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8 Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space

by Louise W. Rice

Summer is almost here. Those of us who are blessed with an outdoor living space will surely enjoy all its benefits. Before we step outside and lay back on our patio furniture, we should find a way to enhance our backyard and make it summer-ready.

Depending on the square footage, the layout, and your budget, there are a few projects that can significantly improve the appearance and comfort of your backyard. Some, such as lawn maintenance, are basic, while others, such as fire pit installation, are optional. Here, we’ll list some suggestions and ideas you could use for your outdoor living space transformation.

Take Good Care of Your Lawn

During the winter and even the spring months, lawns can get neglected. So, if your lawn is in bad shape, your first course of action would be to determine why.

Maybe the grass you’ve planted is not suitable for the region you live in. Maybe there’s a problem with the soil. You can find this information easily by googling it. Basically, the best grass types for cooler areas are bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue, while for warmer areas, you’ll want bahia, bermuda, and centipede.

Even if your lawn isn’t “dying,” take some time to get rid of weeds, remove dead grass, and use a lawn booster. Consistent watering is imperative. Research how much water and how often your type of grass needs, and water accordingly. Continue maintaining and mowing the lawn regularly.

Add More Plants

Sure, a well-maintained lawn is nice, but plants can additionally enhance the space and make it more inviting. When choosing plants, think about the ambiance you want to produce. Will it be a tropical retreat, a butterfly zone, or a formal entertaining spot? Croton plants, pentas, lantana plants, and caladiums make excellent patio plants.

Also, think about container gardens, vertical gardens, privacy shields, and pots. Add texture and interest to the yard by combining bushes, flowers, and trees. Plant them in groups. Use climber plants, trees, and hedges to create privacy.

Create Shade

If you are planning on spending a lot of time outside, you’re gonna need some protection from the elements. Depending on what style you are trying to achieve, you’ve got many options for creating shade:

  • Large patio umbrellas are very simple and affordable, and they go great next to the pool.
  • Awnings provide shade while giving the space a retro 1950s vibe.
  • You can grow a tree canopy with some fast-growing trees or grapevines. This structure will blend in with the nature of the garden perfectly.
  • If you have some space limitations, you can hang a triangle sunshade sail.
  • For a more permanent solution, choose a pergola. There are many advantages of having a pergola in your backyard, including blocking the hot sun while providing breathability. It is the ideal way to add style to the outdoor living space, and it provides various decor options.

Spruce up the Paving

Take a good look at your paving. Are there any cracks, crooked bricks, or pavers sunk into the ground? If that is the case, you might want to remove the bad pavers and replace them with new ones. Maybe you’ll want to replace the paving and pathways altogether for a completely new look. Keep in mind that these structures should connect different architectural elements and be functional. You can use stepping circles, pavers of different shades, old bricks, etc.

Build an Outdoor Living Space

When we say “outdoor living space,” we think of it as an extension of the interior, as a place we can live. So, it is only natural to try to create different living areas in the backyard and tailor them to suit our needs. This will allow you to create different landscape designs and set different moods with colors and decorative elements.

By using different structural components, floors, plants, and shades, you can separate the zones. Your “floors” can be grass, mulch, patios, clover, etc. The “walls” can be fences, hedges, and screens, and we’ve already mentioned the “ceilings” in the form of shades.

As for the types of outdoor “rooms,” some of the most common are pool areas, meditation areas, entertaining areas, play areas, cooking areas, etc.

Choose the Right Furniture

Your outdoor rooms will need furniture, depending on their function. When selecting patio furniture, think about the style you want to achieve. Do you want it to be beachy chic or maybe a stylish alfresco dining destination?

Think about the activities you’d like to do in the space and make a list of the furniture you need. For example, if the primary goal is to have small family dinners or casual evening cocktails, you won’t need a large dining table.

Choose fabrics that are weather-resistant and easy to maintain. Consider pieces with built-in storage for throw pillows, blankets, etc. Look for colors and designs that fit into the landscape. Create comfort and liveability by adding rugs, cushions, and similar pieces.

Light It Up

Nothing beats a pleasant evening in the backyard, regardless of whether you are spending it alone, enjoying the silence, or with family and friends dining and listening to music. But you can’t do that in the dark, can you?

A clever lighting strategy can transform the backyard and help it achieve its full potential. It can spotlight focal points and be one more tool for creating separate zones. Discreet up-lights can enhance trees, sculptures, and plants. Recessed lighting is ideal for defining a dinner zone, for example.

Your primary focus should be on the patio, especially if you’re planning on entertaining. Create an intimate feel by draping string lights over the dining area or hanging a stylish chandelier above the table. For a more modern feel, light up the pergola by building lighting into its structure.

Add a Fire/Water Feature

You already have earth and air; you’re just missing the other two elements — fire and water. By including them, you can create a cohesive structure that celebrates nature. Sure, if you have a pool, that is great, but hearing the sound of running water is something else entirely. A fountain would add a mesmerizing feel to your oasis. A fire pit, on the other hand, is a perfect gathering spot. When choosing both fire and water features, think about the overall style of the yard — if it is sleek and modern, avoid ornate pieces.

Final Word

Finally, when all of the major projects are done, what adds ‘living’ to the outdoor living space is the décor. Create a truly inviting space by adding details that reflect your style. Hang some artwork, use scented candles, put some flowers in your favorite vase, etc. Allow yourself to be playful with the details. Enjoy every minute of decorating just as you’ll enjoy every minute you spend in your newly enhanced outdoor living space.

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