Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Amish Originals Furniture Co.: Backyard Plans

It's officially Spring!  Ahhh, warm sunshine, pleasant breezes, flowering trees, emerging bulbs, bird songs, bird's nests, and big, blotchy patches of shaggy green grass in the yard - get out the graph paper or a handy legal pad - it's time to focus on changes and updates to outdoor spaces.

With each passing season, outdoor living is becoming an extension of our indoor life.

Before shovel goes into dirt, give your yard some thought - think about taking your yard project step-by-step and layer-by-layer to save time and money and to make even yardwork an enjoyable experience.

You'll enjoy your updated outdoor spaces even more with great stories to go with the compliments.

Make a Plan.

Simple. Layered.

Use an inverted pyramid approach - from general to specifc. Make sketches (no it doesn't have to be da Vinci level sketching!). Use photo images. Write a narrative. Make a list. Designate space. Create a swatch board - consider flooring, textiles, patterns, textures, materials, colors, and styles. Research what grasses and plants will work best. Diagram your yard from a bird's eye view. Use the web, go to local parks and arboratums, visit your local library, get ideas from magazines, or download landscaping software.  Have fun - keep a running blog of your projects and progress. Talk to a local landscaper or garden center, some offer free planning or plans for a nominal fee.

Create a budget.

Take a Walk Around the Yard and Ask Questions.

How do you currently use the yard throughout the year? How do you want to use your outdoor space? Do you want a big space or outdoor rooms? What do you like about your yard; what aggravates you to no-end? Do you hear birds or street noise? What do you want to hear? What do you feel beneath your feet? How does the sun shine on the yard throughout the day? How is the space lit at night; how do you want to light the space? What critters and wildlife friends visit your yard regularly? How often is your dog out in the yard? What do you already have in your yard, like healthy, mature trees, fixtures, and features; anything need to change or go? Is there a play or activities space in the yard? Do you want some alone space, like a corner to read or meditate or star gaze? What kind of social space do you want? How do you move within the space, like pathways, traffic flow? How does everyone transition from indoors to out? Is there or do you want water features? What is the topography of the yard? How is the drainage? How much effort do you want to put into maintenance?  What do you want to do this season and in the future? 

Do Have the Right Tools for the Job?

Is this a DIY project or do you plan to use professionals?  What do you need in tools and hardware to start and finish the job?  What do you need to maintain your outdoor space - a phone number for a good service or all the right tools for some DIY? How much "eco" are you incorporating into your outdoor environment?

What's the View?

What does your yard look like from the inside?  What's framed in your windows? Do the indoor and outdoor spaces blend in & out and out & in with each other? What would you like to see when you look outside across the seasons?

Legal Avenues?

Are there local regulations, ordinances, and permit requirements? What are your HOA rules and guidelines? Do you need to contact OUPS or your local utility services to show you what lies beneath?

Do You Want an Outdoor Kitchen?

Where is the kitchen/dining area going?  Where is the access to power, gas, and water?  Do you want to extend your indoor kitchen? Do you want herbs or veggies growing nearby? Do you want easy clean-up? Are you considering outdoor appliances, like fridges, ovens, grills, a sink with a disposal, or burners?  What kind of counterspace and work surfaces do you want? Do you want a bar?  Where is the trash going?

Do You Want a Fireplace or Firepit?

Wood fueled or gas?  For cooking or gathering? Built-in or Portable?

Take a Look at Lighting Options.

Motion sensitive lighting. Electric. Solar. Battery-powered. Spotlights. Security lighting. Lanterns. Tiki torches. Candles. 

Ambient lighting or a piece of the sun? In other words, how bright do you want your outdoor lighting? Do you want to be able to control the outdoor lighting from within?

Heating and Cooling Options.

Consider ceiling fans, standing fans, misters, and patio heaters.


Do you want a pergola, playhouse for the kids, gazebo, storage, arbors, trellises, walls, screens, or fencing?

Water Features.

Infinity pools, spas, recreational pools, water slides, grottos, ponds, waterfalls, creek beds, bubble pots, fountains, koi, water lilies, water playgrounds, or misters - with each passing season, water feature options become more affordable and interesting.

Trees, Plants, Ground Cover.

Consider a 'green' palette of perrenials, shrubs, and trees and add color, texture, and variety with container gardening through pots and hanging baskets. 

Think about your yard through each season.


Modern outdoor furniture and textiles really can bring the coziness of the living room outdoors.  With water resistant textiles, you can add sofas, ottomans, occasional tables, chaises, and daybeds to a space or go a more traditional route with furniture that embraces the weather but still looks great, like treated-pine, teak, resin, cast aluminum, all-weather wicker, or poly-lumber.

While traditional picnic tables are the ultimate classic, if you want to go in another directions, there are lots of options for outdoor dining today. And, sticking with the classics works great with modern weather-resistant textiles including rugs, pillows, and drapery panels.

Fine-tune the Plan.

Zoom in mentally and acutally on the details.  Back up and use a "wide lens" - color palette? How do the aspects of your outdoor environment complement each other? how does it make you feel?

Execute Your Plan in Logical Steps.

Do it right.  Take your time. Work in layers. Think about what's next and how everything interacts. Be flexible enough to rewrite your story along the way. Embrace and thoroughly enjoy the process and the fabulous end result.

To learn more:

Amish Originals Outdoor Furniture Online.

Great Advice from Houseplans and More.

Planning Your Outdoor Space by Gretchen Roberts from HGTV.

Yard Crashers on DIY.

Amish Originals' Take on Outdoor Living Trends.

No comments:

Post a Comment