Whether your backyard is large or small, there are always ways to improve its livability. To get started, perform a walkthrough of your outdoor space and make a list of areas that need attention.
If you can’t commit to major changes like tearing up existing landscaping, focus on cosmetic improvements that can make an impact. Malory Quarnberg from Dorothy Jean Decor suggests adding a pergola and new furniture for a fresh look.
A deck can add a whole new dimension to your backyard and provide the perfect place for relaxing, eating, entertaining or simply enjoying some fresh air. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2021 Cost vs Value report, a wood deck can boost your home’s resale value by 68%.
Ledger: The horizontal plank that connects posts to the house and supports joists (or beams) that support subflooring. Sometimes called a “fingerboard” and may be made of pressure-treated lumber or other materials.
Composites are less maintenance than natural wood. But, it’s important to understand that despite being resistant to rot and insects, they are not impervious to weather damage. So, you’ll still need to commit to yearly staining to keep your deck looking great.
Few summer pleasures are as enjoyable as a Backyard Remodel. But when harried hosts spend too much time running back and forth to the kitchen, they lose valuable party time. An outdoor kitchen helps everyone stay in the moment by putting all the ingredients right where they need to be.
Whether your space is large or small, this smart little outdoor kitchen idea delivers all the amenities needed for meal prep and entertaining. A grill, a sink, and a fridge keep cooking utensils close at hand and a stretch of concrete countertop offers additional prep room.
If you don’t have a dedicated cabinet for storing cooking supplies, consider adding a cart or other storage solution to your back deck. This will help you minimize trips to your indoor home and make the most of your yard’s available usable square footage.
Fireplaces are one of the most highly coveted design features among new home buyers, increasing the value of your property. They are a cozy and comforting gathering place and add ambiance to your landscape design.
The firebox itself can be built in a variety of ways and materials, depending on your preference. If you have existing tile around your firebox that needs to be replaced, you can either find a similar style from salvage retailers or hire someone to make a custom replacement.
Electric fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere as long as proper clearances from combustible materials are met. They are less expensive than wood burning units and do not require the maintenance of a chimney. They also provide supplemental heat during peak energy times, helping you save on utility costs.
Patios are perfect for bringing comfort and function to your backyard. They’re also ideal for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave their home.
Patios can be made from a variety of materials. Some popular choices include pavers, concrete, brick, and flagstone. Each offers its own unique benefits. For example, pavers are extremely versatile and can be arranged in many different patterns. They’re also fairly affordable and easy to install. Brick is great for achieving a more rustic look and can be shaped into different designs. Flagstone is very beautiful and can add a natural element to your backyard.
Patios can be as modern or as rustic as you like, and they can visually melt into the landscape or pop out as a focal point in your yard. Plus, they’re low-maintenance elements that can reduce the amount of grass you have to cut.
A pergola is one of the more affordable ways to add a beautiful, hospitable space for enjoying your backyard. This hardscaping improvement also increases your home’s value.
Pergolas are open structures that offer part-shade and part-sun shelter, depending on your preferences. You can customize the amount of shade with climbing plants (like wisteria or clematis), reed mats, bamboo shades, strips of all-weather fabric woven through slats or a full retractable cover.
Unlike walls or roofing, these structures allow you to capitalize on your natural view without blocking sunlight or the free flow of air. Pergolas also create a distinct sense of place in your backyard that communicates to family and guests exactly where you want them to spend time, while providing privacy and protection from insects and rain.
Invest in outdoor lighting to create a warm and inviting space after dark. It’s a great way to make the most of your outdoor spaces and increase the enjoyment you get from them.
Proper LED landscape lighting can also highlight dangerous areas that might otherwise be difficult to see at night, such as steps and raised edges around a pool or deck. This can decrease accidents and injuries that occur when people are in the yard at night.
Other outdoor lighting types include wall sconces, which are perfect for entryways and porches that don’t have enough room for hanging lights. They come in a wide range of styles to suit any aesthetic. Another option is flush-mount lighting, which installs on the ceiling of outdoor spaces like gazebos and pergolas. You can also add uplighting, which illuminates taller structures or trees to create drama and ambience in a yard.