Outdoor living is hotter than ever — in more ways than one — and creating spaces that are not only functional but downright enjoyable is the goal of most homeowners today. No matter how you like to use your outdoor environments, you’re probably looking for ways to maximize your spaces and make them as pleasant as possible, for your family and your guests.
Here are tips for optimizing your home’s outdoor spaces:
Practical and comfortable seating solutions
When thinking about what type of seating makes sense for each area, consider who will be using it, for what purpose and for how long. Make a list of how you want to use the space. For instance, do you intend it to be a kid-friendly area for brief breaks between active outdoor games? Will you use it for large family get-togethers or small informal parties? Do you need sturdy seating for people engaged in DIY hobbies or getting together for a simple outdoor meal? Or do you want a relaxing oasis where a few adults can lounge and sip cool drinks (with little umbrellas in them, ideally) for hours?
Seating that can withstand the elements is a must, but it’s also a good idea to be realistic regarding out-of-season storage. When it’s time to put your furniture away, do you have enough storage space? Choose furniture designed for the outdoors that’s easy to both store and care for. What kind of furniture will get the most use?
Make sure to try seating before you buy. A simple stone bench, picnic table or wooden chair may look fine, but if you want to make the most of the outdoors, choose a couple of options offering maximum comfort.
Shade is your best friend when trying to keep any outdoor or semi-outdoor space pleasant. If you don’t have shade trees to block the sun during peak hours, an awning, canopy or shade cloth works well. Retractable awnings are very practical, as you can use them only when needed. Even a large table umbrella — strategically placed — can help provide relief from the sun. Take note when your space is sunniest, and what direction the sunlight primarily comes from, so you’ll know where to install your shade cloth or awning.
To help cool an outdoor area or semi-outdoor space like a garage, an evaporative cooler like the Portacool 510 is a great option. A compact evaporative cooler differs from an air conditioner because it works with water and the ambient air to naturally cool areas like your deck, porch or patio. Unlike a fan, this type of cooler doesn’t just blow hot air around — and it’s not a mister, so the area around it won’t get wet. You can use it in a variety of outdoor settings to help keep people (and pets!) cooler on hot days. Even better, it is mobile and compact with rubberized wheels, so it can be moved into any space where you need cooling comfort.
Go for ambiance with accents
Strategic accents, whether visual, functional or sensory, can be effective in creating a mood. Choose either calming or vibrant colors, depending on your desired effect. Plants and flowers are an easy addition to round out your space. For the ultimate patio or deck oasis in the evening, a string of fairy lights or vintage-style bulbs is a simple lighting option with a big impact, and lanterns or solar path lights can add extra charm and ambiance. Lastly, a good sound system can make an enormous difference. Set up high-quality and easy-to-use speakers, so you can listen to music or the big game.
On the flip side, if your outdoor area is all about creating DIY projects or working on hobbies, set up a sturdy worktable. Make sure you have all the supplies you need nearby in waterproof containers and install appropriate lighting in case you need to keep working after sunset.
When preparing your outdoor space, don’t be afraid to make it your own. Outdoor spaces offer tons of flexibility when it comes to design and purpose, but don’t forget to make it comfortable. Visit Portacool.com to learn more about outdoor cooling options to make the most of your time outdoors this summer.
(BPT) (Brian Casey) (RogueValleyMagazine)