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4 Steps to Maximize Outdoor Living
Parents watching kids chalk up the driveway or ride bikes down the block.
Families involved in backyard games or enjoying a family meal on the outdoor patio.
Residents strolling the sidewalks, inhaling the fresh summer air, appreciating a neighboring home’s blooming flowers, and sharing hellos with those they encounter.
For the last six decades, such scenes have played out regularly in Gallagher and Henry communities across the Southland – and they remain just as commonplace today at Gallagher and Henry’s eight new home communities in Homer Glen, Lemont, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Tinley Park, and Woodridge.
For many homeowners, the outdoors stand an important extension of the home. Outdoor spaces not only contribute to one’s physical and emotional health – research has tied outdoor time to increased energy levels, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and heightened creativity – but can also strengthen our sense of place.
With the positive impact of outdoor experiences generating widespread attention in recent months following government-mandated shelter-in-place orders due to the novel coronavirus, more and more homeowners – not to mention prospective homebuyers – are putting fresh eyes on how they might better capitalize on the spaces right outside a home’s doors.
Step #1: Know Your Purpose.
The first important step to better capitalizing on your outdoor space is to reflect on purpose, which is to say: How do you want to use your outdoor spaces? While some desire a private oasis to relax and unwind, others favor lively environments designed to entertain or a cozy front porch that sparks random interactions and fosters a deeper sense of community. With a clear understanding of what you want a space to accomplish, you can then begin putting the necessary puzzle pieces together.
Step #2: Factor in function – and Mother Nature.
With purpose in hand, begin crafting a space that efficiently and effectively creates that environment. To do so, put functionality top of mind. An outdoor dining area, for instance, should be accessible to the indoor kitchen. A dog run, meanwhile, is best placed in an out-of-the-way area. Consider how a given space will interplay with Mother Nature as well, including how sunlight or wind patterns will impact functionality. After all, you don’t want your dining area in a wind tunnel or under a tree that birds love to call home.
Step #3: Create for Comfort.
Select furniture that’s appropriate for the space you’re creating and its intended use, whether that’s dining, relaxing, or entertaining. If the seating, in particular, isn’t comfortable or conducive to its intended aim, then it’s unlikely you and others will want to spend large chunks of time there. Have spaces for people to place food and drink, limit the impact of Mother Nature and its creatures, and design a space that prioritizes comfort.
Step #4: Add in Some Flair.
Don’t be afraid to bring your indoor style outdoors. While nature offers its own beauty, it can be enhanced with some creative flair. Use colors, patterns, outdoor textiles, and art to enliven a space with your personal style. Incorporate lighting, which can improve safety and add drama. String lights running across a front porch or back patio, for instance, can add a touch of whimsy. Blending different hardscape and softscape elements, such as seating walls and vivid flowers, blends aesthetic diversity to an outdoor area as well.
Love the Great Outdoors
Whether it’s rocking chairs placed on a covered front porch to watch children partake in summertime fun or an expansive outdoor kitchen for the entertaining you love to do, embracing the potential of outdoor living can bring added joy and quality to your life. By considering how you want to use your outdoor property, thoughtfully considering how an outdoor space will function, and investing in a space that embraces both comfort and style, you can create outdoor retreats that enrich your life and boost your sense of place.