Although summer is coming to a close, there are still plenty of ways to make use of your outdoor space. From autumn movie nights under the stars to wintertime campfire roasts and springtime cocktail parties, having an established, comfortable and welcoming backyard environment is a great way to extend the use and functionality of your home.
Whether your yard is vast and sprawling in the country or an urban oasis in the middle of a bustling city, you can still make the most of the square footage you have. Today, let’s take a look at a few simple ways you can bring your outdoor living space from ho-hum to jaw-dropping without spending a ton of money or making a major renovation.
Start with the Basics
Before we delve into a few decorating tips to jazz up your backyard, let’s discuss the basics. First, it’s best to start with a clean slate. In the landscaping realm, this means making sure your yard is kept freshly mowed and free of any debris, from tree limbs to leaves.
While you’re working outdoors, don’t forget to pay attention to your shrubbery as well. Sometimes, just giving an unruly hedge a trim can make all the difference between a yard that looks unkempt and one that looks polished and ready to entertain. Also, remove anything unsightly that your guest won’t need to have in view. From garbage bins to children’s bicycles, designate a spot for everything that keeps it out of sight, yet within reach if you need to use it. To make the task more manageable, focus on cleaning up one area of your yard at a time rather than trying to tackle it all at once.
Fix Any Safety Hazards
Next, before you go any further in this process, it’s essential to address any backyard hazards that need repair. For instance, is there one wooden panel on the deck floor that is buckling and looks like it might pop up at any given moment? Install a fresh piece of flooring and secure it tightly with nails. Is there one brick on the sidewalk steps that is hanging by a thread? Everyone might know to walk around it, but you never know when you’ll have a visitor who is unaware.
From loose stones to cracked cement, take a look around your outdoor living space to identify any areas of concern. Then, take steps to have them repaired or replaced immediately.
Think of a Theme
It’s easy to let your imagination go wild when you look at your freshly mowed lawn and picture it as a blank canvas. Yet, it’s helpful to brainstorm a design theme before you start picking out decorative pieces or purchasing any accessories. Why? While a blend of eccentric styles can work in many cases, a uniform look helps to pull disparate pieces together and gives a sense of completion to an outdoor space.
Do you want yours to feel whimsical and bohemian? Or, are you leaning more toward a preppy, nautical vibe? Take the time to think about how the final product will look before you start setting up the first piece of furniture. This will help you stay on track with your investments and ensure that you’re only choosing elements that reflect your personal style.
To take this step even further, you can upgrade elements of your home’s exterior to complement your outdoor design theme. For instance, if you’re creating a tropical environment through pineapple-themed fabrics and relaxed wicker couches, you might consider planting a few orchids or philodendron in outdoor planters as accents.
Along those same lines, if your style is more minimalist and streamlined in nature, you can swap out thick, obstructive deck or patio picket railings for more clean and airy cable railing, such as the kind offered by Decks & Docks Lumber CO. While these kinds of changes might require more of an up-front investment, they instantly add value and curb appeal to your home.
Create Distinct Entertainment Areas
Yes, you want your guests to all spend time together in your outdoor space. Yet, your great-aunt Mary might not want to sip her sweet tea right alongside your nephew’s intense game of cornhole. To that end, it’s helpful to create distinct areas within your backyard space for eating, drinking, conversing, and playing. Especially if you’re limited on room, understand that these areas can be adjacent to one another. They can even be multi-functional and the concept will still work. For instance, your drink area might be the same as your conversing area, and that’s perfectly fine.
While planning these spaces, think about the type of guests you usually have over and what they enjoy doing. You don’t need a space for yard games, for instance, if none of your crew enjoy them. By planning around shared interests, you can help ensure that your backyard remains the star of social gatherings far into the future.
Think Outside the Lighting Box
Sure, a few strategically placed candles on the table look romantic and cast a pretty glow. Yet, what about hanging a set of string lights above the table for an unexpected, yet festive, look that encourages guests to stay and mingle long after the sun has gone down?
You can also add LED lighting on the ground to accentuate special features that you want visitors to take notice of. For instance, you can install them along a sidewalk border or along stair treads to both add safety and help highlight the yard you’ve worked so hard to keep manicured.
Enjoying Your Outdoor Space All Year Round
Your backyard should be an oasis, and one where you can go to relax, recharge and spend time with those you love. If yours needs a little TLC, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to take it to the next level and most are relatively inexpensive to pursue. Start by cleaning anything up and making sure it’s cut. Then, let your creativity reign as you design the space of your dreams.