Friday Finds: Creating an Outdoor Living Space

Longing to add more usable living space to your current home? Wishing you had more room to entertain? Dreaming of an excuse to spend more time outside, enjoying the summertime weather? You don’t need to move to a new home or invest tons of money into your current home to make all of these things possible. Just take a look out your window and start seeing your backyard as an extension of your home…

DIYLife.com has 5 tips for transforming your backyard from a blank canvas into a beautiful outdoor living space.

1) Plan the space near your back door. You will be more likely to use it if you don’t have to traipse through the yard to get to it. It will also make it easier to carry food and drink outside to your guests.

2) Be realistic about how you are going to use the space. Does a zen water garden sound lovely in theory, but you have pets and small children who will turn it into a decidedly un-zen like experience? Well, you may need to rethink how your life fits into the space.

Do you enjoy cooking? Would you like to have your outdoor living space be an extension of your indoor kitchen? Do you enjoy having a couple of friends over and relaxing in front of a fire with a bottle of wine? Do you have small children who want you to watch them play on their playscape while you “relax.” Yes, those are ironic quotation marks, I have children.

Take all of these things into consideration when you are planning the arrangement of your outdoor living room.

3) Add large pieces of furniture… a table, some chairs, a couch. A small outdoor fireplace or fire pit can be a great focal point and will help to keep the bugs away when you are relaxing in your outdoor living space at night. Don’t forget some pint sized furniture for the children.

4) Accessories make a difference. Layer the accessories just like you would inside of your home. Container gardens add color and interest. Try planting flowers and ornamental grasses in various containers. Shrubbery planted in containers can make a great privacy screen to shield you from the neighbors. Solar powered lights are inexpensive and require no professional installation. Bold colorful pillows will add interest. Candles for a quiet relaxing ambiance. Walk around your home and look at things you already own and imagine using them in new ways.

5) Longing for some shade, you don’t need to build an expensive pergola. A simple sun umbrella will provide all the shade that you or your guests need.

Maybe all you need to get your outdoor space up to par is just a fresh coat of stain on the deck. If this is the case, be sure to check out this post about getting your deck ready for summer.

For more outdoor living space inspiration, check out 32 Outdoor Room Design Ideas from House Beautiful.

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