Maximizing the enjoyment of the outdoors is crucial, especially in a city like Pittsburgh where we experience the pros and cons of all four-seasons. If your outdoor space is lacking now is the time to consider investing in an upgrade. 

Maybe all your space needs is an improved personality or maybe it needs a major cosmetic and physical overhaul. Either way you need to figure out what those changes need to be and how best to make them. Doing it yourself is not easy. This is where selecting expert design and consulting services can make all the difference. 

Betsy Wentz Interior Design, based in Sewickley, offers full design services. In an initial consultation they will get to know you, your home, and your needs. From there they will work with you to budget, plan, and design your ideal space. 

Image via: Betsy Wentz Interior Design | Photography by Caulin Grant

We sought Betsy Wentz Interior Design’s advice on the best way to make the most of your space. Here’s her advice on how to create your very own outdoor oasis: 

Start with a Comprehensive Plan 

The best thing you can do to create an outdoor oasis is make a comprehensive plan that you can implement in stages. The benefit of an overall plan is the design will flow AND you don’t have to do it all at once. You can execute the plan in logical and affordable stages. 

For example, if you eventually want an outdoor firepit, it is more cost effective to run a gas line when the ground is already dug up.

I always recommend you do it right once, even if it takes time, over doing it wrong multiple times. 

Image via: Betsy Wentz Interior Design | Photography by Carmel Brantley

Consider Form & Function 

Like any other “room” in your house, your outdoor space will have a purpose and require certain elements in order to adequately function the way you need them to. 

An outdoor space should be planned like any room inside your house. First and foremost, you need to determine how you want to use your outdoor room. Will it be for dining, entertaining, relaxing? This plan will establish important details, such as, furniture layout, traffic flow, lighting, electrical needs, and the budget. 

For example, if your dream space is a hangout for watching Steelers’ games, then you will prioritize TV placement, seating, overhead protection and possibly an outdoor refrigerator. 

Image via: Betsy Wentz Interior Design | Photography by Caulin Grant

Work with the Space You Have

You need to balance the physical space (your yard) with what you want and your budget. If you have a large outdoor space, you will want to consider breaking it into smaller segments. You can delineate spaces by having separate seating areas indoor seating/dining areas separated by small spaces and walkways. You should also consider using plants and vegetation to visually and physically separate the spaces

If your dream space includes a swimming pool, but your backyard is a downward sloping hill or has large trees – you need to plan for where the pool will fit, how big it can be and have it still function.

Image via Betsy Wentz Interior Designs | Photography by Carmel Brantley

Impart Your Personality

I am never a huge fan of considering resale value only. I believe that it’s important to let your home reflect who you are and your personality. You should surround yourself with things that make you happy and function for your lifestyle. You should absolutely tailor the space to fit your own needs. As long as a project is done well, there will always be a buyer. 

Image via Betsy Wentz Interior Designs | Photography by Caulin Grant

Avoid Common Mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to purchase products that are not suitable for the weather conditions – especially in Pittsburgh! Your flooring, roofing, lighting, and furniture need to be able to stand up to the elements. 

Some natural stones make beautiful flooring, but can crack with the freeze/thaw that happens here. I also highly recommend creating at least one space that has cover. We are often subject to rain on an otherwise beautiful evening, so it’s important to have somewhere that you can gather even when the weather is not ideal.

Follow this advice from Betsy Wentz Interior Design and you’ll successfully bring the great outdoors a little closer to home.  





This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Mo Macel

Mo is a pun-loving Pittsburgher who likes to take photos and write. When not focusing on her kiddos, you'll find her pursuing happiness and working on living the American Dream via one craft beer at a time. She blogs at and

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