Outdoor Living

As children, the great outdoors was an extension of our home. Maybe it was because our mothers were quick to banish us there during our breaks from school. Or maybe because it didn’t take much to have fun outside.

Do you still view your outdoor space as an extension of your home? Here in Florida, we have more opportunities to be outside than our friends up North because we have so many days and nights of temperate weather. So if you’ve already passed the threshold of creating the perfect backyard, then good for you. But for many, the task of making their outdoor space an extension of their home is challenging, even overwhelming. So how do you begin to make your backyard, well, livable?

First, take a look around. What do you see—is the glass half-empty, or half-full? In other words, do you see the potential or the problems? If you’re having trouble with inspiration, maybe it’s time to look at your outdoor space with a fresh eye.

As a kid, I remember hospitality beginning with a stroll through our garden. It was a great way to ease into an afternoon visit, admiring the roses or the peonies. But a bonus was getting to see the outdoor space through the eyes of our guests. If you need help with backyard inspiration, invite your friends over and have them take a stroll with you in your backyard. Ask them what they would do with your space. You’ll be looking at your backyard with a fresh eye. For more inspiration, why not check out Pinterest or Google images for backyard ideas.

To make your outdoor space comfortable, you’ll want to bring elements of your indoors outdoors. That means including a few creature comforts—it’s precisely the reason why we stay inside. We want to enjoy our favorite comfy chair, the air conditioning, the fireplace, our music—all the things that add to our feelings of contentment and well-being. By bringing these elements into our outdoor living space, we can be drawn into enjoying our natural surroundings once again.

So as spring slowly makes it’s come back, why not give it a try? A few design tricks can enhance your comfort level and that of your guests. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Comfortable outdoor furniture, with a high quality outdoor fabric is well worth the investment when you consider the time and effort needed to keep your outdoor spaces looking clean and inviting because it’s only a matter of hosing off the dirt or vacuuming them.  The more effort it takes to maintain furniture, the less inclined you will be to enjoy your outdoor space.
  2. Ensure there’s plenty of flat surface spaces. This allows everyone to have a spot for their beverage or snack or book. That doesn’t mean you need big tables. Small ones work just as well. For example, you can get creative with garden stools in fresh colors.
  3. A fire pit is the perfect addition to any outdoor space making the evening last just a little bit longer and add a touch of romance to end the day.  Fires are enjoyed by all, young and old!
  4. Include spaces for sunbathing.  Does one side of your home get full sun while the rest is in the shade?  Create a space for getting a dose of vitamin D.
  5. Create meditation or conversation spaces for a personal retreat.  Is there a nook in your backyard that’s in the shade? If you added a few plants, and candles, it could be become a welcome space for reading or relaxing with a friend.
  6. Landscape lighting and outdoor string lights will make your backyard festive all year round. Think enchanting and whimsical!
  7. What would an outdoor space be without music? Install speakers outside so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while relaxing.

Regardless of where you live, take advantage of every precious moment to enjoy nature from your backyard by getting creative with the outdoor spaces you already have and make your backyard an extension of your home.  Bringing the indoors out is a great way to add square footage to your beautiful home and to get the most bang for your buck. It may not take much… just a few creature comforts.