Design elements to make an outdoor space successful are those same types of elements that a homeowner would place into a home addition. Instead of designing walls with windows we should design with pavers, water and flowers to function in the same manner.

"Design elements contribute to a very important part of the overall design scheme," says R. Patrick Worzer of Land Design Services, Inc. "Elements such as walls, pavement, water, and landscape can contribute to the image of the project and it's sense of place. Success is achieved by incorporating the elements in a sensible fashion which will bring aesthetic value to the space and offer continued sustainability and value to the outdoor environment."

The primary element of creating a successful outdoor space is size and shape. This will ensure room to meet your needs and provide spaces for family and friends to gather while creating places for intimate conversation and quiet reflection. The next element to consider is connectivity to your home so that you can walk from your kitchen onto your patio to your grill with ease. After this, is creating design elements that attribute to privacy. All these elements should be combined in context to the architecture of your home or themed to meet your needs.

Some other elements are:

  • • Outdoor dining set
  • • Cooking and service area
  • • Fire pit for enjoyment in cooler weather
  • • Landscape planting to enhance views beyond your property or screen nosy neighbors.
  • • Water features
  • • Outdoor art
  • • Shade structures such as trellis
  • • Herb gardens
  • • Seat walls
  • • Wall and/or landscape plantings to define your patio area and separate incompatible uses. For example homeowners should consider elements that separate dining areas from children's play areas.

One final tip from Doug DeLong of Delong Landscape Architecture. He says the design should enhance the intended use of the space. "In general, all spaces should have a foreground, middle ground, and background."