Tips & Tricks for a Small Backyard

Want the backyard of your dreams, but lack the space? For families that living in small spaces, it can be a challenge to enjoy a tiny outdoor space. So how can you stretch a little square footage into a space that rivals the magazines? We are going to show you inexpensive ways to maximize limited outdoor space. Let’s take a look! 
 
1. Take Advantage of the View. 
When arranging your outdoor furniture, you need to capture the widest point of view; therefore, you will need to avoid positioning your furnishing against the house, especially if plants, a fence, or other elements are obscuring the view. Find out what areas in the yard allow for a clear view of the length of your backyard.
 
2. Limit Your Planting.
Since you want to fully enjoy your backyard retreat, you do not want to place too much emphasis on plant life. Sometimes a garden can take up too much space in your backyard. Opt for a few low-maintenance potted or container plants that are a few inches tall. They can be easily moved so that they do not obscure the view, but still, fulfill your need for the wildlife.
 
3. Small Scale Furniture.
When shopping for outdoor furniture, you should lean more towards smaller-scaled furniture for a small backyard. Pick out pieces that feature thin frames and petite seating areas. For example, round bistro-style tables and chairs are perfect for a tiny backyard. Invest in furniture that is multifunctional. Tables that serve as seating options and ottoman style tables that allow you to store items can be a perfect choice! 
 
4. Furnishing Needs.
You will need to consider your furnishing needs before making the final decision. Elaborate outdoor furniture may look stylish but is it ideal for your lifestyle? If you do not plan on entertaining guests, you may be best suited with modest, simple type of furnishing.
 
5. Simple Color Palette.
Keep it simple when coordinating colors for your outdoor living space. Implementing too many different types of accents, colors and plants will make the space look chaotic and disorganized. Choose a couple of your favorite colors, make sure that they harmonize with one another and add in accessories that embrace the palette.
 
Check back weekly for more design tips and tricks! Thanks for reading. 

Budget-Friendly Curb Appeal Updates

Are you looking for budget-friendly and quick updates that make for amazing curb appeal? Then you came to the right place! With our top six tips, you can have your neighborhood’s best-looking home in no time. Let’s take a look! 

Budget-Friendly Curb Appeal Updates:

1. Fresh Coat of Paint.

Oh, the vast wonders that a can of paint can do. Not only is paint valuable on the inside of your home but it can immensely impact your outdoor area and ultimately, increase your curb appeal. For easy and budget-friendly updates, we recommend repainting items like your front door and window shutters, especially if they are in good condition. A simple coat of paint can bring your home back to life. It will help spruce up any unsightly marks and renews the appearance of your home’s exterior. 

2. Updated Hardware

The next step would be to replace outdated hardware like your door handles and house numbers. You will want to replace your door handles once you repaint your door to ensure no paint drips onto your new hardware. Also, it is important to replace house numbers because it is the first thing that guest will see when they come to your home. If you think about it, when you go to a location for the first time, you are essentially looking for their house numbers and in essence, directly at them. That is why you will want to replace rusted or worn-down house numbers with a more trendy set. 

3. New Mailbox

Another simple tip is to replace your current mailbox. An outdated mailbox can bring down your curb appeal without you even realizing it. Luckily, replacing your mailbox can be inexpensive and a quick fix.

4. Plant Flowers & Trees.

There is nothing better than a little nature for a gorgeous, colorful addition to your home’s exteriors. Try to incorporate some plants throughout your front yard for a little bit of greenery and beauty. 

5. Upgrade Exterior Lights.

Not only can exterior lights help with safety and security but they can also help your home look better during the nighttime. Plus, you may find it helpful to add a couple of lights surrounding your walkway to help you get to and from your home during the night.

6. Maintenance & Upkeep

Maintenance is an essential part to curb appeal. Without proper upkeep, your yard could become messy and undesirable. Be sure to mow your lawn, rake away leaves, and sweep away debris from your sidewalk to keep your home’s exterior in tip-top shape. 

We hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks and that your home becomes your neighborhood’s shining star. Be sure to check back weekly for more design and decorating advice. 

Get Your Patio Updated!

Summer is already here! While you may have been procrastinating getting the patio squared away so far, it’s now time to shift your focus to this great entertainment space. Summer is a time to gather outside with friends and family, share a meal and enjoy the sunshine. While the cooler months may keep you indoors, summertime helps spread your home’s square-footage out a little more so you and guests have more room to relax.  Here are some tips to get this vital space ready to receive guests so all you have to worry about is how much fun you’ll be having.

 

Organization is your first task. Wayward items have a tendency of finding themselves in odd spaces when life becomes busy and the first place they end up is in rooms that are not seeing as much use. It gives the homeowner time to get things out of their way without putting it away. Now it’s time to clean that mess up. Place items in their proper storage units and survey the things that do belong in the room. Is there anything that can be thrown away from overuse or damage from previous seasons? Now is the time to remove it.

 

Next, set any damaged but salvageable pieces aside so you can repair them.  Place them in an area where they are out of the way but will not be forgotten. Make a list of items needed to fix them and go out as soon as you can to get them. Capitalizing on your momentum is what will see you through this project from beginning to end. Once you’ve got everything in working order, it’s time to clean the area.

