Thursday, March 23, 2017

Parenting Pointers: How to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Drool-Worthy Entertaining Haven

By Abbey DeHart

With spring right around the corner, this is the time of the year when most homeowners start turning their attention to their outdoor spaces. Whether you’re outside working on landscaping or touching up paint, one of the easiest ways to turn your home into a great entertaining space is to focus on your patio or deck area. People love coming to a cozy outdoor space—here’s how to make one in your own backyard.

1.     Choose an inviting color palette.

When starting your outdoor design, the first thing to consider is the colors you want to use. Are you going for bright and colorful options? Sticking with neutrals? Leaning towards the rustic look, with lots of natural tones and combinations of wood and metal?

If you’re unsure about which color to choose, Alexa Collins of Homelight suggests going with yellow: “Real estate agents get behind yellow for curb appeal color. Often associated with encouragement and happiness, yellow can subconsciously send positive energy,” she says.

Once you have a palette in place, search for patio furniture that excites you, and start to pull together your outdoor space idea from there. If you already have patio furniture, start looking for ways to add to your existing pieces and create a full set. You may even consider painting or staining your existing set if it’s not exactly what you’re seeking.

2.     Incorporate greenery and plants.

You’ve picked out the perfect patio furniture with great pops of color. Now what? Often overlooked is the importance of natural elements like greenery. A mixture of potted plants and coordinating shrubbery can add to the overall coziness of your space. Choose both large and small plants, and stagger them at various heights for a more visually appealing effect.

However, don’t go overboard with accessories. “Keep plants and accent pieces to a minimum,” says Collins. “Choose one or two key statement plants (like a large cactus or lemon tree, depending on your climate) to keep the area as open as possible.”

You might also consider plants that are helpful to have in an outdoor entertaining space, such as citronella, which deters mosquitoes and other pests.

3.     Consider your lighting options.

Extend your outdoor living space once the sun sets with lighting. Solar-powered lights will slowly turn on as your guests settle in, while a hanging outdoor light fixture acts as a stunning focal point. For a fun and functional option, create a fire pit seating area to entertain guests. If nothing else, consider adding string lighting under your outdoor umbrella to create party-ready ambiance.

4.     Add patterns and accessories.

The attention to detail in a space can take it from “just okay” to cozy and inviting, so warm up your space with lively details. Throw an outdoor rug under your patio table and place funky, patterned outdoor pillows on your sofa. For even more personality, try fun seating ideas like a hammock or hanging chairs.

5.     Add a “wow” factor to your outdoor space.

If you want your patio to stand out in your guests’ minds, think outside the box and make it uniquely yours. Add a focal point that represents your personality and serves as a defining feature in your backyard.

·       Are you an avid birdwatcher? Add bright-colored birdhouses to your backyard, or hang several decorative hummingbird feeders around your windows.

·       Got a green thumb? Grow a hanging garden on your fence or trellis.

·       Love to cook? Plant an herb garden or purchase an outdoor pizza oven to wow your guests with homemade treats.

Whatever the case may be, make the space uniquely yours with something that is sure to catch your guests’ attention and keep them coming back.

Do you have any tips or things that you’ve done to make your outdoor space stand out? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

Abbey DeHart is a working mother of two who writes for Plaid Crafts, Angie's List, HomeRight and The Home Depot about home decor, fun crafts to do with her and other DIYs. She provides great tips on how to create an outdoor living space with patio furniture, accessories and lighting. You can find more outdoor patio furniture ideas at The Home Depot.

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