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ESTABLISHING TRAFFIC PATTERNS

One key to creating a well-integrated outdoor space is to establish foot traffic patterns that tie the area into both the yard's landscape and the home's functional uses. This can be accomplished through incorporating formal walkways or hardscaping features that are designed to establish corners and borders. Try to think of this process like a contractor would think about delineating space within the home and group outdoor living features according to their intended use.

ADD A FIRE SOURCE

There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than gathering around an outdoor fire on a chilly night. Homeowners who want to take advantage of mankind's instinctual draw to fire as a source of heat and light can incorporate full-sized outdoor fireplaces or simple fire pits depending on their families' needs and their projects' budgets. Just be sure to check local building codes to verify fire-safety rules prior to investing in an outdoor fireplace or fire pit.

Outdoor living spaces, designed for you...built for your future.

DESIGN ACCORDING TO INTENDED USE

Homeowners who plan on using their outdoor areas primarily for the purposes of relaxing with their families after long days at work have different functional needs than those who intend to entertain frequently.  Keep this intended use in mind when designing an outdoor space and be sure to incorporate enough seating for guests in the event that the outdoor space will be used for frequent parties or get-togethers and may even want to include features such as outdoor bars and kitchens to make entertaining more enjoyable for everyone.  Just be sure not to block natural foot traffic patterns to avoid clutter.

CREATE FOCAL POINTS

A well-designed interior room usually builds off of one focal point such as a fireplace, a cherished piece of furniture, or a work of art.  This gives the eye something to land on and allows homeowners to design the rest of their rooms around this pre-determined focal point to ensure that all elements of the design will be well-integrated.  The same principle applies to outdoor spaces, which is why many designers choose to incorporate water features, gazebos, or other hardscaping elements that draw attention and give them a focal point around which to arrange furniture and other elements.

 

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DESIGN FLEXIBILITY

Those who are working with a limited amount of space may find that it is difficult to create distinct zones between areas intended for cooking versus those that will be used primarily for socializing. Clever furniture arrangement and well-established paths and other boundaries can go a long way toward simplifying this process even when space is at a premium. Some homeowners also choose to incorporate rugs or small accents to distinguish between dining and relaxing areas.

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