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#PatioGoals: How to Create an Inviting Outdoor Living Area

Shake off the spring: Summer is on its way, and we want to be ready! This year, why not turn your outdoor space into a cozy retreat? These are the essential components to creating an outdoor area you’ll never want to leave.

Comfortable chairs and side tables to rest drinks and snacks on are non-negotiable. Have at least one lounging chair, chaise longue, or hammock to entice you outside and encourage you to stay awhile. Create conversation nooks around the yard, and give them different characters: an eating area, a spot for intimate chats, and a place where a larger group can gather, if you have the room. If not, try decorating with poufs, floor pillows, benches, or stools that can serve multiple purposes.

There are many outdoor lighting options to help you bring a dramatic flair to your yard. Citronella tiki torches placed along the perimeter of your yard signal a fun, party atmosphere. Use soft lights such as lanterns or string lights to create more conversation spaces. Add up- or downlighting to your trees and shrubs to add a wow factor. Don’t forget to light walkways and utility areas with brighter lighting to keep your yard safe. You can also sync up your outdoor lighting with your indoor smart home lighting: “Hey Alexa, turn on the backyard lights.”

A big mistake many people make is forgetting that the sun moves around the yard throughout the day. Be sure to consider this when selecting and setting up your shaded spots. Use vine-covered arbors, sun sails, pergolas, and other faux ceilings to support your privacy and contribute to the feeling of getting away from it all. For more focused shade, use umbrellas. Look for adjustable and/or tilting umbrellas so you can block the sun all day long.

Adding plants to your patio can bring a sense of serenity to your outdoor oasis. Done right, it can transport you to a tropical paradise or a wooded wonderland. You can even select specific plants to attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife for you to enjoy. Choose some large, small, and differently shaped plant holders to help bring variety to your patio. For a tropical feel, you can add extra-large containers with palm or banana trees. Look for plants that spill over your larger pots' edges to give them a more organic feel. Ferns in hanging pots are an excellent way to add greenery, and bonus: They are easy to grow and care for. If you already have an outdoor sprinkler system in your yard, you may want to consider adding automatic watering drips for your pots.

Time to accessorize! Add color and texture with throw pillows and outdoor rugs. Curtains, folding screens, and greenery can create an illusion of walls for added privacy, whether it’s for hiding from the nosy neighbors, blocking an unpleasant view, or just upping the cozy factor. Hang bird feeders and soft wind chimes, set up a birdbath, and consider some outdoor statues, a gazing ball, and decorations hung on your fence or walls to complete the feeling of living in the outdoors. And don’t forget the waterproof Bluetooth speaker to stream your tunes.

Want to take it to the next level? Here are a few additions to elevate your outdoor space and make you the envy of all the neighbors.

  • Firepit. For making s’mores and staying comfortable on cooler nights. You can get them (or build them!) in all sizes and styles, including a table-top version if your yard is on the small side.

  • Water feature. Adding a water element can be calming and cooling. Think about installing a bubbling fountain, a stocked koi pond, a wading pool, or a waterfall.

  • Bar. DIY an outdoor bar with cement breezeblocks and wooden boards, counter-height stools, and a roof or sun sail for shade. Short on space? A rolling bar cart that you can bring outside and store inside will do just as well.

  • Outdoor kitchen. Cooking out in the open air instead of turning your entire kitchen into a heat-producing furnace sounds like an intelligent plan. Plus, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy outdoor meals right there, so less schlepping and more grilling!

  • TV. Yes, you can actually buy a TV that is specifically made to be mounted outdoors! Fire up the barbecue for Netflix and grill, or plug in the PlayStation for a rowdy game night under the stars.


However you decide to decorate, be sure to keep things low-maintenance. Choose paint, fabrics, furniture, and accessories specifically meant for outdoors and plants that need little care, so you can spend your time relaxing and enjoying your new outdoor living space!


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