Upgrade Your Backyard “Living Room”

By Kristie Moore

The idea of DIY has changed considerably in recent years, both inside and outside of the home. Design shows, Pinterest and online video tutorials have expanded the possible options and desires of the average homeowner. The availability of these resources has enabled homeowners to reimagine their properties like never before. When approaching improvements from a creative edge, even modest homes and tight budgets can be transformed into luxurious living.  

Warm weather means spending more time outside. Spring is the perfect time to shake off the winter doldrums and evaluate how you are using your outdoor spaces. Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. Start by assessing your backyard to determine what needs your attention, then after that… dream a little. Consider your spatial reality, lifestyle, interests and budget. A great place to begin is with a deck or patio. Enhancing this space by creating an outside “living room” will not only add enjoyment to your life, it will add resale value to your home.

5 Budget-Friendly Backyard Upgrades
1. Enhance and update the surface. There are a variety of ways to enhance your deck or patio. Decks can be power-washed, stained or sealed. If your deck is no more than three feet off the ground, upgrade the look and function by removing the traditional railing and adding long steps the entire width of the deck down to the yard. This will not only look great, it will add extra seating. Patios made of concrete can be power-washed, stained or resurfaced with stone or pavers. Whether you improve or update the surface, try adding a large outdoor area rug to define the space and add a feeling of cozy opulence.

2. Create mood lighting. Any space, either inside or out, has better ambiance with subdued lighting. String bistro lights overhead, add candles to table tops, or consider outdoor solar lights along pathways and hanging solar globes in trees.

3. Fill your space with sound. Like lighting, music adds wonderful ambiance and sets the mood. There are many options available for every budget, from inexpensive Bluetooth speakers to sophisticated all-weather, landscape-integrated speakers.

4. Add color and life. Nothing adds vibrancy like a variety of healthy plants and shrubs. Mix colors, shapes and textures for the greatest interest. Group clutters of pots in a variety of heights to add drama and simplify watering. Spruce up your lawn with fresh grass seed and natural fertilizers, especially at the start of the season. 

5. Bring the inside out. Enjoy this space like you enjoy your living room. Don’t be afraid to bring out pillows, throw blankets, ottomans, end tables, lamps, even an occasional—relocating the kitchen table and chairs for a larger group on a special occasion. Borrowing these inside treasures creates instant upgraded luxury. Can you leave these items out permanently? No, but the extra effort and vibe it creates during special get-togethers is so worth it. 

Does your house have a sunny side? Invest in one or two large cantilever umbrellas, or if budget allows, a pergola. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can range from preconstructed to DIY kits. Constructing a pergola will really give the feeling of an actual “living room” in your backyard. 

Kristie Moore is a certified home stager and stylist @ Soul Purpose Home Solutions www.soulpurposehome.com