10 Easy Tips for Creating a Summer-Ready Outdoor Space Just Like This

See how we transformed a basic backyard into the ultimate summer hangout and find out how to recreate the look right at home.

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July 02, 2020

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

Photo By: Ryan Mitchell

1. Create Comfortable Hangout Zones

It's no secret that people love to perch and naturally gravitate toward spaces that invite them to sit and stay awhile. Make your patio or deck more appealing to the masses by first creating distinct and purposeful zones that pull people in, like a lounge, bar or outdoor kitchen + dining area. You can use a pergola, like the chic matte black one above, and a couple of rugs to break up the "open" floor plan and create the sense of two cozy rooms that your family will want to spend time in.

2. Define With a Weather-Resistant Rug

The first rule of designing an outdoor living room is to define the space with a rug, preferably one that's made of polypropylene and is resistant to the elements. This essential piece will not only protect bare feet and pet paws from rough wood planks or concrete, but it will also serve as a base for your furniture. As you're layering your outdoor sofa and chairs on top, make sure to position just the front legs on the edge of the rug; this will help even the smallest spaces seem a little larger.

3. Pile on Pillows for Style and Comfort

  • I'm pretty sure the saying is actually "The more pillows, the merrier." Amp up the style and comfort of your sitting area by topping each seat with a cute, all-weather cushion. You'll want to choose a color palette to set the tone — whether that's vibrant pinks and greens for a playful, tropical look or black and white for something chic and modern — and then stick with pieces in that color scheme. In turn, you'll be able to mix different prints, as demonstrated above, while keeping everything cohesive.

4. Make a Fire Pit Your Focal Point

Summertime calls for s'mores and ghost stories. Give your family a good excuse to gather 'round by making a fire pit the focal point of your sitting area — and pay close attention to the shape of the feature. A square fire pit like this, with its clean lines and sharp edges, will fit neatly against a sectional and lend a sleek touch to the space, while something circular will generally soften the setting and make it feel a bit more intimate.

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5. Warm Up Your Space With Natural Touches

Too much metal can make a space feel cold and stiff, so it's important to balance those glossy surfaces with natural textures and finishes. A couple of rattan chairs, for example, will not only give you more seating options, but will also bring warmth and life to the setting. You can even customize them with cushions that complement those on your sectional or loveseat.

6. Use Greenery to Make It Feel Organic

What would an oasis be without lush greenery? Help your space feel far away from everyday stressors and breathe a sigh of relief every time you step outside by putting in planters overflowing with foliage. You'll notice that the more types of containers you use, from freestanding to hanging, the more organic the setting will look.

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7. Invest in a Quality Dining Table

Your dreams of dining al fresco can become your reality with the right table. Invest in a solid wood piece that's low maintenance and weather resistant (teak and acacia wood are both great options) and make sure that it's long enough to fit the whole family. A quality table will last for years to come and can easily be customized through the seasons with flatware caddies, runners, cushions and more.

8. Convert a Bar Cart Into a Grilling Station

No outdoor kitchen? No problem. Use a classic, two-tiered bar cart like this to create an all-in-one station for meal prep, grilling and buffet-style serving. You can stick spices, spatulas, plates and condiments on the top shelf, where they'll be within arm's reach, and stash your lighter fluid and charcoal out of the way on the lower level. Best of all, because this cart boasts four working wheels, you can roll it right into the kitchen for an easy cleanup.

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9. Add Bistro Lights for Ambiance

Let the conversation linger well past dinner by adorning your space with bistro lights. Larger bulbs like this will cast your dining table in the most flattering glow and dial up the ambiance. If you put them on a timer, you can also save a little money and energy, while enjoying their glow night after night.

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10. Provide Covered Seating in Case of Rain

The week's forecast might call for sunshine and blue skies, but there's always a chance of scattered showers this time of year. Consider adding some cover to your space — whether that's an overhang or an umbrella — that you can use as a shield from the wind, rain and even scorching sun. Your family will thank you later.

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