If you do happen to have a larger budget, or are willing to DIY a few projects, there are some additional features you could add to create an even more luxurious atmosphere. I’m sharing both budget friendly and more extravagant options in this roundup, since we all can use as much inspiration as we can get!
The number one most essential feature of a friendly porch or patio is SEATING. If you don’t have a place to sit and rest, the chances you will want to stay for any prolonged period of time is zero. Using multiple sofas in a block creates the feel of an entire outdoor room and would be a great place to entertain.
|From: House Beautiful|
|From: Rob Cardillo|
If you want to use your patio more than during daylight hours, you are going to have to install supplemental lighting. Many people balk at the idea of DIY’ing landscape lighting, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think. In fact, it can be a simple as running string lights from an exterior outlet using an outdoor extension cord. And the amount of solar options that don’t require ANY electricity at all are increasing every day.
If you don’t have a pergola or other place to run string lights, you can take this tip from Brooklyn Limestone and use large posts set in concrete .
Of course, if you really want to go out all out, low voltage landscape lighting use to uplight trees and walkways, as well as flood lights to really brighten outdoor spaces are great options
|Via: Stephen Stimson Landscape Architects|
Few things bring people together the way a good meal does. Dining outside is the wonder way to entertain guests or to spend a later summer afternoon with your family. Having a dining table on your patio designates a dining area and instantly makes the space more useable. If your outdoor area is limited, consider a small round or bistro table, there are even tables that can fold down completely if you don’t have space for it to be up all the time.
To accommodate large groups of people, consider long rectangle tables with bench seating.
|From: New England Home|
In the summer months, even in cooler climates, the direct sun of midday can be overwhelming and unpleasant, therefore patio or porch should have some source of shade. Creating a shady spot on your patio can be as easy as installing sun umbrellas or even sun shades. (We actually use this sun sail over our patio in the summer and LOVE IT!)
Of course if you want a more permanent solution, a pergola, awning for roof structure is another idea. Amy has a wonderful post on everything you should consider when building a pergola which lays out all the pros and cons.
In the evenings and in the cooler seasons, you want to make sure your outdoor space Propane stand heaters have been around for a while and are getting more and more affordable, while the newer style pyramid heaters with exposed flames are becoming more and more popular.
|From: Torino Heaters|
|From: GreenMeadows landscaping|
Cooking/Drink Prep Area:
Being able to prep and cook your meal while actually enjoying the outdoor is big bonus of having an outdoor cooking area. Being able to grill and serve your guests outside means you get to be present with them the whole time instead of heading back indoors to the kitchen.
|Source: currently unknown|
And if your parties focus on the beverages just as much as the food, consider an outdoor bar or even a beverage cart. This bookshelf and cooler makeover by Table and Hearth is a great example of how you can DIY a functional and unique bar space on a budget!
When decorating a patio or other outdoor area, you should embrace the natural elements that are already there.
|From: Sue Adcock Designs|
Hedges or vertical gardens can work to define one area from the rest of the yard, and climbing vines such as bougainvillea and wisteria can be trained to form overhead cover, which can offer shade from the sun.
If your home is located in an urban or even suburban area, you may hear a lot of background noise when using your background. A great way to cancel out the sounds of neighbors and traffic is with a sound feature. Installing outdoor speakers allows you to pipe any sounds or music you want into your back yard. And the technology today is fantastic. Speakers can be wired or wireless, they can be installed into the ground or mounted on your home, fence or pergola, or they can be completely disguised.
|From: Outdoor Speaker Depot|
Of course, speakers don’t have to be the only source of sound in your backyard. Water features and fountains are another more subtle way of drowning out background noise. Maire’s gorgeous water wall is an example of DIY version of a water feature
To keep your outdoor space tidy and uncluttered, you want to consider outdoor storage. Be it a simple storage cabinet, or a garden bench with hidden storage, you want a place to hide all the clutter that can accumulate.
Building your own storage is another option, and one that is a little more budget friendly and fun. My x-leg wooden bench allows me to hide the kids toys and my decorating accessories out of sight when they aren’t being used.
I also have devised a secret storage option for my garden hose, with this planter that features a false bottom.
|From: Pottery Barn|