This year, summer means something extra special. With Covid-19 numbers decreasing, those of us who have been indoors self-isolating for so many months now have new places to hang out. And we can do it with family and friends!
Whether you have a balcony, small patio, or large yard, there’s a lot you can do to make it more functional during physical distancing get-togethers.
Here are five ideas to help you transform your outdoor space to make staying at home better:
Purpose of the space
With continued restrictions on public facilities, whatever outdoor space you have is getting more use than ever. But chances are your outdoor areas may not be set up for our new way of life. Just as we’re making changes inside to adjust to social distancing, like home offices or classrooms, now is the time to rethink your outdoor spaces, too.
The first step to setting up a functional outdoor area is to decide how you want to use it. Are you looking for more living space, or do you want somewhere to exercise? Maybe giving the kids room to play is more important than having a pretty garden. Or, you might even decide to convert flower gardens to vegetable gardens to be more sustainable. Whatever you choose, don’t worry so much about aesthetics as having a place to enjoy your time outside.
Start at the bottom
An outdoor area rug is a quick and easy way to elevate any outdoor space. When working with a large yard, they can soften a concrete patio and help define outdoor rooms. Meanwhile, if you have a balcony or small terrace, a carpet will add color and texture while making the space cozy and inviting.
Carpets aren’t the only option for upgrading your outdoor flooring. You can cover an old patio with wooden deck tiles for a spa-like feel. Or maybe your concrete balcony has you longing for a lush green lawn? If so, artificial grass is growing in popularity and feels almost as good as the real thing.
Take a seat
Whether you’re indoors or out, the right seating will make a big difference in how much you use and enjoy your space. Consider your outdoor area just as you would any room of your home. You want to have the most comfortable seating that fits the space and works for your family’s needs.
If your outdoor space is small, look for pieces that serve multiple purposes. A folding bistro set will let you dine al-fresco or work outdoors. Then it can easily be hung up or tucked away when not in use. When it comes to lounging, a hammock chair or full-size hammock is ideal for relaxing and is also easy to pack away. But if you want a comfortable spot for the whole family, look to modular outdoor seating that can be rearranged to suit your needs.
Engage your senses
No matter where your yard or balcony is, adding features that engage your senses can make it feel like an outdoor oasis. Including potted plants on your balcony will add colour and create a connection with nature. Plus, they’ll give you an activity to enjoy outside! For those with yards, planting a tree or hedge will increase privacy and put more greenery in your view.
To bring the soothing sound of flowing water to your outdoor space, try adding a pond or fountain. It’s incredibly relaxing and will help drown out traffic sounds or noisy neighbours. Most fountains are as easy to install as setting them in a nice spot and plugging them in!
Enjoying an evening outside by the fire is no longer just for camping or the cottage. Propane fire features that range in size from tabletop models to large firepits mean anyone can add a little warmth to their outdoor space. (Just be sure to follow local fire safety rules and regulations!)
Add solar lighting along walkways, spotlights to highlight garden features such as trees, and rope lights under railings to add ambience at night.
Fun and games
Consider what type of activities engage you or your children and get you moving, and then incorporate them into your outdoor space.
For a balcony or patio, activities like hopscotch, jump-rope, and yoga are all small-space friendly. And a small inflatable pool filled with water or sand will provide plenty of fun. Alternatively, if you have the space in a yard, this may be the year to splurge on a swing set or jungle gym. You can also paint lines on the driveway to give your budding hockey or basketball player a place to practice. There are also plenty of outdoors games that are easy to transport or pack away when you’re done with them. Even bean bag toss can be played on a balcony. Just remember to throw low!
By tailoring your outdoor space to your family’s current needs, you’ll create another place to help make the most of your time at home.