How to Start An Outdoor Living Space Project

It’ll be spring before you know it. We promise. You’ve been dreaming of adding an outdoor living space for awhile and you finally decided to do it. In order to get your dream outdoor living space ready to entertain or relax, now is the time to get started.  There are a number of important steps to consider when it comes to inspiration, supplies, vendors and planning to make your outdoor living space a reality.

building materials red brick pavers

Curate your Outdoor Living Space Ideas on a Vision Board

If you haven’t started an Outdoor Living Space Ideas Board on Pinterest or have one, but haven’t updated it in awhile, it’s ok. Get started today. PBM has almost 100 Pinterest boards, including one just for Outdoor Living ideas so take a peek. You can also pull ideas from the following:

Make a Peninsula Building Materials’ Showroom Appointment

Once you have developed some ideas, take a look at what common themes show up throughout your vision board. Then you’ll have an idea of what types of hardscape materials you’ll need to create your dream outdoor living area. 

Depending on the project design, bringing in professional help is highly recommended. We work alongside you and your industry professional whether it’s an architect, landscape architect, designer, builder or contractor. 

Outdoor living space using natural stones like Fond Du Lac.

As your plan is starting to take shape, schedule an appointment at the Peninsula Building Materials Showroom. Our product specialists, Peggy, Jessica and Scooter, are here to answer every question, including:

  • What materials are in stock
  • What materials work well in shade, full sun, etc.
  • What’s popular or trending
  • How to find a product match to your vision/design
  • Complimentary products to consider like wall capping, steps or borders
  • How to maintain or clean the hardscape materials 
  • What products fit your budget
  • Material thickness and shape and whether that fits your space

Hot Tip: Some designers recommend you keep the same cohesive look throughout the house and into the backyard. 

manufactured stone pavers in an outdoor patio

Plan ahead: The Mountain View Showroom is now open for customers to walk in Tuesday-Saturday.  Stop by and take a look at the displays prior to your appointment. 

Know your Budget

It’s helpful to develop a budget prior to visiting the Mountain View Showroom, but it’s not essential.  You may have a dream outdoor living area in mind but supplies could be more/less than you expected.  After you’ve visited the Showroom, you will want to put pencil to paper again and refine the budget and timeline even further.  Based on your budget, you can add or subtract ideas from your outdoor space. 

Understand Your Outdoor Living Project

It’s important you understand what you want to accomplish.  In your outdoor living space, you might want a garden path, plenty of drought tolerant plants, a fountain and/or a pool.  Or you might just want a small patio to put an outdoor table on near your new grill.  The more you know about what you want, the better off you will be when you begin to select materials.  In addition, think about the site where you want to do the work.  Know the answer to these questions as you move forward: 

  • Is it in the sun? Shade?
  • Do you have different elevations?
  • Where are the existing trees in your plans?
  • Any idea what kind of soil is in the area?
  • What is the total square footage of the project area?
  • Do you have thickness requirements?

Hire the Right Professional for the Project

When you’ve defined the physical space to update or scope of the project, it’s time to start considering what professional(s) you will need. Here is a list of potential professionals you will need to hire. This helpful PBM blog breaks down what each of these professionals do:

  • Landscape architect  
  • Landscape designer
  • Build design firm
  • Residential Architect 
  • Masonry contractor
  • Landscape contractor
outdoor landscaping using natural stone

Looking to Hire Professionals

When looking for the professionals who will work on your project, reach out to your family and friends to ask for referrals. In addition to asking for personal recommendations, ask the same group about how they utilize their space, and if they would do anything differently.

To locate a professional Landscape Designer go to the Association of Professional Landscape Designer’s website. Enter your complete address and select a radius to locate a business within 10, 25, or 50 miles.

A quality contractor should readily show you their professional license as well as proof of bonding and insurance. Peninsula Building Materials does not certify the licensing or insurance coverage for any companies. We recommend you visit the California State Licensing Board’s website to find information.  For more information on finding a landscape contractor, check out this page on our website.

Talk to the Professional 

Now you have a conceptual idea of your project space, it’s time to speak with and hire your consultants.  

Before you hire the professional(s), ask them if they have a couple of references you can reach out to. It is a good practice to verify the quality of service and workmanship with past customers.  Also ask the professionals to share photos of their past work.

Hot Tip: Scan the websites of the professional(s) you are considering too.  You might find something you love about a space they’ve developed that you hadn’t considered before. 

Visit the PBM Yards to Further Refine the Materials

In addition to the Showroom, Peninsula Building Materials has four yards in the Bay Area. The four yards are open 6:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday. They are located in and welcome you to come by and walk through the yards to look at the variety of building materials:

Redwood City

Santa Clara


San Martin 

Consider stopping by one of the yards a couple of times to look at the building materials in stock.  As with all natural stone, colors will vary depending on where the material is quarried from. The devil is in the details; products come in different sizes, textures and colors.  Don’t just depend on photos – ask to bring samples home. Ask questions – the staff at each of our yards are friendly, helpful and bilingual. We can help you create a complete list of the supplies you need for your dream outdoor living space.

Finished Project

When your project is finished, make sure you tag PBM with photos of the before and after by using this hashtag #PBM1923.  We love to feature customer projects on social media. Then go relax in your new outdoor living space.

Thank you for reading Design & Build Blog

If you have any questions or a topic you’d be interested in learning more about – leave us a comment below or on our social media. Or reach out to us directly.

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