Some of the best outdoor living designs not only give your home a fresh, updated appearance but also expand your living space. Adding durable and stylish furnishings to an outdoor lounge area increases your home’s appeal and raises the comfort quotient. You can create an inviting all-weather seating area for family gatherings and entertaining, punching it up with a focal feature such as a fire pit or fountain. Patio screens can protect you from the weather and pesky bugs. We’ve put together some tips and ideas below to help you customize your outdoor space for optimum comfort, beauty and style.
How are you going to use the unique space you’re creating? If you enjoy gathering around a table for drinks or cards, invest in a comfortable table and chairs. Modern outdoor fabrics are designed to resist mildew and fading, and sturdy woods like redwood, cypress and teak last for a long time, even in climates with high humidity or cold weather. If you plan on larger gatherings, a bench that runs along the perimeter adds tons of seating and provides a focal point for planters and outdoor art objects.
Does your recreation space need to coordinate with the style of your house? Probably not. As long as the area includes a cohesive design and well-matched features and furnishings, there’s no need to limit yourself to just one style. Your design can include wicker, stone, wood, outdoor fabrics and other materials. Warm neutrals with an occasional pop of color will complement any home. But you don’t have to play it safe; if vibrant colors and funky patterns appeal to you, go for it!
Patios, lanais and porches across the country are dotted with fire pits. Style and function range from a simple circle of stone to a built-in fire pit with edge seating. A fire feature provides a cozy gathering spot for the family and gives warmth in the cooler months. A gas fire pit can easily be adjusted from a small flicker to a high, mesmerizing flame, and a glass bead gas fire pit adds a touch of color and interest to any porch or patio.
A fountain is also a style feature that’s easy to coordinate with your décor. A modern, multi-level copper fountain and a kitschy frog spouting water from its mouth will both provide the soothing sound of trickling water. A wall-mounted TV is a draw for family movie nights and football games. And if you have the room and enjoy cooking outdoors, consider the culinary flair of an outdoor kitchen.
Those with a green thumb might decorate with hanging vines and potted plants. Sunny spots are ideal for kitchen gardens filled with fresh herbs. A string of tiny outdoor lights across the ceiling adds charm and provides low lighting for nighttime gatherings. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination!
Try a Trellis
To get the most out of your new entertaining space, you’ll want to be able to use it in all kinds of weather. Adding protection from rain and wind is a good first step. Pergolas and canopies offer varying degrees of coverage, and they also provide shade on hot, sunny days. Another idea is to include a trellis on one or two sides of your outdoor space for privacy and protection from the weather.
Trellises are made from many materials, including wrought iron, bamboo and classic white painted wood. A lovely finishing touch to your trellis could be the addition of climbing vines that will entwine with the trellis frame as they grow. Climbing jasmine does well in milder climates and can be trained to grow in a pattern. As a bonus, it gives off a delightful fragrance. In colder climates, honeysuckle is a hardy flowering vine that dies back in the winter and returns every spring.
Give Some Love to a Lanai
Enclosing your outdoor living area is the ultimate step in creating a space for year-round enjoyment. If your home has a covered patio or porch, you’re already halfway there. You can enclose your outdoor relaxation space with motorized patio screens that block the sun, wind and rain as needed. The patio screens are easy to raise, lower and adjust using a remote control. They also come in a range of colors that enhance your décor while adding a barrier that keeps out biting insects.
A step up from patio screens, vinyl motorized screens give you the most protection from the weather. Clear vinyl panels roll up and out of the way when they’re not needed and showcase an unobstructed view when they’re automatically lowered. This type of covering keeps cold air out while allowing sunlight to warm the enclosed area. For a true four-season outdoor living space, you can even install patio screens and vinyl shades together. That way, you’re all set, whatever the weather.