So, it’s time for a backyard makeover. Maybe you’ve got some very specific ideas in mind, like a water feature, fire pit or outdoor kitchen. Or maybe you’re at a loss as to what will best fit your space and serve your needs. Depending on the size of your yard, the possibilities are almost endless. But the most important thing you can do is consult with an expert to develop a plan.
There is nothing worse than saying, “What we SHOULD have done…” after your project is complete. Mapping out your vision with an outdoor design consultant can save you from making costly mistakes. And a professionally designed outdoor living space can greatly increase the resale value of your home.
Choosing the right company is key to the success of the project. Make sure the size of the company is well matched to the scope of your project. For a complete backyard makeover, look for a company with experience in a variety of services. Ask for references from past clients and be sure to check websites, social media and review sites like Yelp.
“You don’t have to do everything at once,” says Al Futrell, St. Charles resident and owner of Deck and Patio Living. “With the right planning, you can add elements as budget allows. Your contractor just needs to be aware of what projects to prepare for down the road,” said Al.
So where do you begin? Start from the bottom up, with the proper foundation and drainage system. The footprint of your living space can be created from a variety of hardscapes, including decorative pavers, available in many styles and colors. Retaining walls can level out slopes or create multiple tiers to add depth to your space.
Imagine how you want to use your space, then make it as functional as it is beautiful. Creating conversation areas around an outdoor kitchen, for example, ensures that the cook is not left out of the party.
Another important aspect to consider is shade, essential in hot St. Louis summers. Adding shade to your space can lower the temperature 15-20 degrees, making the difference between an enjoyable or unbearable outdoor gathering.
“For shade, retractable awnings used to be very common,” says Futrell. “But today, the motorized pergola is king. The louvered roof lets you control the amount of sun via remote control and also lets you manage airflow, allowing for better cooling.”
When designing your yard, engage all the senses with the relaxing sound of a backyard waterfall or Koi pond. And nothing encourages people to gather around in an intimate setting like a fire feature. Choose a custom fire pit, outdoor fireplace or even a unique Blazing Beats fire pit with flames that actually dance to your music tempo.
No matter which elements you choose to incorporate into your outdoor living space, be sure to consult an expert before getting started so you can create an overall vision and step-by-step plan. This way, any future additions are headache-free and seamlessly add to the overall beauty and functionality of your backyard oasis.