Angie's List: Outdoor Living Spaces

When the weather is warm and people are spending more time outside, having an outdoor space right in your yard can make summer more enjoyable. If you're looking to make some changes in your yard, the consumer review website Angie's List has some tips to make the process more efficient and more affordable.

Popular backyard projects can range from installing small fire pits to installing entire kitchen and eating areas, and remodeling your backyard doesn't have to break the bank.

Angie's List creator Angie Hicks says, "More of us want to spend more time outside, but if you are on a budget be very clear and upfront when you are planning the process. Potentially get your project broken out into phases so you can do parts of it in any given year - maybe a fire pit this year and a new deck next year so you don't have to do it all at once."

Angie's List also recommends some outdoor options to consider:

  • Outdoor fireplace: You can choose many different options, from elegant to inexpensive options for a fire feature - a chimenea, fire pit, fire bowl, or traditional fireplace, all fueled by different means. Whether you have small children or not, safety should always be the number one concern. Consider a locking ring that allows you to padlock your fireplace in the "off" position.
  • Adding hardscape features: Permanent elements of the landscape such as patios, walkways, retaining and sitting walls make outdoor space usable and are easy to maintain.
  • Outdoor patios: From installing concrete to pavers to stone, there are almost limitless options when it comes to designing an outdoor patio for your yard.
  • Adding a deck: A deck is another option for providing your family with additional space for outdoor enjoyment. Decks can be built to any size or design. Most are constructed from wood building materials; however, composite materials are becoming more popular.
  • Pergolas and gazebos: These are a popular choice for homeowners who want to create an intimate outdoor space similar to an enclosed room in their home.
  • Outdoor kitchens: This space is typically focused around a grill, pizza oven or hearth. If enough space is available, an outdoor kitchen can include everything that an indoor kitchen has. The first step in designing an outdoor cooking space is to determine how much space can be devoted to it.

Angie's List recommends that before you take on any sort of project, be sure to look into the rules and regulations about building in your area.