With warmer weather outdoor patioapproaching and a million to-do items on your spring cleaning and project list, it might be time for a home renovation. No; we’re not talking a brand-new bathroom or a gourmet kitchen, although those would be nice, as well. When the outdoors beckon, you must answer the call — and the best way to answer that call this year is by hanging out on your brand new outdoor patio.

What sort of patio space should you build, however? Are there any things to consider before getting started? Let’s go over the basics of designing an outdoor living space and talk about a few things to keep in mind as you move forward.

Types of Outdoor Living Spaces

An outdoor patio is just a patio — or is it? It used to be that you could simply toss a table and a few folding chairs into your backyard and call it a day. Today, a proper outdoor patio requires a bit more planning, but the payoff is so much better than it was in the past. Here are a few of the types of outdoor living spaces you might consider.

If you’d like to make the most of the breeze or the views in your backyard, consider a raised deck. This is typically a bit more of an investment than a ground-level outdoor patio because you have to build an actual structure, but if you’ve got amazing views or would like to get off the ground to cool off and feel the air that’s being blocked by your neighbor’s fence, a deck is the way to go.

Meanwhile, a ground-level patio can be as simple or extravagant as you’d like it to be. You can install it on flagstone or simple pavers or pour an entire area of stained concrete to give it a rustic/industrial look. Some people opt for gravel for more of an Old World feel. Either way, it’s important to install comfortable seating that invites your guests and family members to sit down, settle in, and relax for a while, so make sure to avoid uncomfortable metal chairs that look nice but don’t feel great when you sit down in them.

Whether it’s raised or on the ground, make sure to surround your outdoor patio with lots of trees and plant life to attract beneficial bugs and hummingbirds. If you’re suffering from lack of shade, consider installing a pergola or some type of coverage to help keep everyone cool in the hot summer months.

Things to Keep in Mind with Your Outdoor Patio Design

As you build out an outdoor patio, there are a few things to consider. First, think about what you’ll likely be using it for. Do you love cooking outdoors? If so, instead of hauling in a detached grill, consider making an outdoor kitchen part of the overall design. You can include factors like counter-top space and even a small refrigerator and sink so you don’t have to run in and out of the house to get what you need or clean up.

It’s also essential to be aware of any zoning rules or restrictions that may apply in your neighborhood or city. There may be rules against building a certain distance from property lines or you may need a permit to build specific structures.

Talk to your contractor if you’re considering creating an outdoor patio space. In addition to being educated on any restrictions you should be aware of, they’ll be able to provide creative ideas for your new outdoor living space that will completely transform the time you spend outside at home.