Optimizing the extra square footage of your home and transforming it into an extended living space increases the overall usability of your property and provides an area where everyone in the household could maintain close connection to nature. An outdoor room, be it a patio or a deck, possesses the best of both worlds – the privacy and comfort of a home combined with the sight, smell, sound and relaxing feeling of your natural surroundings.

As a homeowner, creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor room is a worthwhile endeavor that will bring several benefits to you and your family. However, as with any other projects, designing an outdoor room, whether you want a deck, patio or both, comes with several considerations that you need to carefully look at in order to come up with an outdoor room that will truly complement your needs as well as your family’s.

Considerations When Designing an Outdoor Room

Location. One of the very first things that you need to consider when designing an outdoor room is where you want it to be integrated into your home or have it stand-alone. There’s no foolproof formula when it comes to location, as it is a design challenge that demands you to carefully evaluate your property in terms of landscape and house orientation. Take note that the natural shape of the land – its dimensions and extent of a slope if there is any – and the location of your house on the property will have an impact on the design of your outdoor room. For example, a steep slope requires a terrace patio or deck, while a narrow lot will warrant a longer outdoor room. If you happen to have an L-shaped house, then an L-shaped patio or deck will be an excellent design choice, while a rectangular home will benefit from the addition of a wraparound deck.

When looking at the location, it is your best bet to get a hold of your property’s site or plot plan. With this at hand, you can determine how much land you have available to build a new structure as well as the possible setbacks or limitations on your lot that could affect your outdoor space.

Climate/Weather: Of course, you want to have an outdoor space so that you will be able to enjoy the outdoors without the need to leave your home. As such, when you are planning for your outdoor room, you need to take into account how you will be able to make the most of the sun and shade and how your structure will put up against prevailing winds. At the most, you would want to build an outdoor room that can be shaded for most of the day. If you are living in a location that tends to be very warm year-round, you would want to consider adding shade trees or other foliage to your plan. Take into account any trees you already have in the area where you want to build – you may be able to take advantage of those and add more trees as needed.

Function and Access: Another important consideration when planning your outdoor room is examining how you and the rest of the family will be using such a space. Similar to other homeowners, you want a room that will fulfill a wide a variety of functions – a place to cook, eat, gather, relax, or perhaps even storage space. Design for ease of access and encourage circulation from one room to another. For instance, if you visualize using the deck or patio as a place to dine out, then it should be easily accessed from the kitchen.

Equally important is for you to plan in advance where the furnishings and appliances will be placed. This way, you will be able to set a clear path to, from, around and within the deck or patio without the need to navigate around the furniture.

Budget: Building an outdoor room is a major expense. Therefore, it is vital that you establish a realistic budget for this project. If you built your home originally, you need to consider several factors to get the best value for your money. Along the way, you might need to grapple with decisions like whether you will have to build a large deck that uses lower-grade materials, or trade a smaller deck for higher-quality materials. Labor will account for the other portion of your budget – if you are a do-it-yourselfer, you may be able to save a considerable amount of money if you can handle the work yourself.