Finally, the warmer weather is here to stay (fingers crossed)! That means dining alfresco on freshly grilled delights. Instead of hiding indoors, time will be spent trading sips and stories with family and friends, letting the sun kiss your cheeks and diving into a good book with bird-songs as the soundtrack. This is a time when we delight in the freedom of taking life at home (which has been cocooned for far too long) and letting it breathe some fresh air … at least for a little while.
So, let’s make the most of our time outside, by elevating the humble backyard, patio or balcony and turning it into something more.
Define the Space
Whether it’s a small condo balcony or a sprawling deck in the suburbs, your space needs definition. Begin by taking your household’s lifestyle into consideration. Do you do a lot of entertaining? Is it important that your kids’ have a designated area in the outdoor space? Will you primarily use your outdoor room during the day, in the evening, or both?
If you want to include an outdoor kitchen in your design, you’ll need to decide if you want to purchase an island kit, build the kitchen yourself, or hire a contractor. This article, will help you learn more about each options.
Once you have figured out how you want to use the space, it’s time to define it. Use furniture and décor items such as curtains and rugs, screens, planters and furniture. Arrange these items to create conversation areas, space for dining, or a special area for your little ones to call their own.
Whatever you do, don’t begin and end your space designation with furniture alone. Simply plunking down a patio set does not create a room. You want to build layers of interest with different textures. That means wall art and throw pillows, water features, flowers and other items that delight the senses. Even a store-bought gazebo can be turned into an outdoor room with the addition of some lovely curtains an outdoor rug, furnishings and embellishments.
Lighting and Comfort
To take your enjoyment of any outdoor space from dusk till dawn and from spring until fall, you’ll need to consider lighting and comfort. Your lighting scheme can include small LED or solar lanterns, chandeliers and strings of lights, professionally installed landscape lighting, or candles and tiki torches.
To ensure that your outdoor room remains comfortable during the heat of the day, ensure that you can some shaded areas. If your outdoor space is a balcony or covered porch, you’re already naturally protected from the blazing sun. However, if your space isn’t already covered, you’re going to want to invest in umbrella, awnings or a pergola.
When autumn rolls around (we know, you don’t want to hear about this right now) and the weather starts to cool down outdoor heaters and *fire pits can help to keep guests comfortable both day and night.
*before adding any open burn feature to your outdoor space, be sure to ensure that it’s legal where you live.
If you don’t want to spend your time outdoors swatting at mosquitoes or other pests, then you’re going to want to come up with some means of protection. For many this means bug spray, citronella or other natural remedies.
However, another way to protect your guests and yourself from the little biters is by screens. If you don’t want to see the screens during the daytime, or when mosquitoes are less likely to be around, then you may want to look into some retractable screens.
In the end, creating an outdoor room that works for your family and lifestyle is inherently personal. Do what makes you feel good about being outside.