By Lorraine Allen
Now that the weather is warmer, everyone is excited to enjoy more time playing and relaxing outside. And it’s the perfect time to focus your energy on sprucing up your outdoor space, whether it’s a small or large porch, patio, roof deck, or full yard. Whatever you have to work with, it doesn’t take much time, money, or effort to create a cool, fresh space you and your family can enjoy. Here, nine easy ways to do this.
Toss out any broken, cracked pots, and put away yard tools and kid toys. They don’t belong there, they take up valuable space, and they don’t bring anything to the party, that’s for sure. If you must keep the toys there, get a sturdy weatherproof bin with a lid to store them. This can double as a bench to sit on, if you get a cushion that fits on top!
A quick cleanup is also a fun family project. Working together will get everyone excited to enjoy your outdoor space more in the coming months.
Decorate With Greenery
Next, spruce up your space and green it with some of your favorite potted plants. You can fit several varieties of plant, of different heights, in each planter to maximize the “wow” factor, and make the most of their space at the same time. You can also use hanging planters, which trail down and form a sort of green curtain that’s lovely too. If space is really tight, consider a vine like a perennial rose or an evergreen ivy that can climb right up a wall. These spread quickly, add a dramatic, lush look, and are easy to grow, all at once.
Use Your Patio Walls
If space is tight, or you are looking for a more unique and dramatic flair that’s easy to achieve, hang something on the wall. An old mirror works well, reflecting light and adding depth. You can also consider vertical planters, which hang right on a wall like a painting and require more effort and skill to set up and maintain, but really add something special to any space.
Bring in Water
You can’t go wrong adding a water element to your outdoor space. You can find wall fountains or standalone fountains of any size these days. Or, just set out a birdbath that you fill with fresh water every few days to welcome more beautiful birds to your garden, so you can enjoy them as you relax outside. Bonus: Butterflies love them too!
Add a Rug
Outdoor rugs can withstand all the traffic and any bad weather you might have this summer. They are durable, inexpensive, and come in many patterns, colors, and sizes. And they really help create a welcoming seating area on your deck, porch, or patio with no effort at all!
Get Some Cushions
Some colorful outdoor cushions are crucial -- and pretty much all you need -- to make your outdoor space feel cozy and inviting. Even if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on large outdoor furniture, simple wooden benches, stools, or old chairs all work just fine with some cushions for comfort. Like rugs, these can be found in any colors you like best.
Boost Your Lighting
Nothing adds romance, ambiance, and a warm, beautiful glow to an outdoor space the way lights do. String lights work well, as do lanterns, and even fire pits, which come as standalones or integrated into the middle of garden tabletops.
For tiny spaces, you can use candles and glass hurricane lamps, which keep the flames going even when a nice breeze picks up, and reduce the risk of an accidental fire too. Plus, you can fill the glass bottoms with pretty things like sea shells, pebbles, or pine cones for an added touch.
Paper lanterns add an extra festive touch. There’s something magical about a lantern swinging in the breeze. You can just hang a couple at different heights around your patio or porch, or get a string of them. (Some come with lights inside -- in that case, just make sure they are outdoor lights.)
Get a Hanging Bench or Hammock
A hammock, swing, or hanging bench is perfect for relaxing — truly, deeply relaxing — or even napping or snuggling your loved one outside on a balmy day. We had a couple growing up, and I remember spending hours there, dreaming away, with a book, or snack, or just a blanket for extra comfort. If you have room for one of these, you’ll never regret getting it!
How have you easily, quickly and affordably spruced up an outdoor space?
Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.