As the weather warms up, more people are spending time outside. They may go to pool parties, backyard BBQs, romantic dinners under the stars, or afternoon brunches. If you’ve always dreamed about converting your existing outdoor deck, patio, porch or balcony into a cool place for friends and family to hang out, you’ve come to the right place. You don’t need a lot of time or money to implement some of these creative ideas that will transform your outdoor area into a five-star entertaining space that the whole neighborhood will be talking about.
When you’re hosting an outdoor event, it’s vital that everyone has a place to sit and relax – and you don’t want to pull mismatched dining room chairs and beanbags out to the lawn for people to sit on. A set of colorful Adirondack chairs with a soft pillow on each seat, arranged in a semicircle around a fire pit, is an easy and inexpensive way to create an intimate social circle where everyone can sit back and relax. Another creative option is to build your own bench out of cinderblocks and planks of wood. Tie a bright cushion to the planks and, voila – you’ve got a DIY bench that everyone will love! Cinderblocks can be used in many ways to create seating of varying heights and shapes. And they can be made super comfortable with the addition of a plush cushion. Have a few old tires and some rope laying around? Check out this cool DIY project to create outdoor seating that doubles as storage space! Upscale patio loungers and furniture can be set up to provide plenty of seating for all your guests.
Sun vs. shade
Having an outdoor area with 100% exposure to the sun can put limitations on the time of year when you want to enjoy your space. Give yourself (and your guests) options of being out in the sun or under the shade by adding an awning that will block out the sun. Install a pergola that blocks most of the sun, or a big umbrella that covers an area where people can sit. This separation also gives your space a bigger look, and the compartmentalized feeling allows people to mingle from space to space when they feel comfortable. If you are looking to make a big change, building a covered bar area – complete with custom countertops, bar seating, elegant lighting, double sinks and a flat screen TV – can turn your backyard into the local neighborhood hangout spot.
As the party host, you don’t want to be stuck inside preparing and cooking all the food while your guests are left to meet and greet on their own. A BBQ is a must for an outdoor entertaining space, but an outdoor kitchen takes it up a notch. Creating a space where you can prepare, cook and serve food to hungry guests – without disappearing into the house – is a true backyard party luxury. Installing an outdoor kitchen, like the ones you’ll find in North Bay Road Homes, can be as easy as buying a pre-made outdoor grill island. This way, you get the BBQ plus the counter space and storage – and you can take it with you when you move. Luxurious add-ons like brick pizza ovens, a smoker, and wine chillers upgrade your basic patio to a five-star lounge. Depending on your level of DIY expertise (and your budget), you can create a backyard retreat that goes from simple and elegant to luxurious and over the top.
Choosing the right materials
Because your outdoor space is going to have to stand the test of a good storm, blizzard or summer heat wave, using weather resistant materials is vital for maintaining a safe and beautiful outdoor area. Stainless steel appliances are easy to clean and resist corrosion. The use of sealed pavers or concrete for the flooring is both low maintenance and easy to clean. For seating, aluminum chairs are an option. They are lightweight, don’t fade and are affordable, although they can get very hot when they are left out in the sun for a long time. Wicker and wood are good for both inside and outside. They are comfortable and sturdy, but they tend to be on the more expensive side. Try to remember to bring patio cushions inside when they aren’t in use, as one rainstorm alone could really damage them.
Think about the vibe
The music, lighting and entertaining aspects of an outdoor space are things to consider when designing your dream space. Instead of spending half the party trying to find the stereo, plugging it in, or trying to configure your laptop in a safe place so that everyone can hear it, install speakers outside. That way, turning on the music is easy and convenient. If you are going to place a television in the space, give thought to where it will go so that it doesn’t have a horrible glare. The installation of a fireplace, fire pit, or water feature can add a peaceful feel to your space and serve as a great conversation starter. Install the right kind of lighting so that when the sun goes down, guests can still mingle outside. Think ahead about weather conditions, and have space heaters or ceiling fans on hand to keep your guests comfortable.
Whether you’re planning a total backyard makeover and are creating the patio of your dreams, or you just want to spruce up the space you already have for when guests stop over, transforming your backyard space is something that will not only increase the value of your home, but provide a space for countless nights of fun and relaxation with friends and family.