Outdoor spaces are an essential part of maximizing and enjoying your living space. A patio can be an extra living room, a well-built jungle gym can offer free distraction for tired parents, and even a small yard lets you host a lovely dinner. The way you choose a home or design an outdoor space should be a good fit for your lifestyle. Make your outdoor living area a versatile space that maximizes comfort and leisure throughout the year.

Benefits of outdoor living spaces

Our first instinct is often to focus on the interior of a home. How many bedrooms are there? How sturdy is the foundation? Will renovations need to be done? But the outdoor space of your future home holds clues about your home, extra space to grow, and room to garden or relax. Here’s how outdoor living space can benefit you and drive up your property value.

More space for work, play, and leisure

Here’s the biggest perk of outdoor space: it gives you more room. A wrap-around porch, well-designed patio, or even a simple wooden platform can multi-task as an outdoor living room, kitchen, play area, or bar for entertaining. If you have a small kitchen or dining room, a large outdoor table lets you live out your hosting fantasies with a special dinner for friends and family. With a wide range of waterproof, durable outdoor furniture sets available online, outdoor living spaces offer more versatility than ever.

Customize your outdoor space

  • If you love hosting dinners, consider a long wooden table and lots of chairs or long benches for extra guests. String lights for romantic appeal. 
  • Working long hours and want a luxurious getaway? Look for features like a hot tub, sauna, or outdoor pool. Some shops offer seasonal spa rentals if you’re on a budget.
  • Consider building a porch or patio that you can customize to suit your needs with guardrails for kids, room for a big barbecue, or a built-in bar for cocktails with friends.
  • Small structures can be a great way to add an extra office, studio, workspace, gym, or leisure room to your home. Detached garages or sheds can be converted into multi-use spaces that add space and value to your home. Make sure you consider zoning restrictions in your area before building.
  • Got kids? Playgrounds or kiddie pools offer hours of entertainment, and sand boxes or ponds can be educational and fun for small curious minds.
  • In Canada, our long winters demand versatility from outdoor spaces. Fire pits, outdoor grills, sledding hills, space for an outdoor ice rink, or a small yard covered in snow can be a source of creative play all year long.
  • Add affordable features like bird feeders with seeds or hummingbird food, wind chimes, shade umbrellas, stone pathways, or simple fire pits to enhance the yard you already have.
  • Consider how winter will affect your outdoor space. Glass sliding doors can let more light in throughout colder months and let you keep an eye on backyard activities. A sun room or skylight can bring some of that outside light in.

Health and wellness

Studies show that time spent outdoors can lower your heart rate and reduce stress. Getting outside is always easier when you have a designated space where you can garden, dine, grill, relax, or even take business calls. If you don’t have a specific area for exercising inside, try assigning one part of the yard or porch as an outdoor gym, or create a consistent yoga routine that you commit to on the back porch.. If you have kids, a fun outdoor space can encourage phone-free physical activity and lets your whole family reconnect to the great outdoors. 

Connection with nature

Outdoor space can be a great source of solitude and healing. Gardening and bird-watching are a great way to de-stress. Try planting extra trees or growing fresh herbs to cook with. In the colder months, an outdoor space offers room for building snowmen, installing a temporary skating rink, or identifying animal footprints in the snow in the morning. If you’re in the city with limited space, install a tiny garden with small garden boxes.

Increased property value

Outdoor space can be a great source of solitude and healing. Gardening and bird-watching are a great way to de-stress. Try planting extra trees or growing fresh herbs to cook with. In the colder months, an outdoor space offers room for building snowmen, installing a temporary skating rink, or identifying animal footprints in the snow in the morning. If you’re in the city with limited space, install a tiny garden with small garden boxes.

How to assess outdoor space when buying a home

If you’re in the market for a new home, don’t forget to properly assess the outdoor spaces during your home tour.

  • How much maintenance do the yard, porch, driveway, or outdoor structures require? Are older trees close to power lines or do they look like they might fall over during a storm?
  • How will outdoor maintenance change throughout the seasons? Consider snow shoveling, weeding, freezing and thawing, and lawn care.
  • If the backyard looks a bit shabby, could simple renovations or a new garden layout refresh the space and increase value? Could an added fence or wall of shrubs add privacy? Would some fresh landscaping make the property more modern? 
  • Make sure you have room to expand the outdoor space in the way you might wish to. Is there room for the features you may want in the future, like a fire pit, hot tub, barbecue, outdoor pool, extended patio, children’s play area, adjoining office, or a storage shed?
  • In Canada each province has legal requirements for property owners throughout the year. You may be responsible for shoveling, salting, or de-icing the sidewalk or walkways around your home. Make sure you consider these spaces around the property, and how colder weather could affect your responsibilities.
  • What sounds can you hear from the yard? How close are the neighbours and can you hear nearby traffic? 
  • How soon will you need to repair outdoor structures? Look for a sagging porch, the slope of the lawn, damage from animals, and the state of the roof and home’s exterior.
  • Assess how your lifestyle suits the outdoor space. How will you be looking to entertain, relax, or utilize the yard?

Find a home that’s great inside and out with OJO

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