Optimizing Your Outdoor Living Space

By Rob Muller Published 10/24/2007 | Gardening

With fall slipping by and winter on its way, you may find yourself reminiscing about the golden days of summer. Why not put that inspiration to use? Now is the time to plan your outdoor makeover – next summer your backyard could be your second living room. Redoing your outdoor living space will not only give you the perfect spot to relax when the warm weather arrives, it will add value to your home. By adding an outdoor room you are effectively increasing your home's square footage.

First decide what you want to use your yard for. Maybe you are a BBQ nut and love cooking outdoors – you would probably get a lot of use out of an outdoor kitchen. Others may love the social aspect of a pool, or the relaxation factor a hot tub provides. Maybe you want a gazebo with a bench for a quiet reading space, or a rock garden to meditate in.

Whatever you decide on, you'll need to take into account the environmental factors. If you are in a noisy area, a water installation of some kind will block out the unwelcome sounds of traffic. This can be as simple as purchasing a plug in fountain or as elaborate as adding a pond with waterfall landscaping. Remember to choose something suitable for your space – you want it to be calming, not overwhelming.

If your yard doesn't offer any privacy, plant hedges, install lattices or put in some attractive fencing to create a more secluded feeling. Building an outdoor wall is another idea for optimizing your open-air haven.

Next you want to choose your furniture. The options for outdoor living are amazing – there is something available for every taste and budget. Today's furniture runs the gamut from the 20 plastic chair to deliciously stylish dining sets. Whatever you choose, think function and beauty; you want to be drawn to this space. If you are planning an outdoor kitchen, in addition to the furniture you'll probably want to include an outdoor cook space, counter tops, heat lamp and herb garden.

Speaking of the garden, landscaping will really put the finishing touch on this area. The thought of planting a garden can really be overwhelming for people especially those with busy schedules, but don't be put off. You can have a successful garden as long as you are realistic: if you don't have the time to look after a garden and you don't have the resources to hire someone to do it for you, think small. Choose low maintenance plants, rock gardens or a few pre-potted container gardens. All of these will add to the look of your yard without adding much extra work. After all, the point of this space is to relax, right?

Winter is the prefect time to start planning your outdoor makeover. With plans in hand, you can get the work started early in the season – then you'll have the whole summer to enjoy your new sanctuary. And when it comes time to sell, you'll enjoy the extra interest your outdoor living space will command.

Rob Muller, is a dedicated Cherokee County GA Real Estate Agent certified in home staging and home inspection. For help with all your Metro Atlanta Real Estate needs, visit Rob online at www.relyonrob.com