5 Easy and Affordable Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space

With many families downsizing or opting to stay in their current homes longer thanks to the effects of the recession, increasing usable living space has become a popular pastime. Some homeowners have chosen to finish a basement or attic in order to create extra bedrooms or rec rooms, while others have opted to convert a garage. But one thing you might want to consider if you happen to love the great outdoors and you have a decent-sized backyard, is how you can enhance the outdoor space on your property in order to transform it into a livable area. This isn’t to say that the kids will necessarily sleep out there (although adding a guest house or granny flat is certainly an option if you can draw a home equity line large enough and city zoning permits). But you can definitely create a Zen-like retreat or a swanky entertaining space in order to maximize the potential of your property. So here are just a few easy and affordable ideas to consider.

  1. Layout and design. The first thing you need to address is the layout of your yard. If you’re starting with nothing but grass or gravel, the world is your oyster, so to speak. And with free software like 3D Landscape for Everyone at your disposal to help you plan out the space you can easily create islands of planting and patios on paper (well, digitally) in order to help you visualize what the end product will be when it comes to the layout and design of your yard. As a bonus, taking the time for planning could help to ensure that you avoid costly mistakes like purchasing items that won’t really fit in your space.
  2. Variety of flora and fauna. Variety is the spice of life, which is why you want more than grass in your yard. However, choosing the right flora and fauna is by no means easy. Luckily, a professional at your local nursery should be able to help. With the specs for your yard and the layout in hand, you can find the trees, bushes, grasses, and flowering plants needed to complete your vision, including flora and fauna of varying heights, colors, and blooming times. This will ensure that your yard looks beautiful and offers visual interest year-round. You should also ask about native and drought-resistant plants to save water and avoid adding something that’s going to choke out everything else.
  3. Shade. It’s important to ensure that your yard has plenty of shade for a couple of reasons. First, it stops your family and your guests from overheating and suffering sunburns on hot, summer days. But it also adds an element of privacy that you probably crave in your outdoor sanctuary.
  4. Furniture. Unless you plan to sit on the grass, your outdoor living space is going to need some furniture, and this can be a pricy proposition. However, there are plenty of options to help you cut costs while still getting a gorgeous lounge area. You should start by hitting up local garage sales and looking for deals on Craigslist. In most cases you can find lightly used items at killer prices, and with a little TLC (some sanding, paint, and cushions, for example) you can have the outdoor furniture you need to turn your yard into usable space. You can also go to discount stores like Target if you insist on new furniture, but the savings will not be as great as with second-hand items.
  5. Pavers. You might be surprised by all you can do with concrete (or other) pavers, and at relatively little expense. Sure you can use them to create a patterned patio or pathways through your yard, but they can also be stacked for terracing or even turned into unique planter boxes. You can use them to create water features or even decorate a bare and boring wall. Whether you purchase products from a dedicated shop likeĀ Teton Stone or you simply head to your local hardware or garden store, you’re sure to find plenty of options in every price range, and a little creativity can go a long way when using pavers in unique ways to define and decorate your outdoor space.

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  3. 5 Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Audio System
  4. 8 Reasons Why You Should Use Artificial Grass to Increase Home Value
  5. Top 5 Backyard Cleanup and Organization Tips
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