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Did you know that a 20-minute break near nature has been scientifically proven to reduce stress hormones? This can help alleviate feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. With so many people opting to work from home, a great outdoor space can do wonders for their mental health.

This is why 90% of Americans value outdoor living to “restore their bodies and mind.” More than visual appeal and the increased home resale value, a good outdoor environment is a sanctuary to help you unwind and reconnect with nature. Here are some tips to help you design a chic and practical outdoor space for yourself.


Prioritize What You Need

It’s no doubt you have great outdoor living ideas up your sleeve. It’s great to bring together garden or backyard inspos you’ve been eyeing, but are they practical? Are they within your budget? Can your outdoor space accommodate them?

So, before you make any move, sit back and ponder what you need. Determine your purpose. Is it a central space for guest entertainment or a private relaxation haven? Is it mainly for seating, gardening, or raising animals?

The answers to these questions will help you determine the layout, materials, and decor you need. For example, if you’re adding backyard animals like chickens and turkeys, you might need a separate grazing area with the appropriate poultry fencing or netting.


Make It Strategically Shady

Shade is essential if you truly want to enjoy the outdoors. It will keep the heat off and will let you enjoy the rain while comfortably lounging on your deck, patio, or whatever type of outdoor space you have.

There are many ways to set up shade for your outdoor area. For one, you can take advantage of the trees’ natural shade. So if you have one growing in your backyard, you only need to set up seats around it. If you’re deciding which part of the house to attach a deck on, consider the side near the trees. Otherwise, an awning or an umbrella would be a great choice. For your backyard or garden, a pergola, arbor, or pagoda would make a charming centerpiece.


Pay Special Attention to the Seating

Photo by Blank Space from Pexels

If you want to make the most out of the al fresco experience, quality seating is a must. Without this, you’re taking an essential ingredient of what makes outdoor spaces appealing: comfort. Comfortable seats let you fully enjoy the outdoors. If you invite people over, the seats can make guests feel more welcome and even encourage them to stay longer.

Depending on the style you’re going for, outdoor seating options are endless. Choose the one that fits your space and purpose. Adirondack chairs and benches are a classic. A bistro set will look great on a small balcony or patio. A hammock or porch swing will definitely be a highlight. Consider mixing different seating types.


Go for Multi-Purpose Furnishings

A limited space shouldn’t stop you from adding the furnishings that you want. Here’s a space-saving hack: choose furniture with multiple uses. These can be a table or a decorative basket with built-in storage. You can also invest in transformable furniture, such as sofas that can double as a lounger or a footstool that can also be a coffee table.

Ensure your furniture is resilient to elements. Choose materials that can withstand the weather. Choose pieces and fabrics that are durable against prolonged exposure to sun, rain, and wind.


Divvy It Up into Zones

Make your outdoor area more cohesive by creating a sense of flow and function. For example, designate which zone is for seating, dining, cooking, and gardening. If you have kids, you may want to dedicate a zone for playing, sports, and other activities. This helps you organize the space to make it more functional and easy to navigate.


Activate Your Green Thumb

Photo by Robin Wersich on Unsplash

You can’t sit out in the greenery when it comes to your outdoor space. Plants and flowers are the best way to accessorize your outdoors, whether it’s a courtyard or a tiny terrace of a high-rise apartment. They add vibrance and elevate your outdoor extension’s comfort levels. They’re also natural air purifiers. Interacting with plants also helps reduce physical and mental stress.

There’s a wealth of botanical style inspirations that you can refer to. You can have virtual gardens or hanging space if you have a limited ground area. Besides the look, select plants that are appropriate for the climate and sunlight in your location.


Elevate with Lighting

The right lighting can single-handedly transform your outdoor space. So, if you’re looking to upgrade your backyard or porch, this is the easiest way how. Outdoor lighting creates a warm and inviting ambiance. It’s also a way to provide safety.

Some of the most common outdoor lights are string lights, lanterns, and post lights on decks and patios. It’s also important to have pathway lighting to illuminate your walkways and driveways. For added security, consider adding motion sensor lights and floodlights.


Incorporate Outdoor Cooking

 Making food is an indispensable part of your every day. Food is also the heart of every special celebration. If you want to fully utilize your outdoors, an outdoor cooking setup is the way to do it. This lets you have the best al fresco dining and cooking experience with or without guests right in your home.

It can be a great extension of your home kitchen, complete with a grill, smoker, and even a pizza oven. If you have limited room, a portable charcoal or gas grill will do for amazing barbecue nights.


Bottom Line: Spruce Up Your Own Comfort Hub

When the going gets tough, it’s nice to have access to an open space close to nature where you can have a much-needed respite to recharge and relax. A well-designed outdoor area has multitudes of benefits, whether you want a space to entertain guests, get on a personal retreat, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Check out these tips to help you create the best one yet.


Feature Photo by Collov Home Design on Unsplash