Posted on 03/13/2016

Homeowner DIY: How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Area

4 minute read

Many homeowners spend countless hours rearranging and remodeling the interior of their home, but come springtime, transition from indoor to outdoor living. Spending time outdoors doesn’t mean having to forfeit the comforts of the indoors. Add value to your yard, patio, porch or another outdoor area of your home by transforming it into a relaxing but functional, open-air living space.

Image via Pinterest

Appealing Porch

Image via Pinterest

If your front porch is covered, bring the inside outside with furnishings. Add a pop of color to your porch with an outdoor or wool area rug. Set it back from the porch’s edges to keep it safe from the weather elements. You want your porch to serve as an organic extension of your home’s interior decor.

Encourage guests and family to linger on the porch and add rustic charm by installing a slatted-wood porch swing. Subtly light your living area with candle lanterns hung from hooks in the ceiling or place them on end tables or railings. To add privacy, consider large hanging plants.

Pleasing Patio

Create the feel of an outdoor room on your patio by using the exterior of your home as a partition. A row of potted plants along the perimeter of the patio and an overhead pergola can help create an encompassed feel.

This Old House suggests:

  • Using a mirror to reflect and create the illusion of a window into another room of your home by hanging a wall-hung mirror on your home’s exterior. You can make your own by fitting a cast-off divided-light window over mirror glass.
  • Growing climbing vines over your pergola to provide additional sun and rain protection.
  • Utilize container plants to create an oasis feel on your patio. For limited maintenance, use low-water plants such as sedum and Russian sage.

When placing your patio furniture, remember interior feng shui doesn’t situate all of the furniture against one wall; the same applies for outside. Homeowners often make the mistake of placing all seating against their home’s exterior wall, so add an additional couch and chairs to create an intimate feel in which all of your guests can converse with each other.

Backyard Retreat

When creating a living space in your backyard, it’s important to seek out the elements of fire and water.

Adding a fire element to your backyard instantly provides an inviting, warm area for your family and friends to gravitate. Keep costs minimal with a DIY fire pit or invest in a chiminea, an outdoor fireplace with a short chimney. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s up to local fire codes before making the investment.

If you are hoping to create a tranquil space in your backyard, a water element is a must. Garden ponds are gaining popularity among DIY homeowners, but if you feel the project of a pond is out of your league, a water feature can be as simple as a store-bought fountain.

Decked Out Deck

Image via Pinterest

To create a deck living space that catches your eye, integrate colors, materials, furnishings and decor to easily smooth the transition from inside to out.

Harmonize the deck with the colors of your home by using a stain that echoes the trim paint.  Make a big impact in a small space with a brightly painted piece of furniture, like a turquoise picnic table or coral accent tables.

Maximize a small deck by keeping the eye moving up and down with the illusion of levels. If your deck has steps, line them with containers of plants. If not, create levels by clustering short and tall plant containers and decorative ornaments together.

For more ideas on outdoor living spaces, follow us on Pinterest! Interested in a larger outdoor home project? Download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for ways to incorporate the costs of your home improvement project into your mortgage loan.