Don’t make these 5 outdoor living mistakes!

Posted April 19, 2018 in Landscape Design

A beautiful and functional outdoor living space right in your own backyard is what dreams are made of and what most homeowners strive to provide for themselves and their family.  However, outdoor living dreams can turn into nightmares if not planned carefully and correctly.  Here at MasterPLAN Outdoor Living, we are passionate about educating our clients and creating aesthetic and practical backyard transformations to enhance their lives.  While most of the time, we educate our clients on all features/materials/wants/needs, it is also beneficial to explain why certain ideas and concepts are poor in planning and why they won’t aid in maximum satisfaction of the space.  Let’s explore a few common outdoor living blunders and why they are considered to be outdoor mistakes.

Not having a master plan

I know, I know…we say this all the time, BUT we wouldn’t reiterate if it weren’t so very important.  A beautifully designed outdoor living space almost always starts with a well-thought-out master plan.  A comprehensive strategy will take all client needs, future desires, environmental impacts, seasonal changes, plant growth patterns and budget into account to make sure that the most efficient use of space and most logical management of investment is considered.  Without an outdoor living master plan, the space runs the risk of not being planned properly.  Without foresight planning, an outdoor living space runs the risk of looking and feeling disconnected, not flowing properly, not correctly accounting for future features and hookups…etc.  If not considering the end game, a homeowner may end up being highly disappointed in the money they spent for the result they receive, instead of being able to enjoy their new space and adding value to the home.

Wanting features too far away from the home

We are not sure where the idea came from that outdoor living spaces should be constructed farther away rather than closer to the home, but this is an idea that we are quick to address.  Perhaps homeowners think that outdoor kitchens should be farther away, because it doesn’t make sense to have the indoor and outdoor kitchen so close together, but it is quite the contrary!  While outdoor kitchens can be installed most anywhere in the backyard, there is logic behind keeping features like outdoor kitchens nearby.  Planning spaces that require water, gas or electric hookups will tend to be less costly if the utility can be tapped from the home itself, making for an easier and more cost-effective installation.

Not planning proper transition

This dovetails off the concept of having features closer to the comforts of the inside of the home.  One major factor in an outdoor space feeling disconnected or hard to navigate stems from the initial transition from the inside of the home to the outdoor living space.  Having to contend with several steps right outside of your kitchen door that lead down to a patio or deck space is a flat-out error in design and should be addressed before you move forward with construction.  Having to traverse steps while carrying food, drinks or children is not safe and is not particularly fun for the older members of the family or the family pets either!  Keeping the transition to as few steps, or no steps at all should always be the goal, as this is a safe solution and is a highly sought-after feature in real estate which adds value to your home! So while all properties and homes are unique, a seamless indoor – to – outdoor transition is vital to blur the lines between in and out, ultimately creating an expanded livable space that is cohesive, safe and convenient.


No one likes to settle, but it seems to happen more often than you would think.  However, regarding an outdoor living project, if you find yourself settling on a less experienced designer, lesser quality materials or scope of project, it is time to take a step back and reevaluate.  Most homeowners will only conduct a backyard transformation once for their property and possibly twice in their lifetime, so it is important to do it right the first time.  Settling on a not-so-experienced designer may leave you with a plan you are not so thrilled about or doesn’t flow the way it should, lesser quality materials may end up costing you more money down the road in repairs or replacements and sacrificing on scope of project may leave you with a space that is too small to function the way you intended or leave you unimpressed and uninspired.  As budget dictates most of what can be done with any construction project, it may make sense to talk to your landscape designer about phasing your project.  Completing your plan in stages will allow you to tackle each piece as a logical investment, being able to select the proper materials and not spreading yourself thin to complete the whole project all at once.  Whether it takes a few months or a few years to obtain the master plan, eventually you will complete the goal and be able to enjoy your dream backyard!

Plant Plugging

Planting shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials around the property seems simple enough (dig a hole, insert desired plant and call it a day), but creating a beautiful and low maintenance landscape plan takes knowhow and experience.  Time and time again we have come across homeowners, who had all good intentions to beautify their property, but end up creating garden chaos.  It is easy to get carried away plugging plants everywhere you see a bald spot in your garden beds, but plants do eventually grow, get bigger and need their own space to flourish and thrive.  A few years down the road, a once tame and beautiful landscape can turn into competing plants and an overwhelming chore.  Having your landscape designer implement a strategic and low maintenance landscape design will guarantee correct positioning of the proper plants, giving each the right amount of space to grow into a mature, controlled, clean and gorgeous landscape.  This landscape design will tie your property together, giving it the desired designer touch!

Your backyard is an extension of your home, a place where laughter is heard, families grow and memories are created; you should treat this space with as much attention as you do your favorite rooms inside of the home!  Creating an aesthetic, functional and sustainable landscape design can be overwhelming, but this is where a knowledgeable, reputable and caring outdoor living company can help.

MastePLAN Outdoor Living aims to partner with our clients to create a strong and trusting relationship through the landscape design process.  We believe that an open and honest communication leads to mutual respect and understanding and creative solutions and honest craftsmanship results in beautiful outdoor living spaces to suit each family’s lifestyle.  Serving the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, MasterPLAN would love to chat about your outdoor aspirations and discuss the options to turn your outdoor dreams into your reality.  Reach out to MasterPLAN when you are ready to uncover the full potential for your property!

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