Summer is almost here, and in Ridgewood that means long days with temperatures in the high 70s and plenty of sunshine. The last thing you want to do is spend those beautiful days crammed up indoors. But if you've let your lawn disintegrate into a mess of weeds and dry brush or your yard is simply too lackluster to spend any significant amount of time in, it's time to get on board with the cultivated outdoor living space trend. Don't be fooled — you don't need to have a sprawling courtyard, terrace, or expansive yard to create your own open-air oasis. All you need is a patch of land anywhere outside your home, and you can work wonders. Here are 5 tips to help you create the lush haven of your dreams, without heading for the beach or countryside.
Choose Your Form Of Shade
First things first — you're not going to feel very relaxed with the sun pounding directly down on your head, and not having reliable shade will make you want to head right back indoors into the brisk cloak of freshly conditioned air. Not to mention the heat that radiates off bare patios. If you already have a gorgeous shade-giving tree, set up your space beneath its canopy. If not, your options are extensive. You could opt for a simple shade sail or umbrella, or if you're feeling luxurious, select a beautiful covered pergola or veranda. Finally, you could always invest in a stunning gazebo, a classic of many elegant gardens.
Keep It Green
In the excitement of making your exterior inhabitable, you might forget about keeping things green. That is to say, don't forget about plants and vegetation when you're buying your outdoor furniture and accessories. These things are what lend your space that invigorating, oasis-like ambiance. Large potted plants, neatly trimmed shrubs, or tumbling wisteria and ivy will add to the calming atmosphere and keep this space distinct from its indoor counterparts.
Illuminate & Inspire
If your outdoor living space is confined to daytime use, you're missing out on half its potential. These areas can be twice as charming in the balmy evenings and nights of summer. So, illuminate your al fresco space with solar lights, in-ground lights in a bed of river rock, or one large lamppost. Want to save on energy costs? Choose a swanky fire table or a set of beautiful lanterns.
Make It Comfortable
Remember when outdoor furniture was just hard, bare-bones chairs and tables made of metal? Not so much anymore. Now, outdoor furniture is sturdier, but similar in aesthetic to indoor furniture, and it's all about comfort. Sleek bamboo frames complemented by throw cushions and rich wood hues add an inviting and approachable element to outdoor living that wrought iron never could.
Don't Hold Back
While you don't want to pour money into maintenance of your outdoor living space, this isn't somewhere you should have to force yourself to spend time in just to extract its full value. Make your outdoor living space somewhere you prefer to be — one of your favorite "rooms". If that means adding a music system, an upscale grill, or a slate fireplace, so be it. If putting in a little extra makes it all the more inviting, you'll get much more out of your investment. In addition, the more you appreciate your outdoor space, the less of a burden maintaining it will be, and your space will never see signs of neglect.
Got any expert tips on creating or maintaining an outstanding outdoor living space? Share your advice with our readers in the comments section below!