Spring has sprung, the temperatures are on the rise, and it’s time to open the doors, get some fresh air, and spend our leisure time outdoors.

What was once simply the backyard or the patio is now an extension of the home. Maximizing the comfort and convenience of that space draws the family outside, creating opportunities for memories and making life much more fun.

Our list is by no means exhaustive, but it might just spark an idea or two (or ten):

  • Define the space – Outdoor dining spot, impromptu gathering area for the neighborhood, sports bar, reading nook, outdoor kitchen, party patio… the options are endless, but articulating that vision before beginning plans can alleviate tons of frustration along the way.
  • Find a focal point – If you have a view, that’s an obvious choice. If your view is nothing more than the neighbors’ backyard, get creative with water features, a garden, fireplace, or even a TV.
  • Create boundaries – Every room has borders. Indoors, the walls, ceiling, and floor of the space create those lines. Outdoors, those delineations must be artificially constructed. If you’re using a screened in porch with a ceiling, the edges are clearer. If you are defining a concrete patio as a room, some creativity is in order. Plantings of shrubbery work, as do railings and fences, but even stringing lights around the perimeter can suffice.
  • Set up the conversation – Even if you have the most stunning view in the neighborhood, setting the furnishings for optimum conversation is key. The view will be memorable, but the time spent with friends, laughing and conversing is where the true fun lies.
  • Add some personality – Art, objects that bring you joy, a pop of color – these are the tools that bring an indoor room to life, and the same is true for the outdoor spaces.

Design your outdoor spaces with the same thought processes that go into the interior areas to create inviting places, ready for family and friends.