From patios to backyards, many homeowners have outdoor spaces that end up underutilized. We're here to remedy that with these simple ideas to help make your outdoor space the place to be.
1. Light it up!
Nothing will make your outdoor space more inviting in the evenings than good lighting—and a bonus of great light fixtures will be an increase in your home’s value (like curb appeal). Depending on your home’s setup and your personal style, you can choose from many different options. Try setting up landscape lighting around walking paths or yard fixtures—or invest in a pleasant hanging lamp-fan combo for your porch.
If you have a good place to hang them—such as a pergola or gazebo, or between two trees—string lights are a trendy option. They can be pretty affordable, and some are even solar-powered!
Pro tip: Concerned about mosquitos killing your outdoorsy vibes this summer? Try a citronella candle, or—for a more natural option—buy or create a mixture of lavender and eucalyptus oils you can apply to your skin. (If you have pets, though, be mindful when using essential oils(opens in a new tab).) If neither of those options do the trick, you may even consider paying a professional to spray your yard. If you go with this option, keep these mosquito spray safety tips(opens in a new tab) in mind.
2. Get into some games
If you’re not familiar with cornhole, you don’t know what you’re missing! It’s a simple beanbag-tossing game that uses two slanted boards with holes. Standing on opposing sides, you score points by getting your beanbags onto the board or into the hole. Give it a shot with some friends—you’re bound to have some fun. Many players order custom-designed boards online for some extra flair, but you can also find generic game sets in many sporting goods stores.
Another booming favorite outdoor game is KanJam. Similar to cornhole, you set up the goals—two large plastic cans with slots—at opposing sides, and work with a partner to throw a flying disc into the cans. If you get it directly into the slot, it’s game over! Like cornhole, you can also order a KanJam set online or look for one at your local sporting goods store.
If you’re not into setting up cornhole boards or KanJam, you can always keep it simple by having a good football or Frisbee to toss around—or a soccer ball to kick back and forth—when you have people over.
3. Dance the night away with Bluetooth speakers
Home audio has come a long way in recent years, and that includes a bustling marketplace for weatherproof, wireless speakers that can blend in naturally with any outdoor space. With a smartphone or other connected device, you can create playlists of your favorite songs or even let your friends DJ by setting up a collaborative playlist with an app like Spotify. You’ll be amazed how a simple Bluetooth speaker can help set a relaxing, intimate mood—or make your backyard party central.
Search online or at your local home improvement store to browse speaker styles that either blend in or (if you prefer) stand out. Some people use Bluetooth speakers indoors and simply take them outside when they want, but if you plan to use yours outside all the time, make sure they're weatherproof.
4. Gather 'round a fire pit
Nothing brings people together (and keeps pests away) like the cozy warmth of a fire—and you don’t have to build a potentially dangerous bonfire to make this happen in your own backyard.
There are many different styles of fire pits. Some come standalone, while others come built directly into tables. For a more permanent and attention-getting home upgrade, some can even be built into the ground or blended in as a landscaping feature.
Whatever your style, one of the most important distinctions when choosing a fire pit is to decide whether you want the convenience of a gas-fueled pit versus a wood-burning pit. There are pros and cons to each, so do a little research to figure out your preference.
Search online or at your local home improvement store to get an idea of which type is right for you. And—regardless of your experience level—remember to always practice proper fire pit safety precautions(opens in a new tab).
Whether you’re more into relaxing quietly on your own or making your home the neighborhood hangout spot, these ideas are sure to help you make the most of your home’s outdoor spaces.
Keep it up. You're getting smarter about home buying.
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