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1. Style

You will need to consider the house exterior, surrounding landscapes and your personal preferences to determine the style of your landscape. It is important to understand the maintenance requirements and location restrictions to ensure your desired landscape style is feasible. For example, a cottage garden may have the summer color you desire and suit your home but you will need to commit to the maintenance that would be involved.

2. Function

How do you want to use your outdoor space? Will you be gardening, relaxing, dining, entertaining or playing with the kids? These are just some of the possible functions you may want to consider. A good designer will spend time with you discussing how you will enjoy your outdoor space and help you to prioritize what should be included.

3. Location

Once you have determined the various functions, you need to incorporate these into the landscape plan in the most suitable locations. For example, you will need to consider light exposure when placing garden beds and privacy when situating a hot tub patio. Proximity to the exterior door closest to the kitchen is important when deciding the location of your outdoor dining area. If the desired shade or privacy does not exist, you will want to ensure the location chosen can accommodate a structure and vegetation to transform the space.

4. Transition

When the locations of the key areas of the design are decided you need to create the various zones considering shape and size. It is important that the transition between the zones is seamless and flows. The obvious way to transition between spaces within the design is with pathways, well placed beds and lawn areas. You can also create a visual link between zones by repeating the key plants and materials throughout.

5. Ambiance

After you build the patio for your outdoor room you can add ambiance, which draws you into the space and encourages you to use the area as it was intended. Ambiance can be added by introducing elements that appeal to the senses such as a heat source, lighting or a water feature. Outdoor structures including pergolas, privacy screens and raised beds can be placed to define an outdoor room which adds intimacy to the space. As a finishing touch you can introduce outdoor décor elements such as furniture and planters into the space which add both function and color to create a warm and inviting ambiance.

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