The coronavirus pandemic has had us all spending a lot more time at home this year. And as temps get colder and we move deeper into winter, for many of us that will mean spending a lot more time inside. At this rate, by spring we will all be ready to spend as much time outside our homes as we can!
Now is a great time to start thinking about how you can make your yard more livable this spring and summer. Do you have any dreams for your outdoor living space? What would you change about your yard that would make you want to spend more time in it? If you start your planning now, when spring rolls around you’ll be ready to dive into revitalizing your outdoor space.
Here at McDonough we’re always thinking about how to improve outdoor spaces to make them more beautiful and livable. Here are some of our top outdoor living ideas to turn your yard into a space you’ll love living in.
Outdoor Spaces for Year-Round Use
How much fun would it be to be able to host year-round outdoor gatherings complete with heavy-duty blankets, outdoor fireplaces, a stocked outdoor bar…maybe even a wood-fired pizza oven?
There are so many products available to make your patio, balcony, porch or backyard more livable all year long—even in extreme temperatures. Here are a few ideas:
- Heat lamps, fire pits, and outdoor fireplaces to provide heat and ambience
- Retractable shade fixtures like umbrellas and shade sails to help repel hot sun
- Screen in your porch or patio space to keep the mosquitos out
- Outdoor ceiling fans for your covered patio or porch—to cool things off or keep mosquitos away
This list is only the beginning. What would your outdoor space need to make it livable year-round?
Heat Lamps, Outdoor Fireplaces, and Fire Pits
2020 saw a nationwide outdoor heater shortage, so if that sounds like something that would make your outdoor spaces more enjoyable, you’ll want to start shopping early this year. If a fire pit or outdoor fireplace is more your speed, there are so many styles available that it’s easy to find one that suits your preferences and matches your decor.
An outdoor fireplace can provide a warm, welcoming glow for quiet, cold evenings all year long. And for smaller yards or budgets, fire pits provide just as much comforting ambience and plenty of warmth, not to mention the perfect spot to gather with friends and family to roast marshmallows and tell stories. While it’s smaller than a fireplace, you’d be surprised how stylish a fire pit can be if you find the right design for your space.
Outdoor Kitchens and Pizza Ovens
If you love to cook, a new outdoor kitchen could bring you a lot of joy this year. Bringing the kitchen outside means you can do so much more than grill. With an array of options like cooktops, sinks, dishwashers, and more, you can do everything from food prep to dishes outside! For more outdoor kitchen inspiration, take a look at our blog on outdoor kitchen ideas!
Or, if you’re a pizza fan or a bread baker, consider adding a wood-fired pizza oven to your backyard. Just think how amazing a freshly-baked wood-fired pizza or loaf of bread would taste from your back deck! Your yard would be the place to be for every gathering.
Bars and Buffet Islands
And speaking of gatherings, with an outdoor bar or buffet island you’ll be ready to host all of the family reunions and neighborhood parties your heart desires. Whether you’re entertaining a big or small crowd, having a bar or buffet island in the backyard can really bring the party to life. With plenty of room for drinks, snacks, and friends and family gathered around, this feature will be a hit.
Arbors, Pergolas, and Pavilions
While it may sound amazing in the chilly days of December, the heat of summer can sometimes be overwhelming. Consider adding some shade to your yard in the form of an arbor, pergola, or pavilion. These wooden structures add protection from the elements, not to mention coziness and beauty. Plus, they make a great place for white lights, climbing vines, or other decor. This kind of feature can form a lovely centerpiece to arrange your gardens around as well.
Water features like fountains and gurgling streams add the calming influence of water to your yard. Or for bigger yards or budgets, bring the lake home with you by adding a pond or swimming pool for even more outdoor enjoyment. Whether you splash around with the family or sit next to the water enjoying a cold beverage, there’s nothing quite like a water feature to make your yard feel like a relaxing oasis.
Planting Beds and Trees
Regardless of the other features you choose for your outdoor living space, make sure to add shade, color and texture with trees and planting beds. Flowers and greenery are what bring everything else together to create a cohesively designed space.
Maybe you’ve always wanted a vegetable garden or herb garden? Or if you love having fresh-cut flowers in the house, why not plant your own cutting garden? Or maybe your yard could use a perimeter of bushes or trees for greater privacy. Whatever the case may be, start your garden wish list now so you’re ready to start planting as soon as the ground thaws this spring.