Extend Your Living Space Outdoors


eHow Home Blog

If you own your own home you likely pay taxes for not only your house, but also for the land. Even if you rent a place with yard space you are paying for the surrounding property. So why not put that space to work for yourself? Spending time outdoors helps you get fresh air, vitamin D from sunshine and offers many ways to exercise. These realities are a convincing argument to convert your backyard into an extension of your living space. After all, we can all use more room to use for fun and relaxation.  So how do you go about getting the most out expanding into outdoor living?

Start by thinking things through. Jot down a wish list with all the ideas of how you might like to fill your open space. Here is a list of some elements you might want to consider for your expanded living area.

  • A child play area or a sport court
  • A pond or water garden
  • An edible garden that can take the form of an orchard, a vegetable garden or an herb garden
  • A special flower garden like a rose garden or a cutting garden for growing bouquet flowers
  • Pet areas
  • An outdoor family room or kitchen
  • A fountain or sculptural piece of art
  • A swing, hammock or a little retreat area for relaxing
  • A swimming pool, lap pool or spa

Then wander around your yard with your list in hand. See how the space lays out and imagine what items will fit in the available space and what won’t. Sketch out a layout that will both look great and function efficiently. Call in a landscape designer if you need some guidance.

Get a little more critical and think about a realistic budget. It’s easy to dream big, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t break the bank with your outdoor additions.  When you consider the budget think about how much work you are willing to do yourself and how much will be hired out. Allow yourself to be creative. You may be able to afford more than you think by factoring in some imaginative thinking.

Recycle free materials that you would otherwise throw away like broken concrete, old fencing, collected rain water, aged wood-frame windows and more. Plant up old sinks, car parts or broken bird baths.

To save additional money, do much of the work yourself, with your family or have a work party or barbecue and invite your friends as a work crew.

With some planning, you can turn your backyard space into an extension of your house and home. Even a do-it-yourself patio will offer seating and entertainment space. You can create anything from simple to elaborate. Whatever you do, you can improve your property and make your living space better.

Photo credits: Jane Gates

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