5 ways to add function to your outdoor spaces

Adding functional outdoor spaces is one of the most surefire ways to boost your property value. But even more important is that you and yours will find yourselves drawn to a well-designed yard, spending more quality time there. Here are five simple ways to add function to your outdoor spaces.

1. Keep everyone in mind

Start here: who uses your outdoor spaces? Guests, kids, pets? Think about everyone and how they'll get the most out of your outside. Even a small area of turf or grass goes a long way for kids. Do you love to entertain guests? Consider an outdoor kitchen space, a dining table and how guests will flow from inside to outside. 

 Photo: Landscaping Network

Photo: Landscaping Network

2. Create a designated patio for relaxing

Pick one area, wherever it might be in your yard, for socializing and just relaxing. This one element could quickly become the sole reason people are drawn outside. Take it up a notch by adding a fire or water feature like a gas firepit for evening lounging or a water fountain for serenity and calm. Choose simple patio stones or decomposed granite and voilà. 

 Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

3. Adjust for sun and shade

Talk to a homeowner with a property that basks in all-day sun and they'll sing the praises of a pergola or other shade-creating space. And ask a homeowner with just a corner of their property that gets sun and they'll tell you not only plants grow best there but they're drawn to that space. Do an assessment of your yard. What are its sun and shade patterns? Where are the best places to put your new elements?

 Photo: Homesthetics

Photo: Homesthetics

4. Find the natural pathways, then make them shine

Maybe your kids use your sideyard to get to the front yard. Maybe you traverse the backyard to get to your garden. Whatever your natural traffic patterns are, work with them. Pathways that create better access throughout your yard are a game changer. 

 Photo: Amber Freda Garden Deisgn

Photo: Amber Freda Garden Deisgn

5. Make space for what you love

A small edibles garden, a place to play catch, an outdoor kitchen, a place to store bikes or kayaks. It doesn't have to be over the top to make space for the things you love to do. 

 Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

Photo: Better Homes and Gardens