1. Select Furniture that can Pull Double-Duty
If your outdoor space is smaller, or limited by the design or dimensions of the area, you should consider choosing furniture pieces which perform a double function. Select ottomans and benches which are designed with storage for outdoor toys like this one from Wayfair. Also consider purposeful tables with built-in coolers and other convertible furniture. If you have an outdoor bar area, choose stools that can be stored under the bar when not in use.
2. Jazz Up Your Space with an Outdoor Rug
Liven up your outside area and bring in some color and personality by adding an outdoor rug to your patio or porch. Choose from waterproof fabric options and accent your rug with a few pieces of outdoor furniture. An area rug can do an outstanding job of creating a defined perimeter for your space as well as turning your outdoor space into a living area perfect for entertaining.
3. Add some Green with a Tiny Garden
While a full-sized garden can be a great addition for a larger space, it can also require a great deal of work. If you’re looking to add some color to your outdoor area, but don't want to spend every day out in the garden, consider creating a tiny garden as either a perimeter to your space or along the walls of it. If you wish to outline your space with greenery, add a few flower boxes or attractive pots around the edges of your outdoor area. If you have a smaller yard or patio, you can attach smaller pots to latticework and create a green, vertical garden. Both plants and vegetables are good options that provide a mix of color and decor.
4. Keep the Sun's Rays at Bay
Even if you are in an area which sees little rain, a covering for your outdoor space will give you the chance to enjoy being outside without having to worry about the sun. A cover can keep you cool, protect your skin, and also protect your outdoor furniture and decor from fading. You may consider adding an awning for protection from the elements, or even creating a gazebo or pagoda.
5. Consider Outdoor Heating
If you plan on using your outdoor space for as much of the year as possible, you should consider adding heating elements which will allow you to stay comfortable when temperatures start to drop. A unique and functional option to add heat to your space is investing in a fire pit table like this one from Hayneedle. These tables are attractive options, providing warmth for your guests, and even a place for roasting marshmallows. If you have to heat a larger space, you should explore your options, like adding portable outdoor heaters to your area.
6. Brighten it Up with Outdoor Lighting
If you’re planning to use your outdoor space to entertain after the sun goes down, it is important to make sure you install proper lighting. This is also an excellent opportunity to choose lighting which will assist you in creating the mood or setting you desire. Most importantly, choosing the appropriate lighting for your space will help avoid tripping hazards. Pro Tip: avoid unsightly cords by opting for solar lighting features like this one from Home Depot.
7. Consider Adding a Water Feature
Water features not only add to the cosmetic appeal of an outdoor space, but these may also promote serenity and relaxation. If your space is designed to accommodate a larger water feature, adding a pond with a waterfall may be an attractive option. If your space is a bit smaller, adding a compact fountain that doubles as a bird bath for your feathered friends could be a great choice. Whatever water feature you choose, make sure it includes flowing water to reduce the risk of water becoming stagnant.
8. Keep Your Space Tidy
One of the easiest ways to keep your outdoor space looking clean and inviting is by making sure clutter is kept to a minimum. If you have children, keep a storage spot or box for outdoor toys. Ensure you have space to store your hose and other yard tools as well. This will not only help keep your yard looking organized, but also prevent trips, mildew and dying grass spots. In addition, make it a habit to clean up your yard on a regular basis, just as you would your indoor areas.
Don't neglect your outdoor space, or underestimate its value. No matter what your outdoor set up is, a few simple updates can easily assist you in making it your own, and help you to create the perfect place to entertain or just relax for the day.