Outdoor living spaces – planning in phases

 77832490You can turn your own backyard into the perfect spot for relaxing “getaways” with family and friends. To keep outdoor living spaces affordable, plan the overall project in phases. Then complete them as money becomes available.


Three Basic Items for Outdoor Living

According to the Hearth Patio and Barbeque Association, the basic items for any successful outdoor living space, are:

  • an appliance for cooking;
  • a table and chairs for dining and conversing; and
  • a hearth product for atmosphere.

 An outdoor living area with these three elements is usually pulled together by a common “floor.” The floor defines the space and contributes to the feel of a backyard room.

 To get started, determine the outdoor area you want to convert and plan how to include the three basics in phases.

 Outdoor Living Planning Phases

A typical plan might go something like this:


  • Mark the proposed outdoor living area in your back yard with tape or chalk.
  • Decide on the location of the cooking area, dining area and hearth product.

 Phase 1

  • Research and buy the grill that fits your budget. Of course, we recommend a natural gas grill. They’re clean, easy to use and you will never run out of fuel.
  • Install a platform to accommodate the grill and future cabinets or counter space.
  • Use your existing outdoor furniture for the present.

 Once this phase or any of the following phases are completed, you can use the space, as is, until you’re ready to move on to the next stage.

Phase 2


  • Install the floor area. Floors can range from grass to loose gravel to decking or stone patios, whatever suits your style and budget.
  • If you select grass as the “floor” material, the outdoor room will need decorative elements. Trellises and edging borders to help define the space.
  • Purchase new dining furniture.

 Phase 3

  • The next major expense is a fire pit or fireplace. These come in all price ranges. Natural gas versions offer exceptional comfort and convenience.

 Phase 4

  • Buy and install planned cabinets.
  • Add lighting. We like natural gas lights because of the charm, plus they doesn’t attract bugs.
  • Add decorative elements. 

The final phase is to enjoy your outdoor living space! And remember, this space adds value to your home in many ways.

Summer's Eve BBQ

  • Money spent on ‘hard’ improvements to your backyard usually are added back dollar-for-dollar on home appraisal values.
  • An outdoor “room” dramatically enhances curb appeal when it comes time to sell.
  • The investment in an outdoor living space can be enjoyed every day.
  • A backyard haven creates the perfect space for family-oriented pastimes.
  • Stepping out the back door to relax is very convenient.
  • Fireplaces or fire pits extend the outdoor season.


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