Exterior Space Planning – Tips from Experts

Beautiful outdoor living spaces can be designed yourself if you know a few basics. Exterior design expert Justine Blanda-Wengrod explains how homeowners can plan their own landscaping features as well as some tips on saving money with your landscape.

Planning Outdoor Living Spaces

Here are some tips and considerations for homeowners to ponder as they begin creating an outdoor space:

Assess Your Budget and Needs

Decide what you have room for and how you plan to utilize the space. Creating an elaborate outdoor kitchen, a simple dining room or sitting area by the fireplace all require enough space to accommodate the necessary amenities.How many do you want to seat at one given time? Is there enough space for an eight-foot sofa or will upholstered chairs with ottomans work better? Is there room for an outdoor sink? Where will you cook? Where will you be dining with guests?


This is an area to sit and enjoy, not just a concrete slab floor but an area that flows with the style of the home it surrounds. Tile, flagstone and stained concrete to cover the ground provide texture, character and color while enhancing the organic flavor of being with nature.

Focal Point

This is what you prefer to view while enjoying your space. Many want to create a focal point. Should it be a fountain, How to Build an Outdoor Fireplace|fireplace]], the rear view of the home, the pool, the ocean or lush gardens?
Once you know the focal point, measure, create it and build the rest of the room around it. Remember to be leaving space for plenty of plants, trees and vines to surround your space.


Leave plenty of room for plants, trees and hedges to surround your space. Planting a five-gallon plant will require more space than a one-gallon plant. Leave enough room for sprinklers and drainage pipes so water can drain away from the home. It’s a good idea to create a six to eight inch drainage trench filled with sand and covered with pebbles to go around the perimeter of your home for water run-off.

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