Is your backyard or patio going unused? Take advantage of this valuable area and design a relaxing space with these six tips for creating a usable outdoor living area.
Take a realistic look at the space available to you and ask yourself how your family can best use that area. Do you enjoy cooking outdoors? What type of entertaining do you want to do? Make a list of must-haves for your outdoor living area before getting to work.
A table and chairs or a bar and matching bar stools offer space to gather with friends and family for meals and drinks. Use weather-resistant cushions for added comfort. If space is at a premium, use wide-rimmed planters or sturdy storage chests and coffee tables that can double as extra seating in a pinch.
Give your outdoor space some evening ambiance by adding the right amount of light. Turn off harsh spotlights for gatherings; rely instead on pathway lights, hanging lanterns, fire pits or candles. Use strategically placed lights to call attention to water features or decorative plants, and add extra lighting, such as patio umbrella lights, to dining areas.
Most areas of your outdoor living space will require shade during the day, whether it’s provided by a covered-porch, an awning or an umbrella. Try using tall potted plants to block some sun, or add an arched trellis covered with vines.
If you want to use your outdoor living space most of the year, plan for some climate control. In hot summer months, keep the space cooler with fans and water features. In cooler weather, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can really heat things up. Large space heaters are another option and are especially useful in outdoor dining areas.
Add interest with colourful outdoor rugs or patterned throw pillows. Create container gardens showcasing ornamental grasses or flowers. Hang wall art or add sculptures to the space, or use glass bowls or jars to showcase stones or seashells. Bring decorative candle-holders, trays and vases into the space as well.
With some careful planning, you’ll have a beautiful space in which to relax and entertain guests while enjoying the outdoors.