7 Ideas To Help You Use Your Outdoor Space More

Dated: 06/09/2015

Views: 1067

These ideas will transform your outdoor space into an oasis you may never want to leave.


String lights outdoors

Day or night, this cozy deck is the place to be. Plush furniture and an outdoor rug maximize comfort, and string lights cast a warm glow. Image: Summer Hogan

When your mom told you to turn off the TV and play outdoors already, she knew what she was talking about. Hanging outside is good for our mental and physical well-being.

As adults, having an outdoor retreat adds an economic component: Upwards of 80% of homebuyers said patios and front porches are “essential” or “desirable,” according to the “What Buyers Really Want” survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

So how come when we move into our dream home, we hardly ever use our decks, porches, and patios?
An anthropological UCLA study, described in the book “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” blames our fascination with digital devices — tablets, computers, televisions, games — for keeping us cooped up. The UCLA research participants spent less than half an hour each week in their outdoor space. And these were Californians. 
So this summer let’s make a pledge to pay more than lip service to outdoor living so we can be happier, create lasting memories, and generally take advantage of what home has to offer.
1.  Go Overboard on Comfy
Comfy outdoor seating on a home patio 
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
When you step into your outdoor space, your first sensation should be ‘ahhhh’. If you’re not feeling it, then your space is likely lacking the comfy factor. Comfy is easy to achieve and can be as low cost as you want. Start simple with a cushion or two or even a throw. Some other simple strategies: 

  • Make sure your outdoor seating is as cushy as your indoor furniture. Today’s outdoor cushions aren’t the plastic-y, sweat-inducing pillows of the past. Plus, they can handle a downpour and spring back once they dry.

  • Lay down outdoor rugs so you’re just as comfortable barefoot as you are inside.

  • Give yourself some privacy. Create natural screens with shrubs, bushes, or even bamboo reeds. Or install prefab screens from your local home improvement store.

2.  Create a Broadband Paradise 
Our devices and electronics have conspired to keep us on lock down. Since we’re not about to chuck our digital toys, boot up your outdoor space so you can keep texting, posting to Instagram, and watching cat videos.

  • Wireless outdoor Wi-Fi antennas provide an extra boost so you can stay connected.

  • A solar USB charging station keeps your gizmos powered.

  • Wireless speakers make it easy to bring your music outdoors, and mask a noisy neighborhood.

  • An all-weather outdoor TV lets you stay outside for the big game.

3.  Blur the Line Between Indoors and Out
Creating a seamless transition between your home’s interior and exterior isn’t as simple or low cost as adding comfort, but it’s the most dramatic and effective way to enhance your enjoyment of the space. Plus, it can increase your home’s value. 

  • The most straightforward, cost-effective solution: Replace a standard door opening with sliding or glass French doors.

  • Use the same weatherproof flooring, such as stone tile or scored concrete, outside as well as in the room leading to your backyard oasis.

4.  Light the Way
Solar pathway lights Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
When the sun goes down, don’t be left groping for your wine glass. Outdoor lighting dresses up your home’s marketability and appeal (exterior lighting is buyers’ most wanted outdoor feature, according to the NAHB study), makes it safer, and lets you spend more time outside.

  • Use uplighting to highlight trees, architectural details, or other focal points.

  • Add sconces or pendant lights to make evening entertaining, grilling, and reading easier.

  • Illuminate walkways, rails, and steps with landscape solar lights.

  • Hang fairy or string lights to set an enchanting tone.

5.  Make Your Mark
Pavers in a home's yard Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
Let your style dominate your backyard space.

  • Paint a faux rug with your favorite colors.

  • Create a path made with colored glass, brick, or other interesting found materials.

  • Craft a one-of-kind outdoor chandelier.

  • Build a pizza oven, custom seating, or other feature you crave.

  • Add personal décor that makes you happy.

In fact, make your outdoor retreat an ongoing project where you can hone your DIY skills.
6.  Don’t Give Anyone an Excuse to Stay Inside 
Outdoor space with kid-friendly playhouse and DIY chalkboardImage: Tasya Demers from My House and Home
Your outdoor space will magnetically draw family and friends if it has features they find appealing.

  • A fire pit is a proven winner. Food and fire have brought humans together since the dawn of time.

  • Give wee ones the gift of magical thinking with an outdoor playhouse.

  • Add whimsy with a chalkboard fence that both kids and fun-loving adults will enjoy.

  • Add a doggie window in your fence to entertain Spot. Installing a dog run may even boost your home’s value. FYI: It’s been said that pets are one of the top reasons why people buy houses.

Related: Outdoor Projects You Can Do with the Kids
7.  Rebuff the Elements
Canopy over a home deck 
Image: LizMarieBlog.com 
Hot sun, rain, wind gusts, and bugs are the archenemy of good times. Here are tips and strategies to help you throw shade on Mother Nature:

  • Install an awning, canopy, or pergola. It’ll make it easier to read your Kindle or iPad and keep you dry during a summer shower. Look for products with polycarbonate panels, which block UV rays, too.

  • Rig glass fence windscreens to the keep your BBQ fires burning.

  • Screen in your porch or deck against bugs. But screening will be for naught if you forget the slats between wood planks. Cover the floor with outdoor carpet or staple screening to the underside of floorboards.

Read more:http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/decks/outdoor-living-ideas/#ixzz3cbp20kCN

Follow us:@HouseLogic on Twitter|HouseLogic on Facebook

Blog author image

Donna Podesta

I am an experienced Realtor working in the Greater Hudson Valley Region which includes both Rockland and Orange County. My goal is to make my client's real estate experience a happy one. Because succe....

Latest Blog Posts

17th Annual Botanical Gardens Singapore Orchid Show Is Just A Short Drive From Nyack

The New York Botanical Gardens is holding its 17th annual Orchid show from February 23rd through April 28th at its magical grounds in the Bronx. Just a short drive from Rockland, you can be

Read More

Surviving Winter And Getting Ready For Spring

If you’re used to the 4 seasons of the year, but by now are growing weary of winter, here are some great tips to make it easier on yourself until warmer weather and longer days arrive. 1.

Read More

Damaging Nyack Potholes Grow Larger And Deeper As Winter Continues

The continued rain we have experienced this winter has had a detrimental effect on Nyack’s roads.  Water freezing and expanding in our roadways each night enlarge potholes as nature

Read More

100 Ways To Say I Love You On Valentines Day

There are so many people that you care about, so say “I Love You” to all of them on Valentine’s Day! Here are 100 creative ways to show them how much you care. Saying “I Love”

Read More