Most homeowners are rather conservative when it comes to their outdoor spaces. After all, we don’t tend to use the space as much as the interior of a home.

More and more, though, homeowners are coming to appreciate these outdoor areas as extensions of their living space. As a result, designing functional, beautiful outdoor retreats has become a greater priority for many homeowners.

Before you start dreaming of waterfalls and fancy tree houses, however, there are a few factors you should consider when designing your outdoor space.

1. Budget

This is a biggie for most homeowners when it comes to renovating living spaces. The good news is that you can cut some costs by adopting a DIY attitude.

You might want to hire a professional designer to help you with layout, but you could also try one of several programs or mobile apps that gives you the power to design your own outdoor spaces. While you’ll also have to pay for flora, pavers, patio furniture, and so on, you can save some dough by waiting for sales and installing everything on your own.

So start by compiling a workable budget for your outdoor projects and then take the time to comparison shop and find the right tools and materials for your DIY design.

2. Timeline

If you live in southern California or other temperate climes, you can probably work on your outdoor spaces year-round. If not, you’ll have to create a timeline for your project that takes seasonal weather patterns into account.

3. Landscaping

Whether you want the traditional, grassy expanse in your yard, you’re interested in native plants, or you’ve decided to try your hand at edible landscaping, the flora in your outdoor spaces will play a major role in your design.

Take the time to research different planting options, including viability in your region, potential pests, cost, and maintenance.

4. Structures

You don’t necessarily have to plop a gazebo in the middle of your yard, but you might want to consider adding function and dimension with structures like sheds, awnings, pergolas, and so on.

5. Use Value

The monetary value of sprucing up your outdoor space is debatable, although curb appeal definitely doesn’t hurt when you decide to sell down the line. In truth, you’re unlikely to get the same return on investment as you would from renovating the kitchen or updating bathrooms in your home.

That said, creating a beautiful and functional backyard will certainly make your property more attractive, and setting up another space that family and friends can enjoy will provide you with great use value while you continue to live in your home.