Do you love being the summer gathering spot for family and friends for casual hangouts, barbeques, or even big events? To make the most of your space, it’s important to learn how to plan a backyard to fit your needs and give you the vibe you want.
In this guide we’re taking a look at how to design a backyard for summer entertaining so that you can get to hosting! From large parties to cozy hangouts, we’ve got your tips for creating the perfect outdoor entertaining space.
Considerations for How to Design a Backyard
When you’re thinking about ways landscape design can transform your backyard first you need to take into consideration how you want to use it, how you’d like it to look, and how to create a space to fit those goals.
Are you thinking about adding a water feature installation or fire pit as a cool extra element? Have you considered having different seating areas for when you want your summer entertaining to be more cozy? Don’t forget to think about the surrounding landscaping when you’re starting to choose how to design a backyard entertaining space, either!
If you’re feeling unsure of where to begin, don’t worry! That’s why we’re here. We’ll walk you through starting your backyard design plans by looking at different layouts to inspire you then discussing different features you can mix in to create a cool space for summer entertaining.
How to Design a Backyard Layout
The first thing you’re going to want to think about for how to plan a backyard is how it should be laid out. This is going to depend on the space available, how you want to use it, and even the scope of work to be done given factors like how flat it is. Naturally, backyards that have uneven ground require more work to even out (or build levels, depending on the space). This could affect your budget slightly as more prep work does increase labor costs.
Let’s get to learning how to design a backyard layout, though. Some factors to consider are:
- Having a central outdoor entertaining space
- Adding smaller areas for cozier outdoor hangouts
- Ease of indoor access for yourself and guests
- Sun exposure and shade cover
- Surrounding landscaping installation to create an outdoor oasis
Having a Central Entertaining Space
When it comes to how to design a backyard for summer entertaining, of course you’ll most likely want a central space for everyone to be able to gather together. Most often this is the key element of any backyard design plans and is, as you might expect, in the middle of it all. Having a focal point like a water feature installation or fire pit here is a great idea because they anchor the space and really define the area as the central entertaining space.
Smaller Outdoor Seating Areas for Cozier Hangouts
If you’ve got the space, you might also consider adding in offshoots to your patio installation or outdoor entertaining space for cozier hangouts. These can be ideal for smaller, more intimate gatherings with friends or family. They’re also great if you just want to hang out in your backyard oasis alone and relax!
Creating an Indoor/Outdoor Flow
Another important element for how to design a backyard for summer entertaining is making sure you’ve got a good indoor/outdoor flow. While you’ll be doing most of the hanging out and entertaining outside on incredible summer nights, you’ll want an easy flow in and out of the house. This makes a more convenient layout for restroom access as well as bringing food to and from the kitchen when it’s time to eat!
Considering Backyard Sun and Shade
Part of how to plan a backyard is knowing what areas get sun and which have shade. While you might want some sun for your central gathering space, you also don’t want it to be left unusable as guests burn in constant direct sun. A landscape design professional will be able to assess your backyard space and help you determine the best layout to maximize your space with both sun and shaded areas (or come up with design suggestions like a pergola to help full sun backyards!). This experience and attention to detail is an example of how DIY landscaping can be bad.
Including Landscaping in Your Backyard Design Plans
While not technically part of your layout for a patio installation or hardscaping services, you want to think about how you’ll complete the look of your backyard entertaining space with landscaping (check out some landscape design in Saratoga, NY after this article for more inspiration). There’s a lot of nuances to landscaping around trees, creating lush environments around backyard water features, and ultimately how to give you the best backyard for summer entertaining that you’ll be proud of.
Adding Features to Backyard Design Plans
Once you’ve nailed down what you want your layout to be as you determine how to design a backyard for summer entertaining, it’s time to think about special features! There are loads of different outdoor features you can choose from to fit your space and create the ultimate outdoor gathering spot.
Some of our favorite backyard feature ideas include:
- Adding a backyard water feature
- Having a gas fire pit
- Building a pergola for added shade
- Outdoor kitchen setups
Building a Backyard Water Feature
Backyard water features add value to your home and make a really cool addition to any space. Small or large, focal piece or accent feature, having a water feature installation makes a statement. If you think they’re out of the scope of your budget or space, think again! We can help you determine which water feature design is right for your yard and tell you about how to maintain a water feature after installation to keep it looking incredible all year long.
Gas Fire Pit Ideas
Having a backyard fire pit can be a cool central feature for a new patio installation or gathering space. If you do choose to add a fire pit to your entertaining area, gas options are safer and require less work. Instead of having to keep firewood on hand and worry about loose embers, you can simply turn it on and off at the touch of a button or flip of a switch. There are even gas fire pits ideas for backyard entertaining spaces that are safe for cooking food over the flames, if that’s what you want to do. So plan away for the s’mores and enjoy that fire pit well into cool summer evenings!
Pergolas and Shade Structures
If your backyard gets a lot of sun, you may want to think about adding a pergola or shade structures to shield you and your guests from burning up. Pergolas can have very different designs to fit your needs and look. Talk to your landscape designer and see what ideas they have to give you the bit of sun relief you need.
Outdoor Kitchen Designs
Last, but not least, in our exploration of how to design a backyard for summer entertaining is to consider outdoor kitchen designs! Having an outdoor kitchen can bring the fun of cooking outside so that you can hang out with your guests all night without interruption. On top of that, outdoor kitchens add value to your home and look very impressive! Having an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be an elaborate setup. Talk to your landscape designer about how they can include one in your backyard design plans and see how it really makes the space even more perfect.
It’s clear that a lot goes into how to design a backyard for summer entertaining. We hope our guide has given you lots of inspiration to consider for your landscaping project. When you’re ready, head over to our Project Planner to begin your design vision and budgeting. You can submit the plans directly to us and one of our landscape professionals will reach out to get started! Consulting with a professional for landscape design in Albany, NY and the Capital Region will also help you get an accurate assessment of any potential yard prep work that will need to be done when creating your backyard design plans.
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