Dreaming of a new outdoor space for summer? Here’s what you need to consider

Sponsored by EcoRegions Landscape

Ready to take your backyard beyond the basics? If you’ve been bookmarking pictures of pretty pools and outdoor kitchens on social media or tearing pages out of your favorite home and garden magazines, this could be the perfect time to take the plunge into a new outdoor living space.

But before you break out the SPF, there are important details to keep in mind to ensure that your space will be as stunning as the ones in your dreams, according to Chris Sanderson of EcoRegions Landscape Architecture and Outdoor Construction. Sanderson launched his firm in 2012 and has become known for creating beautiful backyard retreats of all kinds. Armed with a landscape architecture degree from LSU, Sanderson is also a licensed residential contractor, so he knows exactly what it takes to take an outdoor project from the first drawing to the fabulous finished product.

Depending on which element of an outdoor space you’re focused on, Sanderson says there are unique factors to consider:

Make a splash with the pool

 “The biggest thing I tell people is to consider the style of their house when they’re envisioning the style of the pool,” Sanderson says. “Even though you think you want something that’s super modern, if your house is very traditional, it’s better to have a blend of those two instead of going with something that doesn’t match the character of your home.”

Sanderson also says it’s a good idea to think of how you will use the pool. “If you’re pale like me and don’t tan, you probably don’t want to devote half of the space to tanning ledges, for example,” he says.

When it comes to water features, Sanderson says there are many options ranging from the very loud to the subtle and quiet. Likewise with plaster colors, there is a range of hues available, but though they are trendy, dark colors don’t work well in our climate because “they get unbearably hot,” he says.

Let your outdoor kitchen sizzle

Budget is the most important consideration when it comes to outdoor kitchens, Sanderson says. “Many times, people don’t realize how much things cost, so we try to figure out everything that they want to include, and then I give them a budget expectation,” he says. With those figures in mind, it’s time to decide which amenities are must-haves and which may not be essential to the project. “Now that you know how much it would cost, do you really need three grills, four burners, a dishwasher and two sinks? Maybe not.”

Space is also a critical detail when Sanderson designs an outdoor kitchen, especially when there’s also a pool. “It’s important to make sure your space isn’t just crammed full of stuff,” he says. “You want everything to flow and feel balanced.”

Get cozy with a firepit seating area

“Make sure your firepit and the surrounding seating area integrate with your other outdoor spaces,” Sanderson says. “You have to keep in mind your sight lines—what will you be looking at when you’re sitting out there? Do you want to be looking at the pool? If you don’t pay attention to that, then you might find yourself looking at a blank wall.”

Don’t forget landscaping 

“As a landscape architect, I always like to make sure that we have adequate space for landscaping everywhere, no matter what other outdoor elements we are working on,” Sanderson says. “It really makes the space and in my opinion dictates how successful your project will be. People often want no maintenance, but the aesthetics of the project are really not going to be the same unless we prioritize putting landscaping where it’s appropriate.”

Sanderson says he loves coming up with solutions to homeowners’ backyard dilemmas. “It’s great to be able to take all the things they want and then work with their budget to create a beautiful project that they will love,” he says.

Eco-Regions is located at 4667 Bluebell Dr. in Baton Rouge. See photos of Sanderson’s outdoor designs at eco-regions.com and on Facebook and Instagram. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 225.328.8298.