall shrubs, trees, vines, bamboo, or other natural screening to line your fence and create living walls of greenery.
Consider making your green walls with evergreen plants that do not lose all of their leaves during the winter so the backdrop of your outdoor room will remain green throughout the year.
Make sure to obstruct your neighbors' windows that overlook your outdoor room (especially their 2nd or 3rd story windows) in order to make your outdoor room more private.
Try to conceal with greenery anything that is man made, such as electrical poles, houses, fences, trash cans, electrical and telephone boxes, and other uninspiring views.
Some plants require a little maintenance here and there, but you should not have to trim or prune your shrubs every month. Research your plants to know their full grown height before planting them and select their location accordingly. Luckily, many plants for sale in stores have care information attached to them that lists their full grown height so you can plan accordingly when shopping.
Create Layers of Greenery as a Focal Point
Create layers of greenery for interest when looking out from your outdoor room.
You can layer tall plants in the back, medium plants in front of the tall plants, and short plants in the front to create a pleasing arrangement.
Also consider layering in potted plants into your landscape to create a height element and difference in texture and color.
Know when your plants bloom and plant accordingly to create visual interest throughout your yard during different months of the year.
If you plan on using your outdoor room at night, don't forget the lighting.
You can light your outdoor room using candles, strings of lights (Christmas lights), solar lights, up lights on trees, battery powered lamps, lighting in the ceiling of your patio cover, or any other lighting source you wish.
Make sure the lighting in your outdoor room is weather proof unless you plan on briging it inside after every use.
Make a Nice View Outside
When planning an outdoor room, keep in mind that you will not only be looking at your outdoor room from within the room, but you will also be looking at it through the windows inside your home.
Check all of your windows to make sure they do not look onto an uninspiring view, such as the back side of a piece of furniture or a trash can.
Locate plant materials or other decorative items so that they create a beautiful focal point when looking out your windows.
Avoid cheap undersized patio furniture when furnishing your outdoor room.
Your outdoor furniture should be as nice and as comfortable as your indoor furniture.
Luckily outdoor fabric is now much more design focused and feels much softer and looks less glossy than it did in the past.
Consider using furniture that has built in storage since storage options are always a good idea.
Popular outdoor furniture materials include all weather wicker and teak with cushions made from weather resistant fabrics, such as Sunbrella.
Decorate the architecture of your outdoor room as you would an inside room except using elements that are washable or able to withstand the elements.
Don't forget about a rug to soften the ground and curtains to soften the transition to the outside.
You can add artwork to the walls.
Accessorize your outdoor room as you would an indoor room since these items can easily be brought inside to keep out of the weather.
Don't cheap out and buy things that look plastic, cheap, and disposable, such as something you would pack to go on a picnic. Use quality items that you would use inside your home.
You can decorate with glass pitchers, cloth napkins, sculptures, candles, mirrors, pillows made of outdoor fabric (or regular fabric if they will stay out of the sun and rain), and anything else that will withstand being outdoors or that can be easily brought indoors after each use.