The summer season is fast approaching, and with the promise of sunny skies and warm temps comes the desire to spend as much time as possible enjoying the great outdoors. While many homeowners are content to simply set out a patio table and chairs and to string a few strands of colorful outdoor lights along deck rails, creating an outdoor oasis in your own backyard can be done simply and without spending a fortune on extensive renovations.
Whether you’re searching for an easy and inexpensive way to dress up your deck for the summer or you’re looking for a more intensive overhaul of your patio or backyard, the following tips will provide options for creating an outdoor escape regardless of the size of your budget or the space you’re working with.
Selecting Outdoor Seating Options
Perhaps the simplest way to give your patio, deck or backyard space a brand-new look without racking up serious costs is to swap your current seating situation with something more sophisticated. Ditch your basic fold-up lawn or camp chairs and opt instead for inexpensive-but-better-quality seating from a local home improvement store. From coastal cottages to mountaintop retreats, Adirondack chairs are a popular option that provides both comfort and style no matter where your humble abode is located.
If you’re on a limited budget, purchase lightweight plastic Adirondack chairs that can easily be moved from one spot to another. If you have a little more money to spend and want to give your backyard a more sophisticated appearance, solid wood Adirondack chairs are the way to go. In addition to being a versatile style of seating that looks great in backyards from the city to the suburbs and virtually everywhere in between, one of the biggest advantages of opting for Adirondack chairs is the fact that they come in a wide array of colors, so you’ll be sure to find something that coincides nicely with the rest of your home’s outdoor décor.
Arranging Your New Seating
Choosing a type of seating is a key element to enhancing your outdoor space, but equally important is making sure you have enough seating for guests and that you place it in a pattern that best accommodates the space you have available. While you may only need seating for yourself and your immediate family on a regular basis, having plenty of extra seating for guests is a must if you plan on doing any outdoor entertaining at your home this season. If you don’t have the space to keep additional seating outside all the time, opt for stackable chairs and store them in your cottage’s garage or utility closet. This way, you can easily retrieve your chairs and set them out when you know guests will be coming by for an event or party, without cluttering up your outdoor space should they not be used frequently by your own family.
Ensuring you have enough seats for everyone who attends an event or get-together at your home is essential, but it’s also important to remember that seating should be arranged properly to assist with the flow of communication and movement. Many decks—particularly those on the sides of beach homes and cottages—are long and skinny and require chairs to be placed in a row; however, if you want to facilitate an open conversation among friends and family, try your best to arrange chairs in a cluster where guests will be facing one another.
Another great way to encourage interaction among guests is to arrange the chairs in a circle so no one is left out of a conversation. Placing a fire pit in the center of the circle of chairs is an excellent way to add a focal point and enhance the ambiance, even if it means you have to relocate your seating space from the decks to the backyard, where more room is available for such seating. That said, if your coastal cottage has a view you want to enjoy with your guests—such as the ocean, sound, canal or saltmarsh—make sure you also offer options where you and your guests can kick back and relax on a deck with a scenic view of the world around you.
Planting Flowers and Potted Palms
Nothing says creating a natural environment in your own backyard quite like bringing a variety of potted plants and flowers into your outdoor living space. Develop the illusion of relaxing on a deserted island by purchasing and planting native species of palm trees along the perimeter of your backyard or patio. Just make sure the specific types you pick will successfully grow in your geographic region before shelling out a significant amount of money on trees or shrubs that won’t make it through the season.
Don’t have room for standard-size palm trees or ferns in your outdoor living space because you reside in an apartment or condo—or because you simply want to bring the oasis to an upper-level deck where they won’t likely fit? That’s not a problem. Just swing by a local nursery or home improvement store’s garden center and select species of plants or palms that stay relatively small and do well in portable container pots. Be sure to spend a couple of weeks scoping out the amount of sunshine that area of your yard or deck receives on a regular basis so that you choose the species of plants or palms you want to plant wisely.
Privacy, Privacy, Privacy
Whether you want to use your revamped outdoor area for yourself and a small group of family members on a regular basis or you intend to use it primarily for large outdoor parties and events, the space you create won’t feel like much of an outdoor oasis if you can feel your neighbors’ prying eyes on you while you soak up the sun, sip on a cocktail or enjoy a good book in your favorite new set of seating. To truly create a sense of privacy, the obvious choice is a privacy fence that surrounds your entire yard and stands tall enough that neighbors and passersby can’t see over the top. If you live in a condo, however, or if you are renting your current residence and aren’t permitted to put up fencing, the next best options are outdoor tapestries, blinds, latticework fencing, dense netting and privacy shields.
A wide array of privacy options that are suitable to be set up outdoors and will easily withstand UV rays and strong winds that commonly occur in coastal regions are available online or at your local home goods store. Whatever you select, make sure you fasten it securely and don’t create any type of eyesore for your neighbors to look at from surrounding properties. Once you have added sufficient privacy features to your backyard, patio or deck, you can gather up that guest list and invite your friends, family members and coworkers over to enjoy an afternoon or evening in your newly renovated outdoor oasis that will make you regret spending a single moment inside since you now have your very own piece of paradise right outside your back door.