Planning Your Outdoor Living Spaces

Large backyard patio with a bar area and large table

Start Planning Early and Plan Wisely

Sometimes spring may seem very far away. But if you’re thinking about relaxing in the summer in your new outdoor space, start planning early!

Planning early not only means that your new space will be ready earlier the next year; it also means that your space will be perfect because you took the time to plan wisely.

Outdoor Living Spaces Add Value

A well-planned, inviting outdoor space should add to your home’s value. Today, more than ever, people like to entertain at home. This puts outdoor living spaces high on the list of “wants and needs” for potential buyers.

Since you’re not yet in a planning frenzy, take some time to speak to a local realtor, or local landscape designer, about what type of outdoor living space buyers want.

If you’re thinking about selling your home over the next few years, it’s important to know what outdoor space will give you the greatest return on your investment.

There’s lots to do to plan for your outdoor space, so let’s get started.

How To Plan Your Perfect Outdoor Space

Two-tiered patio with low wall, several tables, and a kitchen area

What really speaks to your heart?

The first step in planning a design is easy: Determine what you want.

Are you dreaming of an outdoor kitchen where you’ll joyously feed family and friends? Or do you want a cozy fire pit to gather around where your kids and grandkids will toast marshmallows?

Do you want to incorporate a TV, heat, lighting, or other amenities into your outdoor space? Have you always liked the tranquility a water feature brings? Or longed for a private shady spot where you can read a favorite book?

Two Adirondack chairs and a table on a secluded garden patio

Think about what would add to your family’s enjoyment of the space and what works with your lifestyle.

When properly planned, your new outdoor space will be like an addition to your home; it will be your favorite spot for three out of four of our New Jersey seasons.

Patio with firepit and seating

Visit our online portfolio gallery. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. You’ll get inspiration and ideas from hardscaping and landscaping elements we already designed.

Maximize your outdoor living space

Think about the outdoor area you want to upgrade. Does it support or restrict your desired plans?

If you have a sloped backyard, find out about features that can expand your outdoor living space, or accentuate the drama your property offers.

Learn about the difference between hardscaping and softscaping. They both play important roles in creating a functional and inviting outdoor space.

Have you thought about privacy?

For some, backyard privacy isn’t a big issue. Especially if you’re not spending much time outdoors. But now that you’re thinking about a great outdoor space, your desire for privacy may grow by leaps and bounds.


There are lots of design elements that offer privacy from neighbors.

Some attractive solutions are:


The choice of building materials affects the look, function, and cost of your outdoor living space. Inside your home you think about paint vs. wallpaper. Outside, you may think about concrete vs. stone pavers. Consider which you find most attractive and would suit your budget best.

Some outdoor materials worth considering are:

  • Flagstone
  • Patio pavers
  • Bluestone
  • Cobblestones
  • Granite
  • Wood

Finalize a budget

Consider your finances and come up with a workable budget. Make sure it’s realistic and comfortable. It will help guide many decisions.

For some, a home equity loan can be an excellent source of funds for your new space. Now is a good time to do some research and even apply. You want to know your true availability of funds now – not later, after you’ve done a lot of planning.

Don’t forget about drainage and grading

Another item that may need attention is whether property drainage and grading will be affected. This is an area that is often overlooked in the planning but can have a serious impact on your final outdoor design.

Plan now and for the future for utilities

Plan ahead for any utilities you may need now or want to plan for in the future. This may include a gas line, water, sewer, and electrical.

Think carefully about your needs for an outdoor kitchen. If you want a sink, refrigerator, cooktop, grill, either now or in the future, plan for the utilities now.

These are important items to consider before installing any hardscaping work such as a patio, seat wall, bar, pizza oven, and the basic kitchen structure.

Consider outdoor lighting so you can make the most of your new space to cook, dine, relax, and entertain.

Learn about municipal ordinances and regulations

This part’s not so much fun. But it is necessary.

When you are adding new landscaping on your property it may require certain permits and compliance with local ordinances.

Failing to do this may mean steep fines and penalties, depending on your local municipality. And if you are planning on selling your home, failure to meet these regulations can jeopardize your home sale plans.

In New Jersey, you may need to get permits or meet local ordinances for:

  • Installing or removing existing plumbing, gas lines, electrical service, or water service
  • Changes to the foundation of some decks, or replacement of a deck from the foundation up
  • Installing a swimming pool
  • Certain changes to fencing
  • Disturbing a certain square footage of soil or changing grading by more than a specified number of feet
  • Building certain retaining walls
  • Some tree removals
  • Changes to sewage connections

Changes to hardscaping on your property, such as adding a patio or outdoor walkway, will be regulated by local ordinances that calculate the amount of impervious square footage allowed on your property.

Patio with dining table and conversation area seating

Talk to a professional landscape design company

Yes, there is a lot of planning to do. But you don’t have to go it alone.

It’s never too early in your planning to seek the expertise of a professional landscape designer. At Landscape Solutions we can work with you from your initial planning phases through finalized design and completed hardscaping and landscaping.

Before you know it, you’ll be relaxing outdoors wondering why you didn’t plan your dream outdoor living space sooner!