6 Easy Ways to Turn Your Yard into a Fun Outdoor Space for Summer – Orange County Register
Summer has arrived and the itch for social gatherings with friends and family is strong right now, thanks to the past year spent socially distant.
Your garden is the perfect place to entertain or just entertain a friend for a glass of wine or a cold drink.
So if you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space of any kind, now is the time to spruce it up for all those summer barbecues, parties, and other festivities that have been sorely missed during the pandemic.
Of course, we’d all love a magazine-ready backyard kitchen with a working bar and fireplace. But getting even the most basic backyard in summer shape doesn’t have to be a major effort. Depending on your budget and the complexity of your landscaping, there are many tricks you can use to give your garden a new look.
Here are six ideas from some Southern California designers, ranging from low maintenance to a bigger investment in your backyard oasis.
1. Think of the backyard as an extension of your living space.
Party – or just hang out with family and friends – outdoors.
“In this climate, we have year-round indoor-outdoor living, and a backyard can double or triple your space,” said Sonja Landis, owner of San Marcos-based Juxta Interior Design.
Keep it simple: Make sure areas are swept and clean, she advised. Create an inviting ambiance with outdoor lights or clusters of candles. Feeling a little more ambitious? Apply a new coat of paint or plant a vegetable garden.
“There are all kinds of container gardens for people who have smaller spaces,” Landis said. “It adds a whole layer of personalization and fun.”
2. Foliage is working overtime.
If you don’t have any plants growing in your space yet, it’s time to buy some. Potted plants are a fun way to add a splash of color and a fresh feeling.
Do you like fresh flowers? Cutting gardens are becoming increasingly popular, Landis said.
A cutting garden can be a small section to the side of a space and usually out of sight, and its purpose is to grow flowers that can be cut at any time.
“When you invest in landscaping, you don’t usually want to cut, but that’s the intent of a cutting garden,” Landis said. “You can get fresh flowers all the time.”
Another idea Landis had was to grow native wild herbs. They add height and texture, are easy to maintain, can be used to add a layer of privacy or cover up something unsightly.
3. Hobbies are fun for everyone.
Got a game? If not, get it.
“I’ve seen clients add sports courts to their backyards,” said Janet Sperber, interior designer for the World Bazaar in Old Town San Diego. “Horseshoes, pétanque courts, things for the whole family to participate in.”
Several companies, such as Pottery Barn, sell a selection of lawn games ranging from corn hole to ladder golf. Or just get out the sidewalk chalk and create your games and spaces.
4. Add a pop of color.
Color can change the mood of a space and is easy to change. Buy outdoor pillows to sit on. Get a piece of furniture and spray it in the color of your choice. Add colored candles or pottery.
During the pandemic, traditional Talavera pottery was the best seller at Bazaar del Mundo, Sperber said. These colorful items from the Talavera de la Reina region of Spain are a blend of Italian, Spanish and indigenous ceramic techniques.
“A lot of people who have small budgets buy multiple pots to make pot clusters,” Sperber said of Talavera pottery. They buy birdbaths to put in their gardens. We get orders from all over the country for these.
5. Drapery is no longer strictly indoors.
A recent trend for high-end renovations has been to create privacy with exterior draperies and linens, said Natalie Martin-Wells, an interior designer based in Los Angeles.
“You can buy pre-made curtain panels and if you have an outdoor structure, hang soft panels outside,” she said. “It creates a cabin feel and is a fantastic way to finish off the space without spending a lot of money.”
The drapery also serves to give you some privacy. Consider hanging the sheets from a gazebo or porch.
6. For a small space, create a beautiful table top.
If you only have a side porch or slice of yard, an inviting tabletop can make all the difference. That could mean candles, greenery, replacing paper plates with a colorful set of melamine dinnerware for the outdoors.
“Succulents work so well because they’re sturdy, they add greenery, and so it gives you a focal point,” Martin-Wells says. “Without spending too much, you can really make a difference in your outdoor space.”