For many homeowners, the backyard starts as a blank slate. Transforming it from your everyday yard to an outdoor oasis is a great way to get the most out of your property and add to its value. When your greenspace feels like an extension of your home, you’ll be more likely to spend time outdoors making memories with family and friends. But even the most well-appointed alfresco living spaces can feel cold and uninviting. If a cozy, welcoming feel is what you’re after, you’ll love the following ideas, which prove that it doesn’t take a ton of money or effort to make your outdoor space pop.
Get Fired Up with a Fire Pit—A fire pit is an amazing way to, quite literally, bring a warm and inviting feel to the backyard. The cool thing is, these days you don’t have to go full-on bonfire to bring a little bit of fireside charm to your entertainment space. A small, self-contained fire pit table is all you need. Don’t forget the roasting sticks!
Freshen Up the Furniture—If your goal is to re-inspire the backyard without spending a ton of money, focus on the furniture and décor you already own. There’s an endless amount of information out there on how you can restore outdoor furniture yourself, whether you’re refinishing that old wood patio set or giving your retro aluminum furniture a fresh coat of spray paint.
Add Ambiance with String Lights—String lights seem to be just about everywhere these days, and there’s a simple reason why: They’re an incredibly easy, approachable and affordable way to bring some big-time charm to the backyard. Whether you wrap them around poles and trees or create an illuminated, overhead canopy, outdoor string lights will help you double-down on charm.
Hang 10 in a Hammock—Everyone loves a hammock. These backyard staples are designed to create an impromptu place to relax and reflect, and they’re not bad for reading a good book, either. We love the idea of choosing a patterned, fabric hammock to bring a comfortable, indoorsy feel to your patio or yard.
Dream Up More Seating—The great thing about the great outdoors is that even if you’re working with a small, urban lot, there’s usually plenty of space to work with. Seating is an important part of making any space more hospitable, and it helps when you think outside the box. We love the idea of building a circular bench around your favorite tree or installing a swinging sofa on the patio.
Have a Cocktail or Two—Relax and unwind after a long day with a tropical cocktail in your very own backyard. How? With a DIY outdoor bar, of course! You can create one-of-a-kind entertaining stations yourself using some plywood, aluminum sheets and other raw materials or go full-blown countertop with stacked stone or brick. Add a few bistro tables and lounge chairs with cup holders and you’re all set!
Don’t Forget the Flooring—Inside our homes, flooring is often one of the biggest costs and considerations, in part because it sets the stage for the entire space. Don’t forget the flooring outside, either. Covering your patio or porch with an outdoor rug is a great way to bring the warmth of the indoors out.
Add Personality with Potted Plants—Why would you need potted plants on the patio when, in theory, there are plants everywhere around you? For most homeowners that’s true, but those of us working with plenty of concrete and brick can really benefit from a plant or two. You can also use the patio or porch as a place to start an herb garden so that you always have fresh herbs and spices on hand.
Cozy it Up with Plush Pillows—Another great way to bring an indoor feel to your exterior space—and to liven up your drab outdoor furniture while you’re at it—is to pepper your patio set with comfy, plush pillows and cushions. The right outdoor patio pillows will bring a comfortable feel and a stylish aesthetic, helping you achieve a truly comfortable and inviting feel.
Revitalize and Re-Cushion—On the same note, it’s not a bad idea to step back and re-evaluate your current patio cushion scenario. Do the cushions look dull, faded and plain-old uninviting? Does the color or pattern simply not jive with your vision? Some brand-new patio cushions may be all your seating space needs for a quick facelift!
Dazzle with Outdoor Artwork—Look at every surface in your exterior environment—the side of the house, the shed, the fence and even trees—as opportunities for décor. But remember, as with any decorating endeavor, less is more. One or two statement pieces, such as a garden sculpture or an original piece of outdoor artwork, will seal the deal and make your space super-homey.
Cook for a Crowd—They say a good cook never lacks friends. And there’s nothing more inviting than the sweet smell of the barbecue or charcoal grill! If you’re in the market for something even more unique and permanent, consider installing an outdoor wood-fired oven. These ovens are amazingly DIY-friendly and can usually be built with low-cost materials.
The goal of any living space is to make it a comfortable, enjoyable place to spend time. If you rarely find yourself soaking up the fresh air in your backyard, then it may be worth your while to put a little bit of thought into making it more inviting for you and your guests. At the end of the day, you don’t have to sink a ton of money into new furniture or landscaping to achieve a cozier backyard. These simple tips will help!
Author bio: Chris Hoffman is the founder of Backyard & Pool Superstore currently based outside of Dallas, TX. Backyard & Pool Superstore is an e-commerce leader in backyard, pool, spa, grill & patio products. Before starting Backyard & Pool Superstore, Chris has had 10 years of retail, construction, manufacturing and distribution experience in the swimming pool & spa industry. When Chris isn’t working, he moonlights as baseball coach, dance recital standing ovation specialist, husband, and German Shepherd enthusiast.