Designing The Perfect Outdoor Living Space for Wisconsin Homes

Ideas For Outdoor Living Spaces In Wisconsin

Today creating an outdoor living space is an increasingly popular project for homeowners seeking to add a stylish and functional area to their home. The trend towards indoor/outdoor living has taken off, and an elegant outdoor living room or kitchen gives everyone more room to spread out. It's a great space for entertaining on warm summer nights and can give your home a feeling of spaciousness that can't be beaten.

How the space ultimately looks is entirely up to you. Whether it's a simple seating area under a beautiful pergola or a complete outdoor kitchen and living room under a covered stone patio with a fire pit and dining area, it all depends on your creative vision and your budget. However, no matter what you choose, there are a few features that the majority of outdoor living spaces share.

If you're considering an outdoor living space here are some ideas to get you started.

Consider Form and Function When Planning Your Outdoor Living Space

When designing your outdoor living space, take aesthetic cues from your existing home. Consider the indoor-outdoor flow of your space. Bringing elements of the outdoors in and using textures borrowed from indoors can create a natural transition between the spaces.

For example, if your home's fireplace is made of marble, using a similar or complementary colored marble or travertine floor tile can draw the eye outdoors. If the outdoor patio is off of the main living area of your home, opening up the wall with floor to ceiling windows and beautiful French doors can create a natural transition from indoors to out.

If you include an outdoor kitchen, consider the amenities you'll need. If it's a simple grilling station, will you be bringing food from your indoor kitchen? This will dictate where you will place your outdoor elements.

Adding The Right Features For Comfort and Style

This patio includes options for lounging in a chaise, seating at the grilling station, a bar by the hot tub, and Adirondack chairs by the fire pit.

Ultimately, your outdoor space will be a gathering spot for family and friends. One of the best investments you can make is plush, comfortable seating. Comfy seating will ensure that your outdoor space gets plenty of use.

When designing your space remember comfort, quantity, and size matters. Outdoor furniture can be an investment so make sure that you purchase pieces that fit your need and reflect your style. Read reviews, check out pieces in your local big box store and sit in them before you commit.

When you've got your outdoor furniture home, it becomes all about placement. Seating works best in small groups that allow family and friends to gather and chat. If it's strictly for family, a single grouping may work. If you love to entertain consider creating multiple gathering areas.

A fire pit and patio can be the perfect way to unite the family on a summer eve.

Consider Adding A Heat Source

Summertime in Wisconsin can be pretty fantastic, but it's also pretty short! Adding a heat source can give you an extended outdoor season. Whether it's a small fire pit or a larger built-in fireplace adding heat increases the amount of time you can spend enjoying your outdoor space. If you have smaller children, an open fire pit can be a risk. Adding a propane heat lamp can often provide enough heat to keep you outdoors on those chilly Wisconsin evenings.

They're readily available at most big box home improvement stores and are a very functional and affordable option.

Protect yourself from sun, rain, and bugs with a screened porch - the ultimate way be sheltered but feel like being outdoors!

Protect Yourself From The Elements

Along with adding a heat source, including a covered area in your outdoor space can enhance your enjoyment. It too can extend your outdoor season, and you'll be glad you added a covered area in less-than-ideal weather. This design element will come in handy when facing everything from heavy winds and rain, to scorching summer heat.

When considering a covering, you have plenty of options. Permanent pergolas are becoming increasingly popular. They not only offer functionality, keeping you dry in the rain but can also add a dramatic focal point to your outdoor space. However, large umbrellas, awnings, or even indoor-outdoor sunrooms are affordable options.

If you're considering a covered area, your best bet it to work with your designer or design-build-remodeling contractor to incorporate one into your design. Let them know how you envision using the space as well as any budget considerations. They can help you to determine the best option to meet your needs and budget.

Add Design Elements That Reflect Your Style

Once you have all of your features in place, the next step is to focus on your design. For the most part, interior design rules apply to any space indoors or out. While this is true, outdoor living rooms have a few unique considerations you need to be aware of.

Outdoor seating is typically sold as a group and can be a little monotonous if used by itself. You'll need to add other design elements to create visual interest. Combining a variety of patterns, colors, and textures can create visual interest.

Adding outdoor textiles like pillows or an outdoor rug are good places to start. They can bring in visual interest but are easily swapped out if trends change, or you're creating a new look. Another great choice is adding greenery like potted flowers or smaller shrubbery in interesting planters. Even structural elements like pathways, decks, patios, gazebos, water features and retaining walls can play a role in your design if you work with complementary materials and finishes.

An outdoor living space can be designed to reflect your style, and compliment the architecture of your home. Some features are simple and cozy, while others like pergolas or patio coverings will require professional planning and construction. The bottom line is that you have so many choices that it can be difficult to get started. The best solution is to speak with a design-build-remodel firm that offers outdoor hardscaping and design services. They can work with you to develop a design that can meet your needs, fit your budget, and be expanded over time as your needs change.

If you're considering adding an outdoor living space to your home, give the experts at Degnan Design Build Remodel a call. Our team is ready to help you create an outdoor space that will complement the exterior of your home, meet all of your needs, add value to your home and provide you and your family with years of outdoor enjoyment.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 1/3/2019.