We all want to maximize our time outside, especially in the summer. But you probably don’t want to spend your days in the backyard looking over the fence at the beautiful outdoor oasis your neighbor has created! If you want a more desirable outdoor space of your own, here are some ideas to contemplate while lounging in the sunshine this weekend.
Start with a Plan
As with all home improvements, you’ll want a plan for your outdoor space before you begin. How much space do you have? What’s your budget for the project? How much will be allocated to each element you want to include, like the deck, patio, plants and shrubs, outdoor kitchen appliances, furniture and fireplace? Also give consideration to timing and available labor. Will you hire it done or DIY it during evenings, weekends and vacations? Will you build it in stages or get it done in one year? These are all important considerations that will help set expectations prior to digging in.
Deck and Patio
A deck or patio will be the foundation for your space. Its size will be influenced by the area availble, your budget and your lifestyle. If you like to entertain outside, you may want room for an outdoor kitchen and dining area. Avid readers may opt for a screened-in porch or lounging space with comfortable seating and an indoor/outdoor fireplace like the Twilight. For active families that like to play backyard games, plan for a space near the deck or patio for a bocce court, horseshoe pit or volleyball net.
Backyard fire features, like gas or wood-burning fireplaces, are among the most-desired outdoor living upgrades today. Whether you want a complete fireplace with hearth, mantel and chimney, or a simple fire ring, your fire feature will be the central gathering area of your outdoor space. The options are nearly endless – and so are the hours of enjoyment you will get in return. Check them out here.
Outdoor kitchens are becoming hugely popular to create extending living spaces in the great outdoors. The area of the country where you live may dictate if an outdoor kitchen is practical for your lifestyle. They usually include a grill that’s either built-in or stand alone, an outdoor refrigerator and perhaps a wet bar or sink with storage.
Whether basking in the sun or visiting with neighbors, you need a relaxing gathering area – and it can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. Depending on your space and funds, you can choose to furnish it with an outdoor dining table, comfortable chairs and an umbrella. Or fill the area with cozy living-room type seating, coffee and end tables, lighting and accessories like pillows to make guests really feel at home. Whatever your space consists of, potted plants and flowers will add life and depth. If you truly want to make the summer last longer, this is a great spot for a fire feature, like an outdoor fireplace for chilly fall or spring evenings.
You’ll enjoy your outdoor space much more surrounded by lush landscapes. Get a weed-free, lush lawn by applying weed control and fertilizers at the suggested times throughout the spring, summer and fall. Patch bare spots by loosening the soil with a rake, applying grass seed, lightly working it into the soil and watering regularly. If your yard is thinner than you’d like, aerating and over-seeding later in the year may help thicken it up.
Take a good look at your landscaping. Could your trees use mounded mulch around them to eliminate the weeds you dislike trimming? A new tree or set of shrubs could bring more depth and welcoming color to your yard. A perennial flower bed, creatively placed rockscapes and a water feature are attractive additions.
Just remember, the more elaborate your space, the less you’re likely to have it to yourself. Your neighbors, family and friends will likely designate your home as the go-to gathering spot. They can contribute the s’mores!
Make the most of your upgraded space and plan the ultimate staycation.