Our amazing weather has me bubbling with ideas and plans for sprucing up my outdoor living spaces! Are you feeling it, too? I came across a surprisingly great resource I want to share with you: the Costco Connection magazine. If you’re a Costco member, you receive the magazine in the mail, but it’s also available online. In the March 2017 issue, there’s a great article titled, “Thinking Outside the Box: Creating Outdoor Living Spaces.” Here are some of the highlights, plus my take on how I might make the ideas work for my own outdoor living spaces.
- Think function – Before you start, get a solid idea of what you want to do in the space. This will guide so many of the decisions to come in regard to furniture, landscaping, etc. For example, do you want to use your outdoor living space for cooking/eating, entertaining and parties, family sports and exercise, lounging, or all of these? If the outdoor living space will serve more than one function, consider designating “zones” for each activity. In my own yard, I want my outdoor living space to work for entertaining and parties.
- Choose a theme – If you have young, active kids and/or pets, this choice may already be made for you – the “something-the-kids-and-animals-can’t-break-and-that-I-can-hose-down” theme. Outside of that, there are furniture and accessory options to suit any taste, from clean and contemporary to richly upholstered and romantic, and everything in between. One of the features of our current house is a large deck, so I plan on finding some comfortable pieces that will make lounging outside as relaxing as can be!
- Start with a focal point, arrange furniture for conversation and congregating, and accent it all with lighting. Do you have a pool or an outdoor fireplace? Those are no-brainer focal points. Maybe you have a stunning view. If you don’t seem to have a natural focal point, you can add one with a fire pit or chimenea. Arrange furniture in ways that encourage conversation – for example, angle chairs toward each other or around a table where you can set drinks and food. See my blog post, “3 DIY Ways to Add Usability and Charm to Your Yard” for easy ways to bring accent lighting to your outdoor living space as well as an overview of local regulations related to outdoor fire features. The focal point in my outdoor living space is a cool propane gas fire pit which I hope to use often!
- Further define spaces, fill in, and bring your theme to life with accessories. All-weather area rugs can anchor your seating, accent pillows can add color and texture, and decorative items such as large wood blocks or ceramic garden stools can serve dual purposes as side tables and extra seating when needed. I have a ton of potted flowers for a bright and cozy appeal and also lots of seating options to carry my theme throughout my outdoor living space, and am planning to add a pergola soon.
I’d love to see pictures of your outdoor living space! Post your photos on our Facebook page. Let me know which of these ideas has been helpful, or share your own tips!
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