Homeowners everywhere understand the importance of their outdoor living space. The addition of a patio or deck helps to utilize the elements of nature, and this makes the creation of a backyard paradise possible for nearly any home.
While suburban homes typically have much more outdoor space to work with, the relatively small outdoor area of urban homes can also be transformed into an oasis of natural beauty.
Urban homes are located much closer to the city center than those found in suburban areas, and urbanites usually value convenience over the more expansive properties of the suburbs. In spite of their need of close proximity to their work and other conveniences, urban residents also appreciate the beauty of natural surroundings.
The good news is that their smaller backyard space can also be transformed into a private paradise when innovative landscaping techniques are used.
Creating a Plan
The most important first step in any home improvement project is in creating a plan that will utilize the available space efficiently. It is probably in the best interest of the homeowner to consult a landscaping professional to assist with this essential step.
The backyard of most urban homes is limited, so multilevel plans may be the best option. Stone or landscape timbers can be used to make built-in seating, planters, terraces and walkways.
Flowers, shrubs and even small trees should be used as much as possible since no natural paradise would be complete without them.
Decks and Patio Areas are Key
Everyone loves the idea of having a beautiful and comfortable living space attached to the back of their home. A convenient access can be through the kitchen, dining room or living room patio door, or there may also be an access from the master bedroom.
While the available space may be limited, a multilevel deck or patio can make the best use of the area. Many urban homes have a second story to reduce the overall footprint in order to include the maximum square footage of a home built on a smaller lot.
A multilevel deck helps to create an expansive outdoor living space in an otherwise limited area.
Outdoor Kitchens are Popular
Many decks and patios are easily accessed from the kitchen or dining room of the average home, but an outdoor kitchen is even more convenient.
Although decks and patios have typically included a grill, a complete outdoor kitchen that includes a refrigerator, prep sink and additional counters offer all the convenience any grill master could hope for.
The homeowner’s needs and available space are the primary considerations when planning the size and style of an outdoor kitchen. A modern and complete kitchen can fit into a relatively small area when imagination and careful planning are employed.
Creating Comfortable Areas for Entertaining or Relaxing
Even though the urban oasis is a great area for cooking, dining and entertaining, the homeowner will likely appreciate it more for their personal relaxation.
Comfortable lounge furniture offers the perfect place to enjoy the sun, read a book or just snooze to the accompaniment of some great music.
Climate Consideration is Important
Many urban homes are located in mild climates that offer several months of sunny weather. The outdoor living area should be built to offer the homeowner the best use of the space considering the average outdoor weather conditions.
Certain areas can be hot and dry, while others tend to be cooler with frequent rainfall. In either case, some type of sunshade or overhanging roof makes the space usable for a greater percentage of time.
Climate is also an important factor when choosing the plants to include in creating an outdoor paradise.
While there are many beautiful flowers and shrubs from which to choose, a great deal of cost and effort can be expended by choosing plants that will not do well in that particular zone.
Unless the homeowner is knowledgeable about horticulture, a professional landscape planner should be consulted before purchasing and installing any plants.
Even if the climate seems appropriate for certain plants, the use of stone or masonry planters may cause them to dry out more than if they were located in a partially shady lawn.
The availability of moisture is essential for most flowers and shrubs, such as elephant ears and hosta plants, so the homeowner should make ensure that water is close at hand to make the care and maintenance of the garden convenient.
Urban homeowners typically lead busy lives, so they may find daily maintenance of their plantings difficult. This should be taken into consideration when choosing plants to include in their outdoor living space, and the focus should be on choices that are low maintenance.
Most people who have limited outdoor space do not believe they have an area large enough to grow edibles. Actually, there are multiple ways to include some fruits and vegetables in their plantings. It is quite possible to grow some produce in planters located on or near the deck or patio.
Strawberries and tomatoes can be grown from bags that hang anywhere there is exposure to at least six hours of sun each day. Planters can also be attached to a wall to easily grow some salad greens. This is convenient for use by the chef while preparing a meal in the outdoor kitchen.
Planters and pots can also be used to grow a variety of vegetables, but any container large enough to use for gardening should be set on a movable caddy. This makes it easy to expose the plants to the proper amount of sunlight, but the containers can also be moved to the side when additional space is needed for entertaining.
Small containers can be used to plant a few herbs; also very handy for the cook in either the indoor or outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Living Space is Valuable
Every homeowner knows that increasing the livable space inside their home will add equity, and outdoor space can also increase the value of their property.
Not only does the area make the home more useful and enjoyable to the owner, but it also improves the salability of the home should they need to put it on the market.
Adding to or creating their outdoor living area can often be accomplished by the homeowner, but taking advantage of the services of a landscape professional will likely yield the best result.
While the purchase of their urban home was probably influenced by convenience, the owner wants to enjoy it to the utmost during the years he lives there.
At some point he may decide to move further away from the city center, and prospective buyers of his current home will be attracted to the urban oasis in the backyard.