Traditionally, the favorite hangout in the home has been the kitchen or the family room. Those rooms are the “family rooms” where the whole family and guests tends to gather several times a day. But for more and more homeowners, the deck or patio is taking over as the favorite gathering space for cooking, entertaining and relaxing. More people are bringing all the comforts of their home to the outside by creating comfortable and usable outdoor living spaces that function as extensions of the home. Even if you are living in an apartment in the city, if you have a small porch or balcony, you can easily convert that space into a mini-oasis.
If you are looking to create an outdoor space for your home’s backyard, then there are just a few things to take into consideration: seating, lighting, plants and utility.
Find weather-proof, comfortable seating that can be outdoors year-round and will withstand the elements. Good choices for outdoor seating materials are wrought iron, teak wood, or recycled plastic/resin. These are low-maintenance materials and won’t require you to store your furniture indoors during the winter. For a personal touch and added comfort, cover your chairs with decorative patio chair cushions to invite your family and guests to get comfortable. These will generally need to be stored indoors during bad weather, but weather-proof patio cushions are also available. You can even add an outdoor rug to add to the living room feel.
Outdoor patio and garden lighting is the best way to extend the use of your outdoor space into the evening for a party, dinner with the family, or unwinding and watching the sunset. An LED umbrella light adds utility light for eating around the table, while solar path lighting adds ambiance to your space. Solar lights usually require little or no maintenance and don’t pull power from your house and thus are a great investment. There are many attractive styles to choose from as well.
Another way to add interest to your outdoor living room is to plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables in garden pots to add a pop of color and a source of fresh herbs and veggies right outside your kitchen door. Adding plants and flowers is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add texture, color and even enhance the aroma of your outdoor space.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to consider the utility of your outdoor living space, or what you want to primarily use it for. If you’d prefer to have a living room feel, then focus on comfortable seating and ambiance. If you want to use this space to cook and serve dinner, then create an outdoor kitchen and focus on a grill or outdoor oven and the table where everyone will be eating. If you’d prefer to use your patio for late evening relaxing with a glass of wine, then focus on reclined seating and creating a spa-like feel. You can even add an outdoor spa to make your outdoor space a haven for relaxation and tranquility.
For leisurely entertaining and outdoor dining this summer, take advantage of the great weather, and extend your living space outside to make your backyard patio inviting and appealing all summer long.