Ideas for Creating an Outdoor Living Oasis

Sunshine, cloudless skies and 70-degree days are edging their way into the Seattle forecast, reminding us that it’s the time of year to start living as Mother Nature intended: outside. But unless you’re the hardcore survivalist type, chances are you want your backyard to feature more creature comforts than a wide expanse of grass with a few deck chairs.

Here are a few ideas to transform your winter-weary backyard into something worthy of hosting your next big get together.

Cover Your Space

The Pacific Northwest may be a gorgeous place to live, but we certainly have more than our fair share of rainy days; if your home doesn’t have a covered patio, porch or deck, you’re missing out. Besides being a great place to relax or entertain, a well-designed covered deck or patio can add value to your home and give your backyard a sense of presence. The trick? Be sympathetic both to the design of your home and the surrounding landscape; a good designer can give you beautiful options that flow well and make the most of the space.

 fire pit kitchen

What if a permanent roof over your outdoor living area seems too, well, permanent? Consider a pergola with a quality retractable canopy instead. There is something artistically Zen about a well-designed pergola that makes it a viable option to a standard porch. Covered by an appealing canopy like these from ShadeFX, your pergola still provides an escape from rain (or shine).

Fixate on Fixtures & Furniture

What makes your covered space truly livable is just how much of the indoors you can bring outdoors. In particular, we love an outdoor kitchen. We think it’s cruel to separate the cook from the rest of the gang! What better way to keep everyone together and not heat up your house (or let in an army of mosquitoes) than to grill, cook and entertain outside?

Don’t forget climate control and lighting to round out your veranda’s features. A beautiful outdoor-rated ceiling fan - like this one, featuring a weathered copper finish - is a nice addition for those rare too-warm days. And for chilly nights? Integrating low-profile heaters like the W-Series from Infratech is a great way to keep the party going when the temperature dips. As for lighting, there are so many different options! Did you know that there are chandeliers designed for outdoor use? We think this Art Deco-inspired chandelier is a gorgeous option that marries well with much of the architecture here in the great Northwest. Another (and completely different) lighting option: funky solar-powered lights like these mason jars lights – perfect for added fun during summer bar-be-ques.

But don’t limit your indoor-turned-outdoor activities to eating and drinking. If you’re from the South or have visited a plantation or two, you may remember sleeping porches from days gone by? If sleeping all night in a screened-in porch isn’t your thing, adding a designer hammock to your backyard space is a great way to catch a quick snooze on a beautiful afternoon. We love wooden arc hammocks like this one.

Mix Fire and Water

Even if you don’t have space for a pool, the gentle babble of a water feature can soothe away the day. And a roaring fire is always the perfect way to chase away the chill on a cool summer evening. While there are plenty of inexpensive fountains and fire pits available at home improvement stores, masonry water features and fire pits are the ultimate in durable outdoor ambiance. Limited space? Combine the two with an H2Onfire Series Fire on Water Series insert for best of both worlds.

Whether you dream big – like the homeowners, we designed this cascading waterfall/staircase/Zen garden combination for – or are more into simple pleasures like roasting marshmallows with the kids, there are many ways to transform your outdoor space into a personal oasis.

Wondering what will work at your place?

Get in touch! Our talented design staff can come up with the perfect solution for your space and budget.

Jennifer Matthews & Sherry Ellis 26-May-2015 0 Comments
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