Universal Design for your Outdoors

  • Posted by Array Design Studio
  • On May 21, 2018

When creating an outdoor space, with Universal Design in mind, there’s lots to consider. Let’s start with the general design elements. You want your over all look to feel natural of course, you’re outdoors. Take mother nature’s lead on this, that means using a lot of curved lines and natural stones.

Getting started

Have a solid plan before putting a shovel in the ground but know that most outdoor scapes are done in stages, even if you have just built your home. Let each stage acclimate with its new surroundings. Since you’ll be doing your landscape in stages, plan for gas fire pits, lighting, yard outlets (for Xmas lights or up lighting for trees, etc) and water supply.

Walkways & paths

Keep the natural curves in mind, especially when it comes to poured concrete patios. Don’t be afraid to incorporate natural pavers that create a pattern. Differentiate levels of surface space by going from poured concrete to flat stone pavers or manmade pavers with step downs and step ups to create depth and interest. Keep your pathways functional, so much so that if you love grilling and live where there is snow and ice, heat your pathway, you can even set it on a timer!


Flower beds mixed with annuals and perennials are a great way to give new life in your yard all season. Trees are not always your friend, pay close attention to that seemingly small tree you planted. Like that puppy that you had as a kid that turned out to be a huge Husky, trees grow up too and when they do, they have big trunks and long roots. Those trunks and roots will push up your patio or clog your drains if you don’t install them correctly or a safe distance from the manmade elements.

Patio Space

Play around with the furniture to create your outdoor/indoor living. Same with the lighting, have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to hang a chandelier under your outdoor porch. Incorporate some of the homey attributes you have on the inside, to the outside. Think about features you can add like window panels, shades that provide softening of the edges, privacy added to an arbor or open porch. Have covered areas that provide shade and comfort in rain and hot sun.

Add elements like furniture, pillows and artwork like statuary and hanging mobiles, or birdhouses in the trees. Invite wild life that doesn’t become a pest like birds, butterflies, maybe a few furry friends. Be one with nature, but keep the pests away so you can enjoy your out door living to the max. Don’t forget the music and even the TV.


Keep things simple. Treat your yard like an extension of your home.  Eating, relaxing, entertaining, therapy for the soul = gardening and surrounding yourself with color and fresh new life.


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