Nine Ways to Create a Year-Round Backyard Retreat
Often, people think the extent of their living arrangements stops once they reach the outdoors. In retrospect, the outdoors, namely your backyard and front yard, should reflect a home's aesthetic. Homeowners are discovering the benefits of outdoor living spaces, like:
- Reducing stress and depression;
- Improving immunity;
- Relaxing the eyes from indoor lights;
- And extending the home living space.
Not only does an outdoor living space give homeowners personal and social benefits, but it can also increase the home’s overall value. Many homeowners see outdoor living spaces as an investment and a way to add character to a home.
While many believe that the prime time to spend outdoors is late spring through early fall, a few simple design tricks can extend your patio life into the colder months.
Create Shade and Shelter
Even in the summer, patio dwellers welcome shade from the sun. By setting up an umbrella or pergola, you can enjoy the sun without feeling its damaging effects. Then, in the spring and winter, these patio accessories can be used as a shelter from the elements so you can continue to enjoy the outdoors. Other options include:
- Retractable awnings;
- Pull-down shades;
- Sail shades.
Likewise, vines and trees can be used for shade without compromising the environment. Vines draped around lattices easily blend nature and style together to create an eco-friendly outdoor space that doesn’t take up much room.
Plan Outdoor Lighting
Ambient lighting can help carry the use of the outdoor space well into the evening. Homeowners have many options for outdoor lighting
- Wall lights;
- String lights
- Pendant lights;
- Outdoor ceiling fans;
- Post lights;
- Post cap lights.
There are also lights for safety. For example, floodlights can illuminate the whole backyard for visibility. Waterproof lighting exists as well, in case you live in a rainy climate. If you want to make your home more eco-friendly, consider installing solar lights instead. These will also ensure that you won’t have to remember to change the light bulbs whenever they go out.
Comfortable and Durable All-Year-Round Outdoor Furniture
Nowadays, patio furniture is just as stylish as indoor furniture. Homeowners can even match their outdoor furniture to their inside aesthetic. Though many people look for durability, they don’t want to compromise on comfort. Luckily, most outdoor furniture pieces come with weather-resistant and weather-proof fabrics.
Choosing the right type of patio furniture material will depend on the area you live in. For example:
- Aluminum is lightweight and can withstand rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures.
- Resin wicker can withstand rain, sunlight, and humidity.
- Wood can withstand most climates if sealed correctly.
- Recycled plastic is another good choice for most climates and won’t produce mildew.
- Wrought iron is easy to clean and can withstand sunlight and rain.
- Steel is long-lasting and can withstand rain, humidity, and extreme temperatures.
- Mosaic furniture can double as a piece of art and withstand rain and humidity.
Homeowners can also purchase outdoor carpets, which help keep dirt and debris out of the patio space.
To make the outdoors more enjoyable, consider adding different amenities to your backyard. For example, a spa or water feature is something a family and guests could all enjoy. Keep in mind, both of these amenities require consistent maintenance. For example, fountains need to be kept clean of debris and buildup so they can run smoothly, and should be used with distilled water.
If you are worried about the colder months keeping you inside, fire pits are a relatively easy solution. However, they can also be a safety hazard, and must be watched when they are in use. A low maintenance option could be to install an electric fireplace , which can provide the same heat without the risk of burning through a canopy for filling it with smoke. Similarly, an electric fireplace insert could save more space while still providing the ambiance and comfort of a traditional fireplace.
When winter comes along, it is likely your wall made of vines will no longer thrive. It’s important to have a backup plan as the seasons change so that you and your family can continue to enjoy the outdoors. Consider these options for outdoor privacy:
- An enclosed canopy;
- Screens that can be pulled down;
- Hedge walls;
- Cloth curtains.
These options can be easily switched out when the seasons change, or if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans.
Add an Outdoor Cooking Space
If you enjoy cooking outdoors, then an outdoor cooking space could be a good option for you. Cooking outside helps makes chatting with friends and family on the deck while prepping dinner a memorable event. Having the ability to cook outdoors could also help in the event of a power outage.
Homeowners can adapt to the changing seasons by creating a cover for their kitchen, or learning grilling recipes for different seasons. A heat lamp could help supplement warmth for colder days. Or, simply wear extra layers when cooking outside.
Gardening is not just for summer. There are many seasonal plants or even year-round plants to choose from. Common flowers for each season include:
- Summer: Marigolds, geraniums, vinca, zinnia, inpatients, and cornflowers.
- Fall: Petunias, begonias, nasturtiums, celosias, and calendulas.
- Winter: Stocks, primroses, sweet peas, and flowering kale.
- Spring: Snap dragons, African daisies, sweet alyssums, dianthus, and pansies.
If you don’t wish to do seasonal plants, you could opt for plants that bloom all year round, called perennials. These include coneflowers, Japanese silver grass, and most shrubs.
To maximize your outdoor room’s potential, consider adding electronic entertainment. By adding music or a TV outside, you won’t be confined inside. Some ideas include:
- Inviting friends over for an outdoor movie night, either on a TV, tablet, or computer;
- Hosting a Sunday football party, or any other type of viewing party, like award shows;
- And installing speakers to listen to music.
These types of parties can be enjoyed in the colder months as well. Simply provide blankets and pillows to keep everyone warm. If you have a small space or no place to mount a TV, consider purchasing a TV stand with a built-in fireplace
, so you won’t have to choose between amenities.
Decorate for the Holidays
Having an outdoor space not only helps with extending your holiday decorations, but it also helps strategically place any overflow you might have. For example, if you have a covered area during Thanksgiving, consider showcasing the food out there so it doesn’t take up too much space around the table. Likewise, if you have little ones come over for Christmas who like to play in the snow, a patio could be a nice area for them to dry off and have hot chocolate after.
Outdoor areas can serve many purposes, which can be enjoyed all year-round. With a few design tricks, and ensuring everyone’s comfortability throughout cold and hot months, you can make the most out of your outdoor living area.