 

Wipe down plastic surfaces, clean or update your seat cushions and throw pillows and place some fresh potted plants throughout the space. Be sure to wipe down tables and chairs so guests won’t stain their hands when touching patio surfaces. If you have an outdoor rug, give it a good vacuum. For outdoor grilling areas, be sure to wipe down food preparation areas and clean grilling utensils as well as your grill rack. 

 

Now get out there and enjoy the rest your summer!

Inexpensive Porch Makeover

Porches are a long-time American favorite for homeowners who just love being outdoors. From reading a good book to conversations with friends, porches have a special place in all of our hearts. If you want to spruce up your porch for summer, we have five budget-friendly suggestions that will not break your bank. 

 

Five Suggestions for an Inexpensive Porch Makeover:

  1. A reason to keep your head up: Porches are perfect for enjoying the warm summer months without having to be exposed to harsh sun rays. We are able to enjoy the beautiful weather because of the porch’s roof. You can paint the ceiling of the roof with a fun color to add uniqueness to the outdoor space. Guests’ eyes will be drawn to colorful statement piece and it can add brightness on gloomy days.
  2. Let’s hang around: Hanging plants are gorgeous and can bring serenity into the outdoor space. Try incorporating some hanging plants in a cluster, all with different lengths and styles. The hanging plants can add greenery and beauty quickly to your space without costing a lot of money. 
  3. Mood swings: We mean the good kind of mood swing, of course. Adding a swing can easily turn a bad day into a great day. Swings are proven to help create relaxation just with a few simple pushes. If you are looking to save money, look for older, used swings from thrift stores and just apply a few coats of new paint. 
  4. Favorable finishes: If you have porch furniture, add some pillows and throw blankets on top of the couches and chairs. They will help give the outdoor space a more cozy and lived-in look. Add some outdoor candles to bring warmth to your outdoor escape.
  5. Timeless touch-ups: House numbers, the front door, and the porch’s exterior paint can be touched up to improve the appearance and quality of your porch. A new front door may be the most expensive suggestion, but take the time to save money for this investment. Buy some new house numbers that tie in well with your outdoor space and apply paint touch-ups wherever needed on the porch’s exterior. 

 

We hope you take advantage of these simple suggestions and enjoy a relaxing, peaceful summer on your porch. 


Outdoor Entertaining

It is officially the season for barbecues, pool parties, and outdoor entertainment. With the weather warming up, homeowners can look forward to having the chance to entertain outdoors. It is no secret that with hosting guests comes a lot of time and planning. Put your mind at ease this summer by following our easy guide to having an outdoor party. 

 

Guide to Entertaining Outdoors:

  1. Invites. With every great party comes a guest list. First, you will need to decide on the size of your party. Who are you inviting to the party: is it family only? After you decide on how many people you are inviting, you can set a theme. Are you planning on having a barbecue, pool party, dinner party, etc.? Are children invited?
  2. Seating. Unless you are planning on having everyone stand the entire time, it is important to make sure you have enough seating options for guests. Things to consider are: if people will outdoors the entire time or if you are having the party be inside and outside. If you are having the party inside and outside, you can get away with providing less seating outdoors. If you are having the party only outdoors, consider a number of people coming and where you want them all to sit. 
  3. Tables. You can set the table similar to how you set your table inside. But instead of using cloth napkins, use paper napkins to make it more casual. If you have enough placemats, incorporate them into the table’s design. Try adding a fun centerpiece from your house to draw guest’s eyes towards the tables. 
  4. The Meal. If you are serving food outdoors, make sure to place it in a shady area. Avoid direct sunlight because it can cause your vegetables to wilt. Your best bet is to serve food that is good at room temperature (grilled kebabs, noodles, beans, etc). 
  5. Lighting. Light up the night with some stringed lighting and candles. You can string the lighting throughout your trees, bushes, and fence. Your candles can serve as a centerpiece during the day and light up your space at night. Try incorporating some insect repelling candles to avoid having your guests get bitten. 
  6. Decor. You can decorate the party with your indoor decorations to save time and money. Take some of your favorite decor pieces from inside and incorporate them into the outdoor’s design.

 

You can have an outdoor party for basically any reason nowadays. From graduations to get-togethers, our outdoor entertainment guide can help you create the ultimate party. 


Fall Date Nights

Fall has arrived and with Halloween just around the corner it is the perfect time of year to start thinking about fun dates that can help to spice things up during the cold months. Besides, after all of the summer months of hot weather, it will be nice to get out into the fresh, crisp fall weather. 

 

Especially with it being so close to Halloween, a little fright night might be just the thing to bring you and your partner closer. A haunted house is just the thing to add some thrills to the holiday season. Grab a bite to eat before and then head to the haunted house for a some fun scares. If your town doesn’t do haunted houses look into haunted hayrides. The haunted hayrides may also be more appropriate for nights you can’t find a babysitter and the kids need to come along as well. 

 

Another great date night for the fall is to find the closest apple orchard and take your partner apple picking. It’s the perfect activity to enjoy sparks between you, as you stroll through the apple orchards in the beautiful fall weather. With nothing to distract you from one another you are sure to enjoy stimulating conversation with one another while getting in a leisurely workout outside. To top the night out, bring the apples back and bake a delicious apple pie you can enjoy together.

 

 

Finally, what else could be better then spending the night carving pumpkins with each other. Perhaps carve them over your favorite scary movies, but be careful for the jump scares when you are using your pumpkin carving knife. Once you have your carvings perfected, roast the seeds for a side snack for the rest of your night. If you have children, you can include them too! Just be sure to chose a scary movie more geared towards their appropriate age. The kids are sure to love the roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Whether you chose a romantic date night for just you and your partner to enjoy welcoming fall, or you also include the kids in on the fall fun, you are sure to have a great night out enjoying the cool fall weather.

Planning for Summer Outdoors

Cooler weather doesn’t mean that it is too early to begin planning and decorating your outdoor living space, sun porch or front porch. The cooler months of spring are the perfect time to assess what you have, what still works and what you will need to replace for this summer.

 

Outdoor furniture may need to be replaced more frequently than the furniture inside your home since it is exposed to the elements. Rain and sun can both do damage to outdoor furniture that is made of wood or plastic or painted. Outdoor fabrics are designed to be water resistant and less likely to fade but will eventually show the wear and tear of life outdoors.  Outdoor rugs are similar to outdoor fabric in terms of fading and resistance to water.

 

Wood and metal furniture can be given a second life with a coat or two of spray paint. Prepping the chair or table to remove any dirt and rust is a must for the paint to adhere. A light sanding can also roughen the surface to accept the new layer of paint. There are even spray paints designed to work on plastic that can be a great option for plastic patio furniture.

 

Once you know what outdoor furniture and accessories you can still use this coming summer you’ll know what you need to buy new.  Planning your budget and shopping early will help you get the right piece and stay within your budget.

Pool should Integrate with your Home

If you want to add a pool or any backyard feature to your home, think about more than the addition itself. It needs to connect to your home and the other elements in your yard.

This pool addition was designed to take full advantage of a natural nook created by the home’s architecture.

The stone chosen for the pool surround was extended all the way to the foundation of the home, making the space feel like an inviting oasis in the yard. By centering the pool, visitors have plenty of space to move around it from the French doors. A wider section of stone on the far side of the pool provides space for a couple of lounging chairs.

The choice of stone was smart. It has enough variation to handle this large an installation, and is versatile enough to work on the columns holding the patio cover. The light tone provides an effective contrast to the dark wood surrounding the windows and doors.

Another fun design element is the choice of thatch as a patio cover. It adds a tropical flavor and softens the design. A small splash of green toward the far side of the pool provides a cool contrast to the light stucco wall.

Remember this pool as you plan your own. You can see that by using stone or tile for your patio and repeating the style with your pool surround and trim, the new addition will feel like a fundamental part of your home.

Bring the Beach to your Patio

Whether you live near the beach or not, you can create your version of this inviting scene on your own patio.

Let’s consider the design elements that make this beach so inviting. The sand underfoot in a light neutral color provides a nice contrast to the dark natural wood tables and chairs. Candles and other outdoor lights allow gatherings to continue after the sun goes down. Finally, a few touches of color from the flags in the background brighten up the scene.

Although completely different in location, this patio has elements that connect it to the beach above. To start, the travertine pavers that make up the patio have a natural feel and mimic the color of clean bright sand. For patio furniture, the oiled teak here has the same natural wood contrast as the twig tables and chairs on the beach. Once again, the patio has a much sleeker and more finished look than the beach, but that is appropriate to its location.

In place of the beach flags, throw pillows add that splash of color that brings this outdoor space to life. Yellow, green and red solids bring that mood home with simple weather-resistant solid fabrics.

All that’s left is to capture the lighting from the beach scene. A few candles and some outdoor light strings will make this patio ready for a party as the sun goes down.

Thatched Roof

More and more, outdoor rooms are replacing standard back patios. With the rich variety of sun-safe fabrics and weather resistant outdoor furniture and rugs, space outdoors can rival indoor common rooms for comfort and style.

As these changes occur, designers develop ways to make each outdoor living and entertaining area unique. This is a good example of capturing a mood by borrowing from the building approaches of other countries.

Thatch roofs have been used in countries across Europe and Africa. The lath and thatch roof shown here is beautiful and sturdy enough to last through many rainy seasons.

Using rattan for the furniture works well as a linking element with the roof. Both colors and textures of the two features reflect each other.

The cushion colors chosen bring rich dark reds into the space. The flexible neutrals of the primary elements allow colors to change whenever desired just by recovering the cushions and possibly adding some linens to the dining table in the background.

In contrast, the smooth columns and framing supporting the roof bring light into the space and connect it with the home in the background. An intriguing tile mosaic on the back wall provides weather-safe art.

Finally, the strong pattern of the tile floor pulls everything together. Tile provides its own drama in the space, with its mix of rectangles and squares, two-tone ceramics and dark grout.