By Ashley Miller
Turning your backyard into a mini-vacation spot is an essential part of enjoying the outdoors. Outdoor kitchens and hardscapes are trending with homeowners who want to get the most out of their outdoor living space. Investing in your patio helps to increase the value of your home by expanding the useable square footage. It also just provides you with respite from a world whose fast pace is increasing exponentially. Consider these tips for upgrading your outdoor living space to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
Choose Comfortable Seating
Comfort is key is you’re spending time outside. Choose a new patio set that offers plush cushions and pillows for the ultimate in outdoor seating. Dining sets also provide an excellent place to relax and to enjoy an outdoor meal. Hammocks are becoming quite popular and can be strung between trees in the yard or used alone. Try offering various seating options for both yourself and guests when enjoying the outdoors.
Barbecue/Smoke Your Dinner
Many people call what they do in their back yard, “barbecue” when they’re, in fact, grilling. Not to say there’s anything wrong with the latter. Grilling with direct heat is wonderful for finely marbled cuts of meat such as a bone-in ribeye. Barbecue, though, refers specifically to cooking with indirect heat and smoke using aromatic hardwoods such as mesquite or hickory.
It’s a slow process that’s meant to naturally tenderize typically tough meats such as pork shoulder or beef brisket. Smoking also infuses rich, dark flavors that elevate a meal from merely delicious to utterly sublime. Adding a barbecue smoker to your alfresco dining area is a decision you won’t regret.
Add a Fire Pit
An open flame adds ambiance to your backyard. You’ll find that any fire pit, either small or large, can help calm the senses and create a cozy and peaceful atmosphere. Larger fire pits are natural gathering places when hosting a party and enhance the feeling of conviviality. Place a few s’more fixings on a side table for easy access to a whimsical dessert. If your yard space is limited, consider adding new tabletop fire options that offer the beauty of flames without taking up much space.
Enjoying the sunshine is a natural part of being outdoors, but too much of a good thing can lead to problems. Make sure that areas of your outdoor living space are adequately shaded from the sun’s harmful rays by installing an umbrella or two. Sun shades can be easily moved and opened and closed based on the weather. Providing a cooler spot during the heat of the day is vital when enjoying the outdoors.
Light it Up
There’s nothing like a relaxing meal outside after a long day’s work. You can enjoy your backyard well into the evening if you add lights around the yard. Rope lights around your landscaping can transform your outdoor space into a party venue and give you a chance to show off your prized plants. Solar powered lights are around the patio or deck will save you money since they use the sun’s energy instead of boosting the power bill. String hanging lights over your dining area and tabletop lanterns to provide intimate areas.
Plant a Vertical Garden
Source your produce for your next outdoor meal with vegetables that you harvested from your own garden. Vertical gardens create both privacy for outdoor living spaces and allow you to grow fresh food. A few herbs in the garden will attract pollinators while adding natural scents to your yard. Clip off a few herbs to garnish your next outdoor meal.
Upgrading your outdoor living space doesn’t have to be a chore. Adding some extras one item at a time will help create an outdoor space that’s easy to enjoy. Who knows, you may never entertain indoors again.
Ashley Miller is a home decor and lifestyle writer who treats her HGTV obsession by refurbishing anything and everything she can get her hands on into something new. Appliances Connection is happy to welcome her as a guest contributor from LawnStarter