Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Additions for Optimal Outdoor Living Spaces

I was approached by Zillow about sharing some great ways to take your outdoor space to the next level. I think they've come up with some great ideas, some of which I am keeping in mind while B and I decide what to do with our own back yard. Read on!

By Jennifer Riner of Zillow
Source: Boyenga Team
The summer season hasn’t officially started in the U.S., but homeowners aren’t waiting until June 21st begin barbequing, sunbathing and throwing backyard parties. The weather is warming up and gardens
are in full bloom, which means it’s time to take advantage of the beautiful climate before the cold hits
once again.

All year long, homeowners relax in the comfort of their living or family rooms. This summer, consider
spending that valuable time outside in a do-it-yourself (DIY) outdoor living space.

To create alfresco living rooms, consider the following necessities.

source: Scout & Nimble

1. Comfortable Seating

Outdoor seating should feel as plush and comfortable as indoor lounging options. Therefore, invest in
high-quality pieces made specifically for exterior use. Cushions should be removed and safely stowed
during inclement weather or in the off-season to avoid wind and water damage. Homes in Florida and
other warm climates might allow owners to use large exterior furnishings all-year round, but still be
cautious during the rainy months to avoid soaked fabrics. No matter the location, avoid using indoor
furniture on the patio, even in clear skies. Sun rays fade paint and damage finished surfaces used on
traditional furnishings.

Source: Domino

2. Weather-resistant Accessories

Alfresco living rooms incorporate both functionality and style. Use fun and fresh prints via throw pillows
and exterior accent rugs. Consider investing in outdoor light fixtures such as string bulbs, tiki torches
or wall-mounted sconces. Otherwise, outdoor entertaining ends after sunset. With some dim exterior
mood lighting, guests can continue to socialize and mix without carrying flashlights or mingling in the

Source: Sunset

3. Cozy Fire Pits

Fireplaces are great inside because they provide extra warmth in the cold winter months. For breezy
evenings, feature portable or built-in hearths as patio or deck focal points. Or, build DIY fire pits
with retaining wall blocks, steel pit rings, metal grates, some sand and gravel. Concrete blocks are
inexpensive, but deteriorate more rapidly than other high-quality stone alternatives. Don’t forget to dig
drainage holes in the center of pits and fill with gravel to eliminate overflow during storms. Always have
buckets of water or extinguishers in close reach to keep residents and guests safe while pits are in use.
Whether purchasing or building fire pits, add the cozy feeling typically absent from landscapes. Rather
than bundling up or venturing back inside when the weather turns chilly, light fires to enjoy comfortable
temperatures no matter the time of night.\

Source: Design Sponge

4. Decorative Pergolas

Pergolas help delineate air space and shape warmer exterior rooms. They also protect residents from
unexpected downpours and harmful sun rays. For rustic appeal, opt for natural brown woods like oak or
cedar. White pergolas complement traditional and colonial homes best. Driftwood or reclaimed beams
match beach houses well. Regardless of material preference, large outdoor additions including pergolas
and decks should blend stylistically with shutters or siding. Hang plants, wind chimes and sheer curtains
for an organic, bohemian look.

Source: Rex Kelly

5. Structured Seating

Dining outside in the summer brings enjoyment back to regular mealtimes, otherwise rushed for
convenience in the warmer months. Instead of eating on-the-go, enjoy some wine and light summer
salads in the fresh air. Avoid slumping over on sofas or armchairs by investing in standard dining tables
and chairs for outdoor dinner parties. With structured seating, guests don’t have to rest plates on their
laps or risk spilling drinks due to a lack of counter space. To best repel bugs, place citronella candles
around dining tables or safely in table centers where they won’t be bumped. Nothing ruins a dinner
party more than finding bugs in the appetizers.

Homeowners on budgets can still create livable backyards by using online classifieds to find previously
owned outdoor furniture at low costs. Either purchase or repurpose pieces to match personal styles.
Exterior living rooms should allow residents and guests to enjoy nature while benefiting from the
comforts and amenities of home.


  1. we just updated our patio and it is so amazing!! we absolutely love it and spend so much time out there now. it makes us feel like we're on vacation in our own backyard

  2. Good article. I'm experiencing a few of these issues as well..