Your indoor rooms are fairly easy to figure out.

Your kitchen is used for preparing food. Your dining room is used for eating dinner with your family. Your bathroom is for cleaning up and bathing. Your bedroom is your place for rest and sleep. How you decorate and furnish these rooms follows their natural identities.

But your outdoor space is more of an open palette. It must be defined by what you want to do out there. Will you cook outside? Will you eat outside? Will you relax outside? Will you entertain outside? How many people will you regularly welcome into your outdoor space?

The options are endless. And then once you factor in Mother Nature’s influence, you get a whole new list of ideas – maybe you should add a pavilion for protection from the rain or a fire pit to add warmth to cooler evenings.

We get it. Your outdoor space is an empty canvas, and outdoor living space design can become overwhelming when you have too many ideas floating around to fill that area and create a space you’re going to really use and enjoy.

Let’s look at some common mistakes that homeowners should try and avoid when creating an ideal backyard for their needs.

Stay Away From These 6 Backyard Living Design Mistakes

Sure, mistakes happen. But when you’re investing in a backyard renovation, you don’t want to spend all that money on a space you can’t use or doesn’t work for your needs.

We’ve gathered some of our best tips to ensure you are on the right path when planning your perfect outdoor living space design.

1. Creating a Space that is Too Small For Your Needs

One of the most common outdoor living design mistakes we see in the Greater Chicago area is not making your space – whether it’s your patio or your outdoor kitchen – large enough for your needs.

aerial photo of patio with seating area water feature and plantings

Sometimes this happens because you don’t think about the logistics of actually using an outdoor space. On your patio, for instance, you need room for outdoor furniture, for people to walk around comfortably, as well as stand or sit and have conversations without feeling crowded.

One rule of thumb that helps is to try and have a minimum of 3 feet of walking space between furniture pieces and other elements to create that necessary space to move around and socialize.

2. Not Considering Your Components Before Laying Out Your Space

Part of the problem with sizing your outdoor living space incorrectly comes with not fitting in the type of components you really want to include.

bluestone patio with outdoor kitchen and seating area

This tends to happen with outdoor kitchens, specifically. Your grill size alone can dictate the size of your space. Other components like vents, pizza ovens, smokers, refrigerators, and ice makers can also mean you need more cabinetry or countertop space in order to be able to use the area properly.

Knowing what components you want ahead of time can ensure you avoid a patio design mistake. After all, you want to be able to use your space efficiently and with all the components you desire to use.

3. Forgetting About Chicago Area Weather

We know Greater Chicago area winters can be brutal, and its summers can be hot.

When planning an outdoor living space design, you have to remember to consider when you’ll want to be outside. Will it just be during spring through fall or just spring and summer or all year long?

pavilion with fireplace and outdoor kitchen

Weather impacts not only the structures you’ll want to include – a pavilion or pergola for instance to shield you from sun and rain or a fire feature or lighting to add illumination to your evenings, as well as warmth – but also their placement. Windier areas, for instance, will want a fire pit or outdoor kitchen installed in a place that doesn’t blow smoke at guests. Not planning for some shade in openly sunny spots can mean you’re roasting in the sun’s heat when you want to be relaxing.

Remembering the elements and how your backyard is situated can ensure you create a space that is comfortable and usable anytime.

4. Choosing the Wrong Materials For Your Outdoor Living Space

Your outdoor space can stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t choose the right materials for your favorite elements – ones that coordinate well with your home and enhance your overall space versus detract from it, which would be a backyard living design mistake.

patio and landscaping with pavilion that matches home

For instance, if you have stone or brick on your home exterior, you’ll want to choose materials for pergolas, patios, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and other outdoor elements that draw in colors or connecting elements to ensure a cohesive look.

5. Messing Up Landscape Lighting Installation

Landscape lighting makes your outdoor spaces usable for longer periods of time.
But there are many landscape lighting mistakes you can make trying to just throw this addition into your landscape without carefully considering proper design. You don't want to be blinding yourself or visitors with light or creating the dreaded runway effect.

landscape lighting lining walkway to home

Light fixtures should blend into your space creating light that enhances your landscape and safe passage across your site versus causing additional blind spots, which would be a patio design mistake.

6. Picking the Wrong Plants

You want to choose plants that will not only surprise and delight you throughout the seasons, but will withstand Chicago’s weather and soil conditions.

plantings near small walkway

Throwing sporadic plants together or picking only one season of color is a big backyard living design mistake. Your plants should accentuate your property versus create additional eyesores.

Find Outdoor Living Space Design Success

It’s easy to underestimate all that goes into outdoor living space design and installation. But if you plan your backyard additions well, you can have a longer lasting, wonderful yard that adds so much more enjoyment time to your Greater Chicago landscape.

As you debate your options, the ideas may seem overwhelming. Don’t let all of the choices dissuade you from creating the space of your dreams. Give the design experts at KD Landscape a call. They can talk out all of your design concepts, functionality questions, and usage options, and give you the best solutions for your specific needs and goals.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can give you the backyard living space you’ve been longing for at your Naperville, Elmhurst, or Hinsdale, IL home? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can help you get the most enjoyment from your backyard.

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