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Creating an outdoor living space

If your backyard isn’t relaxation-ready, there are multiple ways to beautify your outdoor space into the perfect getaway, no plane ticket needed.

The beginning of summer marks warmer weather, longer days and, of course, more time outdoors without worrying about cold or rain. When the weather is nice, activities like morning coffee on the porch, dinner on the patio or bonfires on the weekends literally beckon homeowners to bring the indoors out into a convenient living space.

If your backyard isn’t relaxation-ready, there are multiple ways to beautify your outdoor space into the perfect getaway, no plane ticket needed. Whether improvements are DIYed or left to the professionals, all of them will help create a timeless outdoor space with all the comforts of home.

Embrace shade

Summer sunshine after springtime showers can be irresistible, but too much sunshine can pose a significant health hazard to anyone. Shade is non-negotiable in summertime, and there are plenty of ways to add it to an outdoor landscape.

Patio umbrellas are a classic option, but awnings provide maximum protection from sun and rain. Depending on anticipated off-season use, homeowners can choose between retractable and fixed awnings.

In every case, durability is always a priority. Umbrellas, awnings and outdoor furniture should feature durable fabrics that won’t fade, like Sunbrella or Dickson.

Privacy is key

Increase a yard’s privacy level with a few adjustments.

Examine a home’s blinds and curtains for wear and tear. In case of rips, broken slats or uncovered windows, new window treatments can do double-duty in protecting a homeowner’s privacy and increasing energy efficiency by keeping heat out and air conditioning in.

Outside, do a walk-about to assess the yard’s level of privacy. If a fence needs replacement or repair, local professionals may stock taller, opaque models that offer  more seclusion.

Flora and fauna can also help homeowner’s achieve privacy without compromising on aesthetic. Pergolas, arbors and trellises add structure, while climbing plants can fill in the gaps.

Hefty shrubs and bushes can create a lush, natural buffer. Options like lilacs provide dense coverage and bewitching aromas, while forsythia and flowering quince contribute color. Ornamental grasses also serve as a solid backdrop for shorter plants.

New gardeners or homeowners can always rely on the expert advice of local plant nurseries and garden centers.

Stimulate the senses

When it comes to functional living spaces, looks aren’t everything. When creating the perfect outdoor retreat, remember to cater to all five senses.

Smell: include aromatic plants in any green space. Herbs like sage, basil and rosemary are easy to grow in pots or garden beds while also having culinary uses. Flowers like jasmine, gardenia or lily of the valley fill a backyard with magical aromas. The smell of a summertime firepit or woodsmoke immediately invokes summer vibes.

Touch: take care of bare feet when it comes to patios and decks. Nothing derails fun faster than nasty splinters. If a deck is beaten up, consider replacing it. According to Popular Science, there are five choices when it comes to decking materials, each with a range of costs and maintenance needs [pressure-treated lumber, redwood and cedar, tropical hardwoods like Philippine mahogany, plastic or composite decking and aluminum]. Deck experts can go over the options to match a project’s size, style and budget.

Sound: install a water feature for gentle, bubbling background noise. A fountain or waterfall can drown out the roar of traffic thoroughly and peacefully. Hang wind chimes of varying sizes and materials for a spectrum of sound. For low-maintenance tunes, look into wireless outdoor speakers or even a built-in speaker system.

Taste: outdoor kitchens and bars keep the party going on both sides of the screen door. Amenities range from chef-quality appliances to flat-screen TVs so the cook’s experience is just as special as the guests’. If space allows, try planting fruits that can be eaten right off the vine, like strawberries and raspberries.

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