Create an Outdoor Living Space

April 17, 2014 by  

out1With the return of warm weather, it’s time to get outside! After a long, cold winter, spending the majority of your time indoors can feel stifling. If you’re tired of being stuck inside, creating a comfortable and inviting outdoor living space is the perfect solution. Here are some tips to help you turn your backyard into a functional and inviting extension of your home.

1. Your Outdoor Kitchen – From tiny, portable hibachi grills to elaborate gas barbecues that are nicer than your kitchen range, cooking outside is always more fun than holing up in a hot kitchen on a beautiful day. A set of heavy-duty barbecue tools will make both cooking and clean-up easier. Hardcore grilling enthusiasts even install prep areas, complete with storage, sinks, and counter space. Plastic dishes and cups are a safer option than using your normal place settings, because shattered glass is hard to find in grass and gravel. Be sure to get a giant cooler for drinks and condiments, and you’re all set.

2. Weatherproof Furniture – There are endless options available for outdoor furniture. You can keep it old school with folding lawn chairs or a picnic table, or you can invest in beautiful dining and living room sets that are pretty much weatherproof versions of your dining room table and chairs, sofa, lounge chairs, and coffee table. If you’re setting up an outdoor living room, you can even buy decorative pillows and gorgeous area rugs made of all-weather fabric.

3. Hang a Hammock – Nothing is more relaxing that reading a book or napping while you sway in the breeze. If you don’t have trees or a house that is designed in such a way that you can hang a hammock from the structure, there are lots of freestanding options available.

4. Light a Fire – Buy or build a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. Not only is it pretty, it’s fun and functional. It offers a source of lighting, heat on chilly nights, and the joys of roasting marshmallows or hot dogs on a stick.

5. Keep Cool – If you have a patio, installing a misting system will create a space that is cool and inviting, even on the hottest days.

6. Bug Off – Nothing ruins your time outside faster than a swarm of mosquitoes. Citronella torches or candles will keep them at bay. This is particularly important if you live in an area where Lyme disease is an issue.

7. Light the Night – If you want to enjoy your backyard after dark, make sure you have adequate lighting. A few inexpensive options are strands of twinkle lights, candles, and battery-operated lamps. Motion sensing lights are more expensive, but they offer the added benefit of increased home security.

8. Fun and Games – Old fashioned lawn-games are back! Croquet, badminton, and the new, safer lawn darts are fun for everyone. And don’t forget about water play! You’re never too old for a run through a sprinkler or a water balloon war. If your yard is large enough, installing a volleyball net or a basketball hoop is a great way to encourage everyone to get up and moving.

9. Shade – The summer sun can be intense. Don’t forget to provide a source of shade if you’re planning to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Adjustable umbrellas work well, as do tent-style shade structures if you have enough room to accommodate one. If you have children, it’s a good idea to provide shade over any play structures. Even one significant sunburn during childhood increases the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood.

10. Make It Pretty – Aesthetics matter. You’re much more likely to want to spend time in a space that looks good. Gardening and landscaping is a great way to add instant beauty to any backyard, but there are lots of other options to consider. A set of beautiful wind chimes, a lawn sculpture you love, and weatherproof centerpieces for your outdoor tables all make your backyard more inviting. If you’re a bird lover, get a bird bath, feeders, and birdhouses to invite your feathered friends to hang around. Home decorating shouldn’t be confined to the inside of your home.

By bringing indoor comforts into the great outdoors, you’ll create a space that’s great for both relaxing and entertaining. Now get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!

photo credit: Pinterest

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