Great Outdoor Spaces In 5 Easy Steps!


Could your outdoor space use some sprucing up? 

After a summer outside, or because one lives with year-round sunshine, it’s not uncommon to notice room for improvement in our backyards, literally. Skip the headache with these easy tricks to transform any outside area into an entertainment paradise. 

From high-tech open-air entertainment systems to cozy family retreats, here’s my top five picks to get the job done! These easy tricks transform your patio into an entertainment paradise.

1. CENTRAL THEME; let’s start at the very beginning. What is the goal of this space?  Do you want it to be a place where people come to watch movies, listen to music, and experience the latest in smart features? Or do you want a more low key, escape from it all kind of environment? Determining what you want from this area is crucial to not only product purchase–everything from paint color to sound systems–but also product placement; will you need to build an overhang? Will your neighbors complain about noise reverberation? You can read more about that here.

2. FUNCTIONALITY; If the projector is facing towards the living space, but still gets a glare from the sun, will you need a sun protector? If you enjoy nights on the veranda, but can’t stand mosquitos, do you need a bug zapper? Does the sound of traffic interrupt the tranquility you seek? Maybe you need a water feature. I discuss these issues and more here. 

3. LANDSCAPING; it’s a whole lot more than shrubs these days. Nowadays, landscaping can involve lightscaping, foodscaping, and even homesteading! Making an intricate garden or simply adding a trellis can bring many perks, including an increase to your property value.

4. FURNITURE: Choosing the right furniture involves assessing numbers 1-4 and then selecting pieces that work within the boundaries of each. If you’re going for a sleek, cocktail party ready ambiance, you are going to want monochromatic colors such as white or beige, and materials that are structured in cast aluminum or stainless steel. Of course, if you are aiming for a rustic look, then you may go for crafted White Cedar log swing chairs and decorative throw pillows in burlap or vintage prints on noncorded material.

While we are on the subject of furniture al fresco, the number one complaint I get from clients that stops them from fully enjoying their great outdoor spaces is keeping their furniture clean!

Why do they get dirty? Three keys: location, material, maintenance.

That’s why I came up with a simple three-step guide to purchasing outdoor furniture:

—Establish a location free from tree shedding while also not in the line of fire for sun-fade.  You need shade, you say? Consider a Sunbrella before ignoring this important rule. If you don’t, you will be cleaning up falling chestnuts, pine needles and sap until you give up and watch your furniture deteriorate. Of course, I still suggest you have a designated broom and dustpan on hand. Learn about sap and dirt removal.

—Choose weather and stain resistant fabric to ensure durability, thus longevity for your patio settings. Here’s my Top Eleven Pros and Cons of Fabric Choices.

—A maintenance schedule is key to any great outdoor space. Upkeep is something many people don’t prioritize or even think about. It is important to turn over your pillows, fluff and brush them regularly if not daily. It’s also helpful to have the right cleaning agents for the job. Remember, these items live in nature and are subject to more than stains; think, bird droppings and rust. Investing in plastic coverings is not a bad idea.


5. UPGRADES; it’s not just about adding a swimming pool or tennis court, though those are certainly nice features. Upgrading might mean something as simple as fixing broken pavers or adding a noise-reducing fence. Aside from the fact that any improvement you make on your outdoor space will increase your homevalue, it’s simply nicer to be in a well-maintained environment. Remember shabby chic would just be shabby without the chic, and there is nothing chic about crumbling gravel or sun-browned foliage (think water sprinkler system or drought resistant plants. Or even these awesome artificial plants that can accentuate the natural setting) Learn about upgrade options.

With these five top tips for making your outside sing!

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