Your backyard space is an important area of your home, both from a personal standpoint as well as when considering increasing the value of your property. Sadly many homeowners only do the bare basics of landscaping, decking, or perhaps install a pool, but leave it at that. It comes as no surprise that thoughtful design is just as important in creating comfort zones in your backyard just as it is in your home.
If your backyard isn't the calming oasis you wish it to be, here are 5 ideas for making this space look like it belongs in a magazine.
Style Your Deck with Interior Design in Mind
One of the top tips for creating a comfort zone surrounding your deck is to get rid of the notion that interior design ideas don't apply outdoors. If you flip through any home or landscaping magazine you will find something in common with many of the decks and patios. More often than not the decks follow some type of decor theme and feature quality matching furniture.
Replace old or dated patio furniture with new, modern pieces. Wicker or mission patio furniture looks particularly beautiful. Invest in comfortable cushions in an attractive color as well. A loveseat is a welcome addition to normal chairs and can be made quite cozy with throw pillows. A small coffee table with a water-resistant outdoor rug finishes the look. Essentially you are replicating how you might style a livingroom, but with patio or outdoor-appropriate choices instead.
Don't forget some container plants and flowers as a finishing touch.
Construct a Pergola as an Outdoor Room
Photography © Ben Chandler Landscape and Garden Design
Say you have a spacious backyard and are unsure of what to do to fill it. After all, a lush green lawn looks beautiful, but also fairly boring. In addition to your deck or patio, you can create another comfort zone by constructing a pergola.
Pergolas are freestanding structures that are essentially a room, but without walls or a ceiling. Despite being fairly simple in design they make a tremendous visual affect as many associate pergolas with a more luxurious home. Ideally the pergola will be set back from the deck or main outdoor entertaining zone. A cute pathway may lead you to it and the best effect landscaping will have been done to make this area almost seem like a hidden gem.
You can install curtains on certain pergola walls for privacy or use lattice for shading/privacy as well. With some hanging plants, warm lighting, and a comfortable patio couch to finish you won't want to leave.
Install a Relaxing and Intriguing Water Feature
Include a Firepit for Evening Gatherings
Photography by Helen Fielding, designed by Darren Saines
On the opposite end of the spectrum from a water feature is a fire feature. Whether it's a portable model or a permanent in-ground fire pit, there is nothing quite as nostalgic and cozy as gathering around a fire.
Portable firepits can be found in a variety of designs and are a good choice for small backyards or for families that don't often enjoy a fire. If you have space in your backyard you can easily have a permanent fire pit built. Add some comfortable seating around it and perhaps a small table for holding beverages or snacks. Gathering around a fire in fall or even just during a chilly summer night can be romantic for you and your partner or serve as a fun place for all ages to share stories and roast s'mores.
Establish an Inviting Outdoor Kitchen Set Up
If you don't think kitchen and comfort go together, think again. The standard home may only have a simply grill setup for cooking and that's it. If you and your family enjoy cooking, especially cooking for guests, than establishing an outdoor kitchen set up is a superb idea.
Having a contractor build a freestanding island for food prep is ideal, especially if you can add bar stools to the other side for dining space. You can have your grill built into this counter space as well as have a built-in pizza oven. Having an outdoor bar-style mini-fridge also means you can reduce trips into the kitchen to get drinks. An outdoor kitchen is a natural space to hang out, make good food, and really turn mealtime into a social experience.
A well-designed backyard will naturally beckon your family and friends outdoors, making your efforts as a host or entertainer that much easier. Consider that upgrading your backyard and creating comfort zones has other benefits as well. Many health authorities recommend that people, particularly those that deal with stress often, spend more time outdoors to improve their mental wellness. Create a backyard that invites relaxation and you might just find that those busy days are just a little less taxing.