Whether you've just moved into a new home or you're trying to improve your home in order to sell it, you can't neglect your outdoor living space. Sure, most of your focus might be on the interior, but you're missing out if you let your backyard (or front yard) stay barren and boring.
But what should you do with that space to make it more livable? How can you make the most of the outdoor space in your family home?
We're here to help. Read on to learn a few ways that new houseowners (or anyone trying to increase the property value of their home) can improve their outdoor space.
Consider a Fruit and Vegetable Garden
If your property has soil that can support it, consider growing fruits and vegetables in a portion of your outdoor living space. There's nothing better than being able to go outside and pick something home-grown that you can cook for dinner.
Fruit and vegetable gardens aren't just functional. They can add a rustic look to your outdoor living space. Growing fruits and vegetables are also a fulfilling and healthy hobby for adults and children alike.
If you don't have a lot of space, or if your outdoor living area is mostly paved, you can get large planter boxes that can support smaller fruits and vegetables, like peppers and tomatoes.
Make The Outdoor Living Space Resemble Your Indoor Space
Many people make the mistake of trying to make their outdoor space look too "outdoorsy" when that doesn't match their aesthetic. Yes, there's nothing wrong with using plastic lawn chairs and wicker-style furniture, but why not upgrade your outdoor sitting area with "real" furniture that mimics what you have indoors?
Bringing the interior of your home outside gives you more flexibility regarding your style and it creates a better space for hosting guests or just relaxing on a warm summer evening.
Outdoor furniture is better than ever. You can find outdoor-friendly L-shaped couches, coffee tables, chaise lounges, and more. The only real difference between outdoor furniture and indoor furniture is the materials that they're made of.
Make sure that you choose fabrics and materials that can stand up to the climate that you live in. It's also a good idea to have a tarp or some kind of overhang so you can protect your furniture during storms.
Consider an Outdoor Kitchen
Speaking of bringing the indoors outside, have you considered an outdoor kitchen? There's nothing better for entertaining guests!
Outdoor kitchens vary in complexity and cost, so there's sure to be something that fits your budget and your space constraints. You can keep it simple with a grill and outside mini-bar or go all-out with a galley-style kitchen.
Some people like putting pizza ovens on their patios because they're not often suitable for indoor spaces. They'll keep you warm while you sit outside and wait for your home-cooked pizza pies.
Again, it's a good idea to set up an overhang over your kitchen to keep it safe from the elements (and it will also allow you to eat outdoors even when it rains).
Improve Your Lighting
This is a good tip for both your front yard and backyard. Improve your exterior lighting! Don't settle for the motion lights that came with the house.
In the front yard, adding ground-level lights in front of your garden or around your driveway will add ambiance and make it easier to see when you come home late at night.
In the backyard, however, you can really get creative.
We love the idea of using globe-style string lights in outdoor spaces. If you have a porch or an overhang, you can string them along just as you would Christmas lights. They'll add a whimsical and warm aesthetic for a low cost.
If you don't have an overhang, you still have options. You can string them through or over your fence. You can also create your own overhead light fixture by setting up simple wooden pillars in a square formation (imagine a canopy) around your patio and connecting the lights overhead.
We also love the idea of delicate string lights wrapped around tree trunks to add a soft glow to your outdoor space.
Have Kids? Make an Outdoor Play Area
If you have small children, we recommend creating a special space just for them. This doesn't mean that you have to neglect your own "grown-up" living space, but it will keep the children happy and give them a great place to play when the weather is nice.
Again, you don't have to sacrifice your personal style for a great play area.
If you're short on space, a single wooden playset is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It's more than enough space for a playful child to climb and have fun.
Consider putting child-friendly plants nearby so the children can learn how to garden. Look for plants that are easy to grow in your climate and set up a small gardening shelf with all of the tools that the child will need to keep the garden alive.
What About a Native Garden?
Speaking of gardening, a native garden is a perfect addition to any outdoor living space regardless of whether or not you have a green thumb.
Native gardens are great for local wildlife (namely, bees!). They're also easy to maintain because those plants are already well-suited to your local climate. While exotic plants might look more interesting, they're not as easy to keep alive.
A green lawn might look nice and clean, but it's not exciting. If you really want to improve your landscape, native plants are the way to go.
Create a Stylish Path
A path that leads either from your front yard to your backyard or your patio throughout the garden is a nice extra touch. It's not necessary, but it will make a big difference.
Most people opt for simple stone or tile paths. Stepping stones are affordable and easy to place, and you can move them around if you get bored of your current set-up (though you may need to plant more grass where you remove the stones).
If you want to get "fancy," we love the idea of archway paths or other overhead paths that lead from the front to the back of the home. Start with a wisteria trellis or a dainty garden archway that leads through a lush and thick garden. End the path in the backyard with another trellis or archway.
This gives the appearance of a "secret garden" and it adds whimsy to any home.
Tips for Small Outdoor Spaces
So what if you don't have room for many of these tips? If you're not lucky enough to have a large and expansive yard, it's okay. There's plenty that you can do even with a small patio (and even if you don't have much (or any) green space).
Here are a few suggestions for a small outdoor living space.
Measure and Plan
When you're trying to decorate a small space, it's more important than ever to measure and plan. We recommend jotting some ideas down on graphing paper so you can get an idea of how much space you're working with and how you'd like to use it.
If you're downsizing, this might mean that you'll have to give up some of your favorite outdoor furniture in order to make the most of your space. When you go to buy new pieces, take your measurements with you.
Use Multi-Functional or Versatile Pieces
Multi-functional furniture pieces are crucial when you only have a small amount of space.
We love outdoor furniture that also functions as storage. If you don't have a storage shed where you can store garden tools, an ottoman or couch that has a hidden storage compartment will make a huge difference.
Modular furniture is also a great idea. Believe it or not, there are outdoor sectional couches, so you can move the pieces around to suit your space.
Utilize Vertical Space
Don't forget vertical space when you only have a small amount of room.
Vertical gardens full of herbs and succulents make great additions to any small patios. You can place them up against a wall for more greenery in a space that doesn't have enough.
Rustic shelves made from ladders are fun DIY projects. You can use them for plants, storage, or other outdoor-friendly accessories that can add a perfect finishing touch to your space.
Make Your Outdoor Living Space Shine
Don't restrict your design skills to your home's interior. Your outdoor living space can be a great place to hang out, relax, and entertain guests. You just have to get creative.
Use these tips to create the outdoor living space of your dreams.
Are you getting ready to sell your home or buy your next dream home? At Hommati, we have a full directory of real estate agents near you. Find your agent today.