Designing Your Dream Outdoor Living Space in Southern California

Designing Your Dream Outdoor Living SpaceIn the warm and sunny Southern California climate, outdoor living spaces are usable nearly every day of the year. Because of this, it makes sense to pay special attention to the design of your home’s exterior and take full advantage of any outside space you have.

During your home remodel, let’s talk about choosing between a deck and a patio for your backyard, and whether adding a covered outdoor living space of some kind might add value and functionality to your life. Using our advanced 3D technology, we can render images that will help you fully visualize your options to select the design that best suits your lifestyle, budget, and home. Contact us any time to get started, and keep reading to learn more about the advantages and concerns associated with different backyard living space designs.

Things to Consider When Designing an Outdoor Living Space

Deck or Patio?

One of the first choices you will make is whether a deck or patio is better for your space. Both options offer unique advantages and can transform your outdoor space into a functional and inviting area for relaxation and entertainment.

Drainage and Terrain

A primary factor to consider when deciding between a deck and a patio is your backyard’s location and terrain. Decks are elevated structures typically built above the ground and can be a great choice for sloped or uneven landscapes. They provide a level surface for outdoor activities and offer a scenic view, making them perfect for homes with a picturesque backdrop.

On the other hand, patios are ground-level surfaces that can be installed directly on flat ground. They are a better option if your backyard has little to no slope, as they seamlessly blend with the natural landscape. Patios are also more accessible for individuals with mobility challenges and provide a great space for outdoor dining and entertainment. This is also a good thing to keep in mind if you are planning your remodel for aging in place.

Materials and Aesthetics

The choice of materials for your outdoor space can greatly impact its aesthetics and maintenance requirements. Decks are typically constructed using wood, composite materials, or PVC. Wood decks offer a classic and rustic look but require regular maintenance, including staining and sealing, to withstand weathering. Composite and PVC decks are more low-maintenance options, as they resist rot and insect damage and do not require frequent upkeep.

Patios, on the other hand, can be built using a wide range of materials, including concrete, pavers, bricks, and natural stone. Each material provides a unique look and can complement your home’s architecture and landscaping. Concrete patios are cost-effective and offer versatility in design, while natural stone options like flagstone or slate lend a timeless and elegant appearance to your outdoor space.

Cost Considerations

Your budget plays a crucial role in determining whether you should opt for a deck or a patio. Generally, decks tend to be more expensive than patios due to the cost of materials and the elevated construction. Remember, it’s essential to factor in long-term maintenance costs as well. Wooden decks, for example, may require more ongoing maintenance, while some patio materials, like concrete, have lower maintenance requirements.

Sun Exposure

Consider the amount of sun exposure your outdoor space receives throughout the year. Decks can be a better choice in areas with heavy rainfall, as they provide a raised platform that prevents water from pooling and promotes drainage. They are also ideal for homes in regions with ample sunlight, as you can install shading options like pergolas or umbrellas to provide relief from the sun.

Patios, on the other hand, are well-suited for areas with milder climates and less rainfall. If your backyard gets plenty of shade naturally, a patio may be an excellent choice. However, you can still install various cover options to create a comfortable outdoor living space.

Outdoor Covers and Shades

While some outdoor spaces have enough shade and cover from the orientation of the home, mature trees, or umbrellas, many homeowners look to a permanent structure to provide some cover. There are many options to consider.


Pergolas are versatile and visually appealing structures that provide partial shade and a sense of enclosure to your outdoor space. They consist of a framework of vertical posts and horizontal beams, often with lattice or cross-beams on top. Pergolas can be adorned with climbing plants, such as vines or wisteria, to enhance their beauty and shade, and also pair well with the aesthetic of many of the architectural styles that are common in Southern California.

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are a flexible and convenient solution for controlling the amount of sun and shade in your outdoor living area. These motorized or manual shades can extend or retract as needed, providing instant shade when the sun is intense and allowing for open-air enjoyment when the weather is pleasant.

Shade Sails

Shade sails are modern and stylish options for creating shade in your outdoor space. These triangular or square fabric canopies are suspended between support posts, offering a unique and contemporary look. They come in various colors and sizes, allowing you to customize the appearance of your outdoor living area.


If your outdoor living space is somewhat separate from the house, the covers mentioned above may not work for you. Gazebos are freestanding structures with a roof and open sides, providing complete protection from the elements. They are excellent for creating a sheltered outdoor space that can be used for dining, relaxation, or entertaining. Gazebos are available in various styles, from traditional to modern, to suit your aesthetic preferences.

Ready to learn more or get started on your home remodel? Contact us any time.

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