Does your backyard look a bit more like the “Before” in the picture above? Certainly, it’s kid and pet-friendly, but it’s definitely not ready for lounging or the next big family BBQ. You might not have the budget for a full-scale investment in a dream outdoor room, but there are a few tips and design tricks for making your empty yard into an outdoor room.
Define your Space – If you look at any outdoor room in designer magazines or online, they will often show seating arranged around a focal point, like a fire-pit. Another outdoor design fundamental is to create a sense of enclosure with a pergola, screening fences, or large plantings. Focal points and enclosing structures are Design 101 for creating an outdoor room, and you can utilize these fundamentals on almost any budget.
Consider planting some tall plants in over-sized planters, or build a vertical garden, either with a kit or with an old pallet, creating a living screen. Give new life to that ugly old fence with bamboo fencing. Even arranging outdoor furniture around a coffee table, grouping of candles, or outdoor rug, creates the sense that you and your guests are in a cozy outdoor room.
Lighting, Lighting, Lighting – Pretty hanging lanterns, hurricane vases, and string lights can transform a ho-hum patio or porch to a romantic retreat. You can even make your own candle-holders with old wine bottles and a glass cutter! Adding lighting is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to create a cozy outdoor room, so don’t neglect the lights. Plus, you can make your candle-holders do double-duty as mosquito control devices if you fill them with citronella-based candles and oil. Nothing ruins an outdoor room quicker than being eaten alive by mosquitoes!
Clean Your Outdoor Furniture! – While outdoor furniture is meant to take a beating, you still have to freshen it up for company even if it has been stored away for the winter. Simply giving your furniture a good scrub and rinse will brighten up your outdoor space. Take an afternoon, get a rag, a bucket, some diluted liquid dish washing soap, and a hose, and clean off the grime from years past. Your clothes and guests will thank you.
Even if you start with some inexpensive deck chairs and a few citronella candles arranged in a circle, you’re on your way to creating that dream outdoor retreat! Websites like Pinterest and Houzz are a wonderful way to find inspiration for your space. Start creating boards or sharing pictures with your landscaper or handy family-member. The wonderful thing about outdoor rooms is that without true walls, foors, and ceilings, the sky is the truly the limit on what you can achieve over time.
We would love to read your tips and see your creative outdoor spaces, so let us know in the comments, or drop us a link to your own blog or Pinterest board. And if you share your Pinterest boards, we will follow you back!