Dreaming up your ideal outdoor oasis? An outdoor living space can make your home feel larger, and provide a fun al fresco surrounding for the temperate months. If you’re considering adding one to your home, consider the following.

Function. Before building your outdoor space, ask yourself how you intend to use it. Will it be for entertaining friends? For intimate family dinners? To curl up with a book? Figuring out the function of the space will help you with your design.

Start small. Before building a full-on deck, clear the space you’d like to use, set up a simple pop-up for shade, and move in some outdoor furniture to try the spot on for size before committing.

Build out. Once you’ve nailed down the area you like, consider having slate, stained concrete, wood or composite flooring put in to create a more established look. Not in the budget? Build a stone border around the area to make it look established, and fill in the floor later.

Privacy, please. When planning an outdoor oasis, consider whether or not you want to be exposed. Create a privacy border with potted or planted shrubs or a wall of lattice with a flowering vine.

Add fire. Nothing completes an outdoor hang spot like a fire pit. Create a simple stone pit or get fancy with a full-blown outdoor fireplace